The Dark Knights

Rosi

Historum Emeritas
Jul 2008
6,242
#1
Just saw a newsreport on the BBC World that said one of the few businesses doing better than ever in the wake of the global credit crunch is that of the Italian mafia. Since credit has dried up in the money markets and loans not easily forthcoming from the Italian banks, many needy Italians have turned to the mafia to borrow money. The mafia, as a result, made 87 billion USD in the past year. That is 300 million USD daily. They have even fixed a precise interest rate for lending purposes, that of 4.5%.

Their methods of recovery, or if you miss a payment? Not too bad, they'd just come over to your house and break a limb or two.

I just read on the Wiki the mafia used to originally (in 19th century Sicily) consider themselves "men of honour". "Righteous rebels" fighting oppression.

"The orientation ritual in most families happens when a man becomes an associate, and then, a soldier. As described by [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommaso_Buscetta"]Tommaso Buscetta[/ame] to judge [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Falcone"]Giovanni Falcone[/ame], the neophyte is brought together with at least three 'men of honor' of the family and the oldest member present warns him that 'this House' is meant to protect the weak against the abuse of the powerful; he then pricks the finger of the initiate and spills his blood onto a sacred image, usually of a saint. The image is placed in the hand of the initiate and lit on fire. The neophyte must withstand the pain of the burning, passing the image from hand to hand, until the image has been consumed, while swearing to keep faith with the principles of 'Cosa Nostra', solemnly swearing 'may my flesh burn like this saint if I fail to keep my oath.' Joseph Valachi was the first person to mention that in court.

The Sicilians also have a law of silence, called omertà; it forbids the common man, woman or child to cooperate at all with the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police"]police[/ame] or the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government"]government[/ame], upon [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_penalty"]pain of death[/ame]."

This is all so amusing and... ironic.
 
Oct 2007
366
Southern Vermont
#4
I'd rather live in a town controlled by the mafia, than a town full of independent gangs. That being said, I'd have to be very desperate to borrow from the mob.
 

galteeman

Ad Honorem
Apr 2008
2,198
Sodom and Begorrah
#5
if its 4.5% per annum its a lot better than most in Europe so Id borrow off them no problem.
On second thoughts though....
 

Rosi

Historum Emeritas
Jul 2008
6,242
#6
if its 4.5% per annum its a lot better than most in Europe so Id borrow off them no problem.
On second thoughts though....
I'm glad you're having second thoughts. The report showed one Italian guy who needed 50,000 EUR but the banks put him on waiting lists. They said they would be able to give him any money only in 5 months' time. So he went to the mafia instead. Sure enough they were prompt to lend. He missed a payment though. So I suspect his medical bills would have come in huge.

Remember the look on the mafia guy's face when the Joker sets fire to the huge pile of money robbed from banks in 'The Dark Knight'? 'Twas priceless! Then the Joker says, "I'm a man of simple tastes." How I loved that...

P.S. 4.5% is the annual interest rate.