Mafia-Owned Democracies. Italy and Mexico as patterns of criminal neoliberalism


  • Fabio Armao Università di Torino


The paper is based on two preliminary hypothesis: the first is that when Organised Crime (OC) encounters politics, a third type of system emerges and this is called the mafia. The second assumption is that the mafias, particularly following 1989, greatly benefitted from the neoliberal globalisation processes. Nowadays, the mafias tend to replace the State as the privileged partners of capitalism; and, with greater efficiency than the State, are able to combine the local dimension of control (plundering or appropriation) of the territory with the global dimension of the transnational markets (particularly but not exclusively with the illicit trades). We assume that Italy and Mexico, among the consolidated democracies, are the most largely affected by the diffusion of criminal powers, to such a degree that two different patterns of mafia-owned democracy have developed: consociational in Italy, based on cooperative attitudes and behaviour between the leaders of the different groups involved – mafiosi, politicians and entrepreneurs – and therefore, characterised by greater stability; centrifugal for Mexico characterised on the other hand by strongly competitive behaviour between the various leaders involved and associated with a much greater degree of violence compared to the Italian situation. 

Paraules clau

Capitalism, Democracy, Italy, Mafia, Mexico, Neoliberalism, Organised crime.


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