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As these two topics are on the same theme, they have been merged.(BTW - Mafia is singular.)
The "Mafia" is a criminal organisation. "Mafias" is plural i.e. several organisations. A "Mafioso" is a member of such an organisation.I didn't find the grammar here confusing but it is in other places. Wiybit, you obviously have an interest here but I found it hard to know what point (or points) you are making. Are you saying that mafias are similar to forms of government that may have arisen from, perhaps, the same ignoble roots?
You mention Monarchy, but in countries like the UK this is a really a very different form from in past times, being a "constitutional monarchy" and having no effective political power.
If you look at various world governments, there are a wide variety of systems - Democracies, Dictatorships, Old fashioned Monarchies (tantamount to hereditory dictatorships) etc. They all have, to a varying degree, corruption, control by an elite and suppression of opposing forces. I like to think there has been some progress over the last few thousand years though!
I think the Mafias are self-developed, loosely hereditary, clans. In the same way as any elitist group, they endeavour to maintain their superiority, position and wealth. The fact that they have a code within which they work is simply a method of control utilised to maintain order within their organisation and to aid their positioning at the top.
I don't really see much comparison between their specific methods (violence, bribery and dire threats) with those of (say) David Cameron, though you could draw comparisons to governments if you go back far enough in history. Common Law is supposed to apply to all, and to call the operations of (say) the Italian Mafias "businesses" is to give unwarranted respectability to activity which most people would find abhorrent.
This is not to say there is no corruption within democracies like the UK. There certainly is, but it is not significant when compared to the level to which it is taken in parts of Italy (also a democracy). These traditions go back a long way and are deeply embedded but they do need to be stamped out if we are to progress as nations ruled "for the people and by the people".
I do despair at the repetition of the successes of ruling elites, including the new "political class" in the UK of professional politicians.
People need to be independently informed about policies and their consequences but I don't feel this is done at all well by the media.
We tend to get the governments we deserve! There isn't really any true democracies and maybe there never can be, but I am glad I am at least able to criticise people without getting dumped in the sea with concrete wellies.
Quote from: graham.d on 06/05/2011 12:01:50The "Mafia" is a criminal organisation. "Mafias" is plural i.e. several organisations. A "Mafioso" is a member of such an organisation.I didn't find the grammar here confusing but it is in other places. Wiybit, you obviously have an interest here but I found it hard to know what point (or points) you are making. Are you saying that mafias are similar to forms of government that may have arisen from, perhaps, the same ignoble roots?Well governments arise as administration for the king, that is where they begin, onto that there is then the council of nobles the two together become government it societies earlier stages.Government admins for the rulers, sometime later nobles use governmental power to take power and expel the king, and you end up with emperors in a republic. Ofocurse this is all high up power play and things must be done to ensure that the people are contented. Oliver Cromwell did just what I suggested he used governmental power to take power from the king and install himself, the people are told they now have a republic, in truth it was a war of feudalism against capitalism, Cromwell represented and lead the business men of that time. A new capitalist elite ruled, it was about power, nothing to do with giving the people the vote that is a simple lie to gain their support. The merchant class was getting richer and richer, so the king taxed them, they just put up their prices it didn't work and came to head with the civil war. As I suggested a Mafia is a group of business men that seek to do business in a way that those in power disagree with, in this sense Cromwell lead a mafia against the king, and used a lie about democray to gain their support.
You are rewriting history, Wiybit.
Calling the English Cromwellian revolutionaries a Mafia is completely wrong, in my opinion.
Mafia codes are rather loose and diverse so it is hard to do a fair comparison. The Sicilian Mafia is based on self-interested clans based on large family relationships and allegiances. It is a concept that is a hangover from past times and does not (and cannot) sit well within a democratic society any more than witchcraft should survive within a technologically aware society.
You can make analogies (democratic societies and Mafias) but that is not being the same. Do you mean "accept" or "except"? In any case I do not agree that corporation should be exempt from lawful control and, indeed, they are not.
It is also not the case that all corporation behave immorally or just in their own self interest if it was detrimental to people. As a company director I can tell you that I would not go along with such a view and that also that directors can be held personally responsible.
I do agree that this can be a problem and certainly requires vigilant scrutiny and maintained legislation.
It has also been too easy for some company directors to organise a company to maximise their own personal reward; unfortunately the power of shareholders is often too hands-off and too weak (because they are not organised) to change this.
Most corporations are not "too big to fail".
The banking situation was a rare exception which was arrived at through a lack of regulation of an area very much tied in with a country's economy. What do you want to do?
Nationalise all businesses and have a controlled economy like the former Soviet Union or like China is gradually dismantling?
Where I agree is that it is not viable to have a complete free market economy - it has to be regulated and it can be a problem to set the controls at the right level.
Generally it needs a light hand on the tiller, but there dose need to be some steering.
Whilst I would completely join in with complaining about the appalling way some Banks have continued to obscenely reward their senior executives, despite being bailed out by vast amounts of taxpayers' money, it is not difficult to see how mutual competition led to banks taking (what is now obvious) unreasonable risks.
20-20 hindsight is a remarkable gift that most of us have, but very few saw the problems in advance.
In fact any bank who did not go down this risky route some years ago would have been left behind and probably been taken over by a bigger, and more aggressive bank. It is also now clear that many people in these organisations only had a loose concept about how derivatives actually work, which is astounding.
The UK made the decision that it was better to prevent the banks failing, the USA (which has a more free market approach) chose to allow matters to take their course, hence the collapse of major banks and a considerable loss to many shareholders and pension funds.
There are lots of things that should change but it is usually not so easy to see exactly in what way - there are usually downsides.
You have lots of complaints but few solutions, Wiybit. You did not really suggest what should have been done regarding the banking crisis apart from saying, as the man said when asked for directions, "well if I was you, I wouldn't start from here".
It's alright to shout about the bankers but the general public were happy to get a good deal when things were going well and would switch banks to get a better one. This is called competition!
Any bank that behaved too cautiously when others were raking in the cash was ultimately taken over.
It's a problem of the free market.
On the other hand, fully controlled economies don't work either.
It needs a "degree" of control and judgement, and where and how to apply it is not trivial.
And it is always easy to find someone who said "I told you so" afterwards.
Even if they are telling the truth there is a statistical likelyhood that someone would have got it right but it doesn't always follow that this fortune will continue. Whatever you may think of Gordon Brown (the concensus is not a lot, I think), he and Mervyn King would have taken measures to prevent the banking crisis had they saw it coming.
It is amazing how many people now think it was all obvious.
It is amazing how many people now think it was all obvious.