Saturday, January 14, 2012

Another Look At Our Future

Isn't this a sign of the times?
Organised crime has tightened its grip on the Italian economy during the economic crisis, making the Mafia the country's biggest "bank" and squeezing the life out of thousands of small firms, according to a report on Tuesday.
Organised crime now generated annual turnover of about 140 billion euros ($178.89 billion) and profits of more than 100 billion euros, it added.

"With 65 billion euros in liquidity, the Mafia is Italy's number one bank," said a statement from the group, which was set up in Palermo a decade ago to oppose extortion rackets against small business.

Mafia now "Italy's No.1 bank" as crisis bites-report
Why would anyone, particularly someone as familiar with the Mafia as Italians must be, use their services? The article eventually gets around to answering that one:
Typical victims of extortionate lending were middle-aged shopkeepers and small businessmen who would struggle to find a new job and who were ready to try anything to avoid bankruptcy, it added.

"They are usually people in traditional retail sectors like food, greengrocers, clothes or shoe shops, florists or furniture shops. These are the categories which, more than any other, are paying the price of the (economic) crisis," it said.

According to a separate report this week from small business association CNA, 56 percent of companies had seen banks tighten their lending requirements in the past three months.

Mafia now "Italy's No.1 bank" as crisis bites-report
There's money to lend, of course, but the banks see no reason to lend it. Pretty much like things are over here. My guess is that Italy isn't the only country that's going to see its organized criminals profit from this thing.

Of course, it could be said that the main difference between the loan sharks and the real banks is who they ruin. Big banks seem to be content to ruin big businesses and small countries. The mob is more ambitious.

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