Capitalism and Organized Crime
Capitalism refers to an economic system in which there is private ownership of production resources. This form of economic system is advantageous due to various reasons. For instance, the capitalist system is described to be capable of driving competition in the market; motivating people towards the accumulation of capital and capitalization of income. Despite these advantages, the capitalist economic system is also said to be related to negative features such as child labor and environmental degradation. In addition to this, various academic articles have discussed the role played by capitalism in the development of organized crime. It is claimed that capitalism motivates people who would otherwise remain poor to engage in alternative forms of capital building activities which eventually leads to the development of organized crime. Organized crime emerges as a result of increased competition and the desire to reap the amazing profits that arise from capitalism.
Although some of the most enterprising gangs have been associated with communism, it is still important to note the role played by capitalism in organized crime. For instance, studies show that countries with capitalistic ideologies have more instances of organized crime compared to countries that do not operate on capitalistic ideologies (Kenney and Finckenauer, 1996). The Chicago outfit, led by Al Capone as a major crime gang forms the greatest example of how capitalism can result in organized crime.
Following the illegalization of alcohol in the States, Al Capone identified the existence of an opportunity in this area. The huge profits associated with the economy makes capitalists to be disregarding to the ethical and moral implications of their actions. Capitalism also enabled people to acquire anything they wanted if only they could afford it. This made it possible for the mafia to acquire firearms due to the ability to afford them hence could use the firearms in their activities.
To ensure that the Chicago Outfit grew, violence and guns played an important role in silencing the competitors. Even the law enforcement officers were unable to stop the activities of the gang. The capitalism also resulted in competition among the gangs. The major competitor of the Chicago Outfit was the gang led by George Moran. The constant fights between gangs led to the collapse of Moran’s gang as it broke out into physical fights. Moreover, corruption among the law enforcement agencies led to failure to control the gangs. Even after the death of the gang owner in 1947, Chicago Outfit continued to operated, collecting millions of funds. Russia has also faced significant challenge due to the mafia, which is considered to be a capitalist creation. The Russian Mafia is believed to borrow from the American Mafia (Chamblis, 1989).
Although communism had the potential of controlling the growth of the mafia, this may not be possible as the mafia has grown to an extent of controlling most of the factions in the country. The Russian mafia controls different factions of business and of the people. This implies that capitalism has influenced even those who have been revolting against capitalism itself. Based on the fact that capitalists focus on creation of profits regardless of the impacts of wealth creation, the mafia has grown to be almost the size of the Chicago Outfit before the death of Al Capone. Through a study of the Russian Mafia, it has been realized that despite the lack of support from the non-capitalist factions, these communities have been influenced by capitalist tendencies to engage in organized crime (Greenberg, 1993).
Chamblis, William J. “State‐Organized Crime—The American Society of Criminology, 1988 Presidential Address.” Criminology 27, no. 2 (1989): 183-208.
Greenberg, David F., ed. Crime and capitalism: Readings in Marxist criminology. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993.
Kenney, Dennis J., and James O. Finckenauer. “Organized crime in America.”New York (1995).
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