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Compare and contrast the Italianmafias Cosa Nostra and Nd

    Compare and contrast the Italianmafias Cosa Nostra and ‘Ndrangheta. How did they compare to other mafias aroundthe world? Assess the pros and/or cons to the way they conducted“business.”The crime groups Cosa Nostra, whichtranslates to “Our Thing” and ‘Ndrangheta, “Society of Men of Honor” are viewedas two of the largest and most stable mafias that originated in Italy. CosaNostra is located mainly in Sicily while the ‘Ndrangheta started in Calabria.Both groups have been reported to contain somewhere between 4000-5000 malemembers. A more recent report puts the‘Ndrangheta at over 10,000 members(Spolar, 2008).  One of the mainsimilarities of the two groups is that they must “keep secret the composition,the action, and the strategies of their mafia groups” (Paoli,2008, p. 17). This is especially true for Cosa Nostra. One of the things thatwork for ‘Ndrangheta in the past wasthat they kept a very low profile and did not kill public officials at leastprior to the 1990’s (Spolar, 2008).These two Italian mafias are similar toChinese Triads and the Japanese Yakuzain in that not only did they relied on the“secrecy of brotherhood,” they also branched out further than just producing andselling illegal goods and services.  Both were focused on political gains and atone point were more effective at protecting their community members than thestate was (Paoli, 2008). A few ofCosa Nostra and ‘Ndrangheta strong points were also a source of weakness forthem. One of their major differences was how they recruited members. Forexample, in order to be recruited one must be either a decedent of a mafiafamily member or have been born in their respective local areas (Sicily orCalabria). ‘Ndrangheta has used this in the strictest measure andnormally only accepts recruits from close family although marriage canstrengthen outside ties (Varese, 2006). While this policy has given them agreater bond of trust and according to Calderoni (2012) they have the leastamount of defectors or collaborators with the law, it has also prevented themfrom being able to bring in new blood that could have enabled them to obtainadditional networks and skills. Another issue that was extremely prominentfor Cosa Nostra (with one exception) was the ability of families to venture andset up shop outside of Sicily (Paoli, 2008). ‘Ndrangheta on the other hand is known to have“families” located in as many as 20 different countries and has been compared toAl Qaeda due to their “cell-like” structure (Spolar, 2008, Varese,2006). Their ability to branch out toother areas around the world has helped them gain a foothold in markets outsideof Italy especially in the drug trafficking market. It is estimated that‘Ndrangheta brings in about $55 to $70 billion dollars of which 62% comes fromdrug trafficking (Spolar, 2008). This cell structure also allows the ‘Ndranghetato act like the mythical creature Hydra, in that if one of their “heads” is cutoff, they are still able to function through other families/cells because eachfamily has its own “head” and acts autonomously (Varese, 2006). As I mentionedbefore one of the other major differences of Italian mafias was theirinvolvement in politics and “sovereign control” over communities they wereentrenched in (Paoli, 2008). InVarese’s (2006) comparison of ‘Ndrangheta’s different attempts to “migrate,” hepoints out how the ‘Ndrangheta were able to offer “protection, regulation,dispute resolution and taxation” to the communities they were operating in, thusalso offering a social component to their services (p. 414).Calderoni, F. (2012). The structure of drug trafficking mafias: The’ndrangheta and cocaine. Crime, Law and Social Change, 58(3), 321-349.doi:, L. (2008). The decline of the Italian Mafia. In: Siegel D, Nelen H(eds)Organized crime: culture, markets and policies. Springer, New York,15–28.Paoli, L., & Wolfgang, M. E. (2001). Crime, Italian style. Daedalus,130(3), 157-185. Retrieved from, Christine. (2008). Rising mafia emerges from Italy’s shadows: Globaldrug traffickers compared to Al Qaeda. Tribune.Varese, F. (2006). How Mafias Migrate: The Case of the ‘Ndrangheta inNorthern Italy. Law & Society Review, 40(2), 411-444.

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