Monday, April 28, 2008

Wikimafia, and apologies for the buzzwords

Having recently read Venkatesh's and reading in the early pages of this and account of the Chechen mafia, I have a speculative possibility for the future of organised crime.

The older networks, such as the Cosa Nostra and the Yakuza have worked along rather feudal lines, leadership based on hierachy of seniority and strength and delineated by families.
Yet by the time of the crack boom, the crack gangs worked along corporate line, with local branches, managers and executive directors.

When the Chechen mafia began its rise, it rose as a franchise. Trading on the stereotype of Chechen vicious insanity, the term was for sale to other non-Chechen group that would pay for it, and protect the brand. It had come to a franchise.

Organised crime was following similar phenomena in capitalism.

But where now?

Here's a speculation. Many groups, such as the social groupings of motorcycle gangs or inner city gangs, or political groups such as the Green Gang and other triads, did not begin as organised crime groups. But when crime (often drugs) was adopted to fund them, the crime began to become the sole purpose of the gang.

Now today we have some politically orientated organisations around the world whom may be struggling for funds due to the efforts of several bodies to prevent their former benefactors channeling finance to them. What could happen if Al Qaeda decided to gain more funding from Opium, or some other such source? The main requirement for organised crime is the use of violence, or more importantly, the reputation for it. The training camps are teaching something, and their reputation for bloodshed is strong. It seems quite possible that over a course of years the organisation, like others, could lose its original aim and pursue only the crime.

But there is something else about the Al Qaeda brand. It has no short or medium term goals, only a vague dream of a single caliphate and the destruction of Israel. In the shortterm, merely random acts of violence. Subsequently, the terrorism is now open source. There is no need for a car bomb maker in once country to be attuned to the hierarchy if they now the goal (kill people) and the technology, which is easily disseminated. The founders of Al Qaeda may have no more idea of its extent than anyone else, nor any more control. Terrorism 2.0 to indulge in inane jargon.

If this turned to crime, would it be wikimafia, mafia 2.0, spontaneous organised crime?


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