Idiot tosspottery

“Capitalism,” says Saviano, “needs the criminal syndicates and criminal markets… This is the most difficult thing to communicate. People – even people observing organised crime – tend to overlook this, insisting upon a separation between the black market and the legal market. It’s the mentality that leads people in Europe and the USA to think of a mafioso who goes to jail as a mobster, a gangster. But he’s not, he’s a businessman, and his business, the black market, has become the biggest market in the world.”

It’s difficult to communicate because it’s bollocks.

Are the narcos capitalists? Sure: and are they also free market? Yup.

But to go on and insist that the capitalist and free market mode of, say, producing and delivering potatoes, to name another South American import, depends upon people producing toot is just flatulent tosspottery.

That part of the argument doesn’t even make any sense.

26 thoughts on “Idiot tosspottery”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    “Capitalism,” says Saviano, “needs the criminal syndicates and criminal markets…

    It is absurd for all sorts of reasons but one of the main ones is that the alternatives to markets usually rely on criminal gangs. Russia has a plague of them – but in part because Socialism could not have worked without them. They needed Black markets because there was no White market. They needed fixers because there was no way of making sure people sent you the right things – you had to know people and pay them.

    The whole Soviet system could not have worked without corrupting everyone. While the more markets there are, the more that criminals are punished and disappear.

  2. “the criminal syndicates and criminal markets”

    You can use the shorter form – government.

    If you really want to do an analysis the activities of criminals have a lot more in common with the activities of governments than the activities of corporations.

    There’s an extremely thin line between extortion and tax, much thinner than the one between, say, price gouging.

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “Criminal markets only exist when the government makes the purchase of something the market desires criminal.”

    So pirates and bandits have often said through out history.

    Still rent control gave us Peter Rachman.

  4. The other string in the Mafiosi’s bow, intimidation to pay money to protect against spurious or nvented risk is much closer to the Guardian end than the free market one.

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    Dave – “It’s not flatulent tosspottery, it’s naked antisemitism.”

    What. The. F*ck. Don’t tell me Pablo Escobar was Jewish?

  6. Narcos are not free-marketeers in so far as they eliminate competition by murder rather than by efficiency, innovation, quality and customer focus. Which underscores the point that to function properly free markets need the rule of law.

  7. SMFS>

    Not sure how you’ve managed to get that from it. The idea that the economy is run by a bunch of crooks for their own purposes is just old-fashioned antisemitism with the word ‘Jews’ elided.

  8. They are emphatically not free market.

    Using violence to close down competitors, maintain monopoly territorirs, punish employees and enforce agreements is coercive. The nature of the free market is that participation is voluntary.

  9. Shame he couldn’t have done a study into the links between Unions and organized crime/criminals. Or maybe one lifetime of study isn’t enough to scratch the surface.

  10. Perhaps something was lost in translation.

    I really hate how the gruniad portrays things like this to give a few scrap quotes for the idiot section of then anti-capitalist readership.

    The illegal drug market does indeed highlight the rawest forms of how business tend or would behave if they could get away with it. It’s true businesses seek monopoly, but usually competition, the law and public perception limit that to an extent. And the narcotics industry is just the unemcumbered expression of that drive and desire.

    But as others have said, there isn’t a reason to think that ‘capitalism’ needs illegal black market activity. It exists where a society who may operate under a form of capitalist makes a market illegal.

    Now it’s true that certain actors and interests are served by the maintainance of a criminal market, those who are paid to ‘enforce the law’ may see higher budgets and prestige to ‘fight the drug war’, and even states like a phantom war to bully their own populations, receive international funds or to influence other nations (see the USA and South and Central American nations).

    But, that isn’t inherent to capitalism, it’s just simple incentives and constraints that exist in all times. So the narco wars do have political economy contained in it. But it doesn’t tell you much about capitalism, and you don’t understand much if you think it does, because I’ve never seen anyone argue the case, just state it as received truth.

    Bloody dumb lefties obscuring the interesting and subtle truths, I could do a much better jobs making their complaints than many of them.

  11. “We hear much these days about the pros and cons of legalising drugs, but very little about narco-traffic as political economy.”

    Aah, ‘political econkmy’. I thought there might be a number of elements of pure bollocks in the piece.Once we read ‘political ecomomy’, however, we knownit-s all complete unalloyed bollocks.

  12. “Capitalism needs”

    A reification fallacy.

    The illicit drug market is anarchy – operating in spite of government, and continously pushing the boundaries of government.

  13. Theo: “Narcos are not free-marketeers in so far as they eliminate competition by murder rather than by efficiency, innovation, quality and customer focus. Which underscores the point that to function properly free markets need the rule of law.”

    Whereas gubbermints eliminate competition (and a hell of a lot more ) by…..

  14. sackcloth and ashes

    Roberto Saviano is actually quite a ballsy chap for the work he’s done on the Camorra, but as far as his ‘capitalism needs organised crime’ bullshit is concerned, I’m assuming he’s never heard of the Vory v Zakone.

  15. The idea that the economy is run by a bunch of crooks for their own purposes is just old-fashioned antisemitism with the word ‘Jews’ elided.

    Horseshit.
    This resolves to “any criticism of anyone for acting in their own interests is just old-fashioned antisemitism with the word ‘Jews’ elided.” Which pretty-much robs the term of any meaning.

  16. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Really the only difference between organised crime families and governments is the sheer savagery the latter will employ compared to the former if its wishes are thwarted. The mob might have your legs broken. They’re unlikely to send a gang of Nomex-clad myrmidons to kick you door down and shoot your dog, much less despatch an airmobile brigade.

  17. The worry about ‘organised crime families’ is their efficiency. No bloated buraucracy .
    And the inevitability of crime groups must say something about you honest blokes.

  18. So Much For Subtlety

    Dave – “Not sure how you’ve managed to get that from it. The idea that the economy is run by a bunch of crooks for their own purposes is just old-fashioned antisemitism with the word ‘Jews’ elided.”

    Class A Trolling there Dave. You are one of the resident leftists who choose to hang out here, no?

    Go and read Jon Ronson’s chapter of David Icke in Them.

  19. @dcardno

    Welcome to any of @dave’s comment. Everything is “naked” antisemitism.

    For “naked” read obliquely hidden so only Dave can translate

  20. gunker:

    Yes, Dave is remarkable in his ability to identify cloaked antisemitism that is so subtle as to be invisible to mortal eyes.

  21. To be fair to our Dave, the reason the the left is so comfortable with antisemitism and hates Israel is that deep down, they do believe the Jews run the banks and thus are evil.

  22. “Capitalism,” says Saviano, “needs the criminal syndicates and criminal markets…”

    Whereas socialism and communism do not require these things because they come already built in?

  23. Really the only difference between organised crime families and governments is the sheer savagery the latter will employ compared to the former if its wishes are thwarted. The mob might have your legs broken. They’re unlikely to send a gang of Nomex-clad myrmidons to kick you door down and shoot your dog, much less despatch an airmobile brigade.

    And they love their mums.

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