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One Italian business that’s having a good crisis

There’s one Italian business that’s not suffering from the economic crisis at all.

It’s got a turnover of Euros 140 billion and accounts for 7% of GDP. It’s investing increasingly heavily in health and social care, although it’s still very active in security, narotics, construction, waste and a variety of other activities with public contracts.

The business in question is Mafia Inc.

A new report from Sos impresa, an organisation campaigning on behalf of small and medium sized businesses that are victims of organised crime, has released a report shedding fresh light on one part of the country’s economy that is have a very good crisis.

Protection remains a thriving business with bars, restaurants, hotels and shops suffering 1,300 crimes a day, or almost 50 an hour, or one a minute. Around a million businesses, or a fifth of the total, are victims of  violence, intimidation, extorsion, usury, kidnappings and other crimes by Sicily’s Cosa Nostra, Naples’ Camorra and the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta.

Usury affects 200,000,  mostly traders, and has caused the closure of 1,800 businesses and tens of thousands of jobs, the reports finds.

Lino Busà, Sos Impresa says: “The few businesses that report crimes are at times abandoned by politicians, banks, as well as friends and familes. In some regions, not just in the South, it is easier to pay in silence.”

But the study also reveals how, on top of what is an historic characteristic of Italian capitalism, a small but ever greater number of businessmen and financiers in the South and increasingly in the North are becoming “complicit” and “colluding” with organised crime for “economic advantage”

The economic crisis has accelerated this process as there are diminished opportunities to access finance legally from banks, it says. According to Marco Venturi, President of the small and medium size business association, Confesercenti, “among the activities of mafia organisations is usuary, which with the crisis has once again become a national emergency.”

“Mafia Inc is the only economic and business entity able to make investments” 

Le mani della criminalità sulle imprese’ (Eight report of SOS Impresa)

Indeed, amid today’s economic crisis, the Mafia has become the country’s ‘largest bank’,  Confesercenti says.

The report also finds that organised crime is expanding rapidly into private and outsourced public services, such as health and care for the elderly, which will get new traction as a result of premier Mario Monti’s ‘liberalising’ drive.

SOS Impresa report (in Italian)

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Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or email [email protected]


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