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agreea OP t1_iuagkzq wrote

From the abstract: "We argue that the mafia arose as a response to an exogenous shock in the demand for oranges and lemons, following Lind’s discovery in the late eighteenth century that citrus fruits cured scurvy."


When we discovered that citrus cures scurvy, the only place that grew lemons at an industrial scale was Sicily. Sicily didn't have a strong enough state to protect lemon farmers and enforce contracts between them and the rest of the supply chain. So the mafia formed around the opportunity extort / protect farmers and enforce contracts (e.g. futures) between various players in the lemon supply chain.

I've seen this theory elsewhere, including John Dickey's Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia.

You can probably extrapolate this more generally, that organized criminal groups form around certain industries that the state cannot or will not protect.


Commubot t1_iub53e0 wrote

>You can probably extrapolate this more generally, that organized criminal groups form around certain industries that the state cannot or will not protect

This exactly. Happens with any industry lacking proper regulation. People love to hate in "big government" and the central authorities without thinking about who/what would step in to take their place if they ceased to exist.


PrettyText t1_iuccugv wrote

Yeah, good point. Power abhors a vacuum. Saying "let's have no government and magically everyone will somehow respect property rights" is simply naive.


HelmutHoffman t1_iud5pje wrote

That doesn't mean a massive bloated corrupt bureaucratic system is good either. Most people who want to do away with bloat still want there to be government. Most people who want true anarchy are still too young to even be out of school yet.


Armigine t1_iufrhey wrote

While still keeping in mind that, functionally, most people who go on about anything close to "big government" are actually arguing against safety nets and accountability


jumpupugly t1_iuffo9e wrote

Anarchistic governance would be less about "do whatever you want", and more "dismantle hierarchies that let those on top do whatever they want."

So, if there's a bunch of folks who need protection and are banding together to do so, supplies, support and training should be directed towards them, and means by which the community can participate in and regulate the self defense force established.


Manaoscola t1_iubsdg4 wrote

The problem is when the central goverment becomes the mafia itselve


tonipaz t1_iubsvr0 wrote

No the problem is when central government decides prosecuting crime is more profitable than taxing the transactions that are considered “criminal”

I.e. the war on drugs (still going on)


Manaoscola t1_iubtgvw wrote

not every part of the world has the same issues as USA, some places the central goverment becomes an actual mafia and feeds from industries, sometimes even destroying them.


Theban_Prince t1_iudrgn0 wrote

Actually if you read the research OP posted there are parallels drawn between sudden windfall of wealth due to natural resources with the existence of both mafia and corrupted goverments.

The issue seems to be not about "goverment" by definition, but the fact that the influx of wealth in an already weakend state will spawn mafiesque organisations, either in the form of full blown criminal organistions and/or corrupted states


TurboGuyUndercover t1_iubu2sy wrote

You’re avoiding the point made in the comment


Lone-Sloth t1_iucwf4l wrote

Because its assuming that only US problems matter while other countries are having a lot bigger problems than the war on drugs, like "oh no you can't do drugs legally" meanwhile in China there's currently an ongoing genocide or other countries where the government is tyrannical


the_barroom_hero t1_iudzsey wrote

If you think the problem with the war on drugs is "oh no you can't do drugs legally" you need to learn about the war on drugs


Lone-Sloth t1_iuhc4mt wrote

I'm just trivalizing your issue since you do it so easily to more important ones, obviously there's more to it, but it's still nothing compared to other problems


knochback t1_iue37hk wrote

It's less about "oh no I can't do drugs" and more about "oh no, these antiquated drug laws are used to unfairly target minorities and poor people, ruining lives while not fixing literally any problem"


Jrook t1_iubvwh9 wrote

Such as?


Manaoscola t1_iubwba6 wrote

Argentina, Saudi Arabia, China, and many african nations.


Jrook t1_iubz1wf wrote

What industries did they destroy by Mafia tactics?


gimnasium_mankind t1_iucrqhu wrote

After many years of reduced growth compared to the rest of the world, one could say that an industry « has been destroyed ». The reduced growth can come from excessive taxes and regulations, permits, licenses, any kind of mandatory contribution. Contributions that don’t « come back » propotionally in services or in infrastructure.


OuterOne t1_iuc9akk wrote

Send to me like Saudi and Chinese industries are going pretty well.


brownpaperboi t1_iudlctf wrote

I think the above comment is talking about the resource curse, where governments essentially focused on supporting and taxing one industry to the detriment of other industries. Countries with resource curse historically have high levels of corruption and frequently poor government services since the main goal of government is rent collection. Example include Nigeria, Mexico 20 years ago, Angola, Iraq and some other nations.


Lindvaettr t1_iudbfda wrote

Or when they care more about public perception than competence. Most people opposed to big government aren't against the concept of regulation. They're against poor regulation that doesn't achieve what it's supposed to and overburdens the people it's supposed to protect.


Redboy45672 t1_iudeele wrote

Another reason why anarcho capitalism is a dumb ideology


tlst9999 t1_iue0w17 wrote

Not to the ones who will be the winners of anarcho capitalism.


florinandrei t1_iue6tt7 wrote

Yeah, the mafia state is bad. Except for the mafiosi.


Redboy45672 t1_iue1gac wrote

I suppose you could say that about any organization of society lol


BoopsScroopin t1_iuevdae wrote

Everything will always suck for almost everyone almost all the time relative to the experience of the ruling class, it's just a question of to what degree. A system (or lack thereof) like anarcho capitalism just sets a very, very, very, exceptionally low floor for the everyman's quality of life.


Redboy45672 t1_iuexcuo wrote

Correct. Dialectical materialism is a good theory imo


Sun_Devilish t1_iue0icb wrote

False dilemma. The choice is not between big government regulation on one hand, and criminal empires on the other. There are many points in between these two extremes.


Commubot t1_iue94px wrote

Not saying it's 100% criminal organizations that would take over, just that whatever takes the place of the government more than likely wouldn't have the average person's well-being in mind.


Sun_Devilish t1_iuel37u wrote

The government doesn't have the average person's well being in mind either.

Government bureaucrats (and especially politicians) only care about their own power and position....just like everyone else.

Putting too much power into the hands of any single group, or single individual, is a certain recipe for tyranny. There is no perfect solution, and anyone who claims to have one is just angling to increase their own power and position.

The best we can hope for is a society in which various factions and groups are engaged in a Mexican standoff, and no one is too big for their britches.


deryq t1_iug92sw wrote

Here’s a thought: stop voting for people that don’t have your interests in mind. Example: the Republican parties only aim is to eliminate taxes and destroy the federal and state governments. That’s not in your interests unless you’re a billionaire or a corporation. Soooo… maybe pay attention?


Sun_Devilish t1_iuhb649 wrote

That's a caricature.

The Grifters On Parade want to maximize their own power and position...just like the Democrats.

To do this, they lie to voters and pretend to share the values and interests of those voters...just like the Democrats.


All of the above employ propagandists whose job it is to persuade voters that their team are the good guys and opposing teams are comprised of fools and demons. All are lying. There are no good guys in politics, just power hungry psychopaths who want to rob the public treasury, seize control over private industry, and tell the rest of us how we must live.

In societies that are not morally and spiritually bankrupt, the ability of these villains to rob and enslave the public are limited. They must maintain a facade of legitimacy in order to maintain the support of their victims, aka voters. They can only go so far. When one political faction or another oversteps its bounds and does things that are clearly immoral or contrary to the public good, their support drops, they lose elections, and another faction increases its power instead. Over and over, round and round, every faction competes for the folly of the electorate, with no side gaining permanent supremacy.

We call this the political process, in which we the people decide which band of criminals we are going to give power to based upon whose lies and empty promises seem most appealing at that moment. Criminal ambitions on all sides are constrained because criminal ambition is set against criminal ambition, and no gang ever wins forever.

But as America proceeds headlong into abject moral and spiritual bankruptcy, this mechanism increasingly fails to function, and the worst of the worst on all sides are emboldened to be overtly criminal in their actions and aims.

Welcome to 2022.


SquashParticular5381 t1_iui1hj2 wrote

You can say "just like the X" all you want. Fine, there are shared traits. But some politicians ARE worse than others, and the GOP has openly embraced complete manipulation of elections not just through influencing people, but by invalidating actual results. They are actually saying "I will only accept the result of the election if I win. Otherwise I will declare victory anyway and try to stop me - my supporters have more guns". And the platform they push is control of people's personal individual choices with not only an implied threat but explicit threat of physical violence. In America, on a broad scale, this is a low point. Maybe not unique or the lowest, but it's really very low.

Conservatism and authoritarianism go hand in hand. And no, communism is not a counterpoint. Communism is not liberal, nor has it ever been practiced as a form of government. That was fascism pretending to be communism.

And for the record, yes, I believe that could be a real threat too. It's just not currently the imminent threat.


Sun_Devilish t1_iuimxfm wrote

All of the propaganda which portrays the Grifters On Parade as demons and villains can be matched by equally deceptive propaganda designed to portray the Democrats as demons and villains.

Some of this propaganda, put out by both sides, might even be true. Using the truth to tell lies is the hallmark of high grade propaganda.

Do not be fooled into thinking that one or another political party is on your side and fighting the good fight. All political parties are fundamentally corrupt, run by people whose only interest is increasing their own power, wealth, and position.

The most that we as voters can do is play them off against each other and make sure that none ever gain enough power that elections no longer matter, which is something that ALL of them would like to achieve.


SquashParticular5381 t1_iuj6s06 wrote

Truth. I'm pointing out which one I perceive to be (by far) the greatest current threat. I perceive that because their plan could make it impossible to rebalance the system, and remove all possible checks on their power.

We've been lucky, historically, as bad as things have gotten. At least we've had politicians willing to concede defeat and step back to try again. There is honor in honoring that system. Now it's not even that gerrymandering is out of control, but a plan to forcibly ignore results and remove all possibly points of opposition to coup.


Sun_Devilish t1_iuje8zt wrote

I've been hearing from the Republicans that the Democrats reject the results of every election that they do not win, and have plans and schemes in place to seize power by force.

I hear the same thing about the Republicans from the Democrats.

These partisan hack accusations have been going on for decades now.

Go spend some time on partisan blogs for both factions and you'll soon discover that they are each making much the same accusations against the other.

The choice between the Republicans and the Democrats is the same as the choice between the Gambinos and the Lucchese.


Jdomtattooer t1_iud9dvb wrote

Happens with my profession, tattooing, and always has had, though.


[deleted] t1_iud1te8 wrote



[deleted] t1_iudak77 wrote



[deleted] t1_iudaxrf wrote



JohnnySnarkle t1_iubnseb wrote

Yeah seems right I mean that’s how the American mafias got there boom in the early 1900s till around the early 90s or late 80s (I’m sorta just throwing those dates around cause that’s where I see where the Mafia really dropped off in how powerful they were) when the Government started protecting the Stock Market and things such as way more than they did prior. I know organized crime got their bread and butter doing other things but how they manipulated the stock market to make millions is insane to me.


mauganra_it t1_iud08dw wrote

Organized crime is not despised by for manipulating the stock market.


BurningHuman t1_iuea56j wrote

I despise them for manipulating the McDonald’s monopoly game


fjvgamer t1_iudkqvx wrote

It makes sense though I don't know enough of the history to judge .

A commodity comes expensive and rare its going to create a blackmarket.


OttoVonAuto t1_iuekgle wrote

I’ve heard of a similar tale about the Sicilian garbage pickers who, also lacking government support and protection, worked with the Mafia which also started the whole mafia and garbage collection issue


agreea OP t1_iuemip2 wrote

Yeah I’ve heard of waste management as a common industry for mafias to control. I think it’s because it’s so territorial and there’s really only room for one vendor in a given area (who goes shopping for their trash guy?), so being able to use force to crowd out competition determines whether you’ll capture market share.

I’ve also seen firsthand some of these dynamics in informal settlements in Kenya where the government can’t provide waste management due to lack of infrastructure. Though in that case it’s usually more “youth groups/gangs” fighting over garbage collection turf than organized criminal enterprises.


wallagrargh t1_iuh1lo3 wrote

It's also a convenient industry to control when you sometimes need to make evidence or body bags disappear


Bokth t1_iuepi0y wrote

Oh you mean the reason we shut down imports of avocados from Mexico (briefly)


Sometimes_Stutters t1_iub6ykg wrote

Fun fact- Sauerkraut was actually the primary food to prevent scurvy. Cheaper, easier to transport, and lasted much longer.


KingHenry13th t1_iuc4l18 wrote

Another fun fact- during ww2 the Americans called the germans krauts because they always found sourkraut left behind in their camps. The Americans called brits limeys because they used limes for scurvey prevention.


OneEightActual t1_iucfsts wrote

Funner fact: the British were dismayed to find out that limes don't actually prevent scurvy; although they taste sour because of citirc acid, they don't actually contain a lot of Vitamin C. It turns out there was some confusion about the translations for words like limón that might might mean limes, lemons or even both. What we know as limes were just easier to come by in a lot of British colonies, so that's what they used, with inconsistent and sometimes disappointing results.

Even funner still fact: scurvy was widespread in winter months in Europe before potatoes were cultivated from the New World in the 17th Century. Potatoes gained popularity because they grew easily on land that might otherwise be unusable for farming, and potatoes could be stored for months with little effort. Through an accident that wasn't understood until the 20th Century, it turned out that potatoes contained just enough Vitamin C to help stave off the worst of scurvy. At about the same time limes were adopted, potatoes became more common for provisioning ships too, and the reduction in scurvy was misattributed to limes.

Edit: forgot supporting link about Vitamin C in potatoes, sry


Thebitterestballen t1_iucivv8 wrote

Also many spices, such as chilli or star anise, contain huge amounts of vitamin C. There where ships that lost most of their crew to scurvy while bringing spices from the east, without knowing their ship was stuffed with the cure.


Iwantmyflag t1_iuco7qi wrote

None of this is true.

Limes contain a lot of vitamin C.

Various cabbages were a widespread winter food in Europe and contain plenty vitamin C.


Isthecoldwarover t1_iucopa7 wrote

I thought the same on your first point since spuds contain less vitamin c than limes but assume the quantity of each ration was actually improtant, so it was the daily handful of spuds rather than whatever their lime ration was that made the difference

Don't get your second point since cabbages wouldn't last the full lenght of a journey in comparison to spuds which have a much longer shelf life


OneEightActual t1_iucrwzr wrote

That's the thing; potatoes were given daily or even several times daily when they were available, which got really common. Limes/lime juice were rationed more carefully. I can't find the reference now, but there was even a British expedition to the Antarctic relying on limes that got stricken with scurvy, and it could not be explained why at the time.

Fermented cabbage products like sauerkraut were trialed and were successful, but weren't widely adopted, perhaps because of the Brits' tendency to cook it in iron cookware that gave it an unpleasant metallic taste.


Frosty-Wave-3807 t1_iue5rgn wrote

Sauerkraut can easily survive 6+ months. I've eaten older preparations, both that I've made and commercially prepared, for longer than that, 10+ months. It took anywhere from ~8-12 weeks to sail across the Atlantic. Think the sauerkraut would be fine.


ends_abruptl t1_iudgkzz wrote

Yeah, not to mention you need less than a tenth of a gram of vitamin C a day. It's ludicrously easy to get enough. So easy in fact, the human body never evolved a vitamin C storage system.


TheEyeDontLie t1_iucffbw wrote

The Americans didn't get a nickname cos they arrived late.


Sloofin t1_iuciujy wrote

The septics definitely had nicknames despite arriving late.


ColonelKasteen t1_iudnlks wrote

No, "limey" was in use for English sailors and more generally for English men everywhere in the anglosphere since the 19th century.

WWII GIs sometimes referred to English troops as limeys because they had been called that for the last 100 years. They more often called English troops Tommys.


AgoraiosBum t1_iuj6ydr wrote

An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please


Kukuxupunku t1_iucfd9s wrote

So what did the Americans use themselves?


sojywojum t1_iucgwve wrote

how were the americans preventing scurvy?


Staerebu t1_iuc6pu3 wrote

Polynesians stored pandan paste and fermented breadfruit while they were settling the Pacific


Protean_Protein t1_iuaz94n wrote

I poured him a Limoncello he couldn’t refuse. (Because otherwise all his old scars would reopen and he’d bleed out and die.)


Mandelko1 t1_iubf186 wrote

It makes the symbolic use of “oranges” in The Godfather more interesting…


Luckyjonas t1_iucaocf wrote

This was my first thought… wonder if all the oranges / lemons references, especially in death scenes, trace back to this. Pretty cool if so


[deleted] t1_iub0hyl wrote



Vennieee t1_iucanun wrote

Some may not even know that Italy, the country as we know it today, literally did not exist until the late nineteenth century.


Cassandra- t1_iub17df wrote

Huh? Italian mafia is 300 years old, Sicilian mafia is younger. Corsican mafia is 400 years old.


agreea OP t1_iub2sx6 wrote

Early mafia history is so weird and surprising relative to what we understand of the modern mafia.

For example, here's how mobsters in Sicily in 1875 introduced themselves to each other as "made" men (aka formally inducted to the mafia):

A: God's blood! My tooth hurts! (pointing to one of the upper canines)

B: Mine too

A: When did yours hurt?

B: On the day of our Lady of the Annunciation.

A: Where were you?

B: Passo di Ragano

A: And who was there?

B: Nice people.

A: Who were they?

B: Antonino Giammona, number 1. Alfonso Spatola, number 2, etc.

A: How did they do the bad deed?

B: They drew lots and Alfonso Spatola won. He took a saint, colored it with my blood, put in the palm of my hand, and burned it. He threw the ashes in the air.

A: Who did they tell you to adore.

B: The sun and the moon.

A: And who is your god?

B: An 'Air'.

A: What kingdom do you belong to?

B: The index finger.


Compare that to mafiosos in the US today:

A: "[B] is a friend of ours"


Edit: Source: John Dickie, Cosa Nostra, p. 46-47


re_nonsequiturs t1_iub83n9 wrote

In your first example, A did not know B, but in your second, A knows B. The first is clearly a series of passwords to test an unknown claimant.

How would the introduction go today if A didn't know B?

In 1875, how would B have been introduced to C if A knew B?


agreea OP t1_iub93eu wrote

Very good point, the comparison isn’t 1:1. As I understand it (not at all a mobster myself just a voracious consumer of mob content), today A would say to B “I’m with Z’s family/crew” if they were from the same area, and might specify the location if they weren’t from the same area. But generally they wouldn’t talk Cosa Nostra stuff if they were strangers, even if they were both in the mob. There would need to be an intro made between them.

In 1875, B would likely have introduced themselves to C using the same ritual above, but perhaps with A hinting to C to kick it off by… complaining about a toothache to B lmao.


VoodooMagic13X t1_iucfjhy wrote

A B C, It's easy as 1 2 3, as simple as Do re mi, A B C, 1 2 3 Baby you and me girl


AlfaBetaZulu t1_iubrj19 wrote

I remember years back 60 minutes did a little segment on truffles. The guy they were interviewing was claiming the mafia and mob were all in on the truffle business. I forget the question but at one point he dragged his thumb across his neck like if he answered wrong they would kill him. It was a weird segment. Lol. Idk this just made me think of it.


TomorrowWeKillToday t1_iub6t8s wrote

Yeah, I’d take this with a grain of salt…..then tequila


quelar t1_iubbrty wrote

If you need training wheels that's ok, just don't embarrass your friends by saying it's better that way.


TomorrowWeKillToday t1_iubhqrn wrote

You realise wordplay is just for fun right?


TheEyeDontLie t1_iucfp5i wrote

Consensual wordplay is adults only and they let children on reddit now. I've seen like 21 year old on here!


KittyScholar t1_iubo4kx wrote

Hmm. I’ve been thinking about a 7th Seas campaign (a table top game about magic pirates). This might be fun to have in it.


godofwine16 t1_iucala2 wrote

What about the poverty of the mezzogiorno?


KombuchaBot t1_iucjk74 wrote

Methods of conflict resolution from the old country, yeah


Princess_Juggs t1_iubbxpa wrote

Well there wouldn't be so many sailors going on long voyages and getting scurvy if that pesky Cristóbal Colón hadn't gotten Europe hooked on colonizing the New World!


flourishingvoid t1_iucrir2 wrote

I know what they mean by "Lemons cure scurvy" but

Still have to elaborate, scurvy is a condition in which a human lacks vitamin C intake or just a Vitamin C deficit... Lemons are just a good source of Vitamin C, but there are many other fruits and vegetables with high amounts of Vitamin C, Lemons have this reputation due to their relative ease of storage, and the fact it's mainly has been consumed raw or added late to the food in cooking thus, maintaining high concentrations of Vitamin C.

Tomatoes also have a decent amount of Vitamin C, but people cook them and neutralise a lot of the Vitamins in them ( kinda )


_kroy t1_iuede29 wrote

> Tomatoes also have a decent amount of Vitamin C, but people cook them and neutralise a lot of the Vitamins in them ( kinda )

And during this time, thought to be poisonous.


flourishingvoid t1_iuee7qj wrote

Ok and?

It was considered poisonous in Europe broadly... In Italy specifically around the late 17th century and maybe early 18th century.

How does that in any way reduce my point?


_kroy t1_iuef7in wrote

I mean, just in that old habits die hard and tomatoes, which are difficult to store, transport, doesn’t keep fresh long, vitamin C gets destroyed easily, means specifically they probably weren’t looking towards this as a scurvy cure


flourishingvoid t1_iueg7g5 wrote

Yeah, but it was a side example, some other fruits and vegetables could have been used... Bell pepper and cabbage are good examples


_kroy t1_iuegm07 wrote

Sure. And that was the point, which you somehow took extremely defensively.

In a conversation about scurvy and vitamin C, tomatoes are a less-than-ideal example, especially when you point out that the vitamin c is destroyed


flourishingvoid t1_iuegumm wrote

Yeah, but that was the whole point... I compared the worst to the best stressing why Tomatoes weren't used with complimentary justifications about cooking.