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Corruption in contemporary politicsA new travel guide$
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James L. Newell

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780719088919

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719088919.001.0001

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Political corruption and organised crime

Political corruption and organised crime

Chapter:
(p.82) 5 Political corruption and organised crime
Source:
Corruption in contemporary politics
Author(s):

James L. Newell

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719088919.003.0005

This chapter takes its point of departure from the fact that corruption typically involves the interaction of a wide range of actors – including mediators and third-party enforcers specialised in the job of ensuring a sufficient degree of trust between the counterparts to enable transactions to be concluded successfully. It is on these third-party enforcers – referred to as ‘mafias’ – that the chapter focusses, as they offer the threat of violence to ensure that, once the parties to a corrupt exchange have agreed to do business, the terms are actually respected. To that extent, they offer something analogous to the insurance policies available, in the world of legal contracts, to protect firms and individuals against non-compliance or the consequences of non-compliance. They might also be regarded as analogous to legal debt collection agencies or private security firms, the difference being that once their services have been engaged, they cannot easily be dismissed. The chapter begins by looking at the characteristics of mafias, before considering the conditions under which they succeed in establishing themselves as powerful entities able to offer the protection and contract enforcement that are their distinguishing features. It then considers the relationship between mafias and corruption in some detail.

Keywords:   Organised crime, Enforcers, Mafias

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