Modern Codes Of Chivalry Writing Sample

In years of King Arthur and the round table, the knights lived by a code. This code was called the Code of Chivalry. Knights abided by these rules and were punished both physically but socially if they broke one. Today, this code can be translated into modern day unspoken rules. “This above all… to thine own self be true. ” In medieval times, Knights had to fight for themselves and always put themselves and what they think is right, first. Today there is a similar idea of how people need to be themselves and not pretend to be others.

A lot of people in this Century are fake and it is hard to find “down to earth” people like there commonly used to be in medieval times. “A Knights word must have the validity of a signed and witness oath. Thus, give thy word sparingly, but adhere to it like iron. ” In medieval times, if you gave someone your word it meant what you said was unbreakable. Knights never went back on their word as it was looked down upon to do so. In modern society they teach to always be honest, never get caught in a lie. It is taught that people should give their opinion cautiously and to not change their story or others won’t trust them. Refrain from speaking ill of others, for not all truths of the matter may be known. ” In medieval times, peoples’ lives were very private so they were taught not to talk about people without knowing all the facts. Today there is the same understanding for people to not judge others because they may not know what these peoples’ lives are like or their situation. Though people tend to forget to not jump ahead and judge people, it is still a virtue that people try to uphold. “Pass not unverified words about another, for hearsay is, in a large part, a thing of falsehoods. Similar to the last code of chivalry, it was stressed that people should not talk bad about others. In this century people try not to be caught gossiping because then it makes others around think that that person might be gossiping behind their backs as well. Growing up people are taught to not gossip about others, or start rumors as people may get upset and then spread rumors in return. “Be thou honest with others, and have them known that honesty is likewise expected of them. ” Honesty was a virtue in the days of King Arthur, and those who were not honest were looked down upon.

In that day people had a strong reliance on trust, if someone couldn’t be trusted, they weren’t given all the information themselves. In modern society people try to be honest with others so that they trust them and are honest in return. “The fury of the moment plays folly with the truth; to keep one’s head is a virtue. ” This code is about keeping a cool head in situations where not all is known. Today people strive to not get upset without knowing the full truth, and try to always keep calm. Though they try to do this, many people forget to find out all the information and instead jump to conclusions. Contemplate always the consequences of thine acts upon others. Strive not to harm. ” As children in modern society, people are taught to know the consequences of their actions, such as cheating or stealing. This is why they are taught to always think about what will happen after their actions; think about who may be affected and whose feelings you may hurt. “Other Realms may well have diverse news on love between members and with others. When a Realm is visited or joined, one should discern quietly their practices, and abide thereby. Modernly people take this code and apply it as, accept people for who they are, and be open minded to other cultures and practices. “Dignity, a gracious manner, and a good humor are much to be admired. ” This code reminded the knights that they should present themselves well so that others will respect them. Nowadays, if a person has a good head on their shoulders, has manors and has a good sense of humor and others will like them. “As a Knight, thou haste power, and thy powers wax strongly as wisdom increases. Therefore exercise discretion in the use thereof. This code is translated into a modern day quote, “with great power comes great responsibility. “ This means that if someone takes on the job of being in charge or having more power, they must take on the responsibility that comes with it. The Code of Chivalry from Medieval times is very relevant to the modern world. We still have the same virtues such as honesty, loyalty, courage, and faith. Though these virtues were practiced more commonly in the medieval times, modern people still have a sense of what is right and wrong because of these codes.

Impact On Chinese Culture On International Business Analysis

At present time, most companies are exposes to operate internationally. This further emphasis by the declaration of globalization among countries, which willing or unwillingly a company should expand to another country to success. One of the emerging markets that show an enormous development and will be the future world economy is China. Many western companies see China as a huge consumer demand and future prospect (Coyler, 2005). The main complexity is lies within the Chinese culture than regulations.

So, the international business could help foreign countries to do business in other countries. 1. 2 The Objectives and Scope of the Report The main objective of this paper will try to find out business relationships in China and the impact of foreign market especially Western and Asian companies intending to do successful business in China. The scope of the study will focus on the cultural dimensions to explain the impact of Chinese business style to Western and Asian companies.

2. 1 Power Distance

  • 2. 1. 1* Power Distance in China
  • 2. 1. 2 Power Distance in the USA

Power Distance in the USA has a low power distance (see table 1). This indicated that US has flatter organizations, supervisors and employees considered almost equal; tips to approach are use teamwork and involves as many people in decision making (MindTools, 2009, internet). As low power distance, there will be equal distribution of power and wealth. This is very contrasted with China has a high Power Distance dimension. So, for westerners should noted on these issues before entering China.

2. 1. 3 Power Distance in Indonesia

According to Hofstede, Indonesia has the highest rate in at 78 (see table 9).

Similar to China, its indicate a low level of wealth and power distribution and was accepted as cultural heritage (Hofstede, 2003c, Internet). This inline with China’s dimension and will be not be big issues for Indonesia to enter the Chinese market. 2. 2 Individualism vs Collectivism *2. 2. 1* Individualism vs Collectivism in China Individualism in China is found to be the lowest compared with many other countries, which score only 15 (appendices table 4) as a contrast to the US at 91 (Kriss S. & Sagatori, 2006, internet). From the article Turkovic (2007) stated that strong leadership is on company ethics and principle.

This would indicate the Chinese low level of individualism or focus on group. It showed that China has a strong commitment with groups and loyalty to members of groups is value at high price (Kriss S. & Sagatori, 2006, internet). Additionally, Hofstede found that low Individualism (IDV) has characteristics like work for interinsic rewards and harmony more important than honesty (MindTool, 2009, internet). Westerners who want to enter Chinese market should show respect on age and wisdom, suppress feeling and emotion, and respect tradition and introduce change slowly (MindTools, 2009, internet).

Nakane from the research of group with low IDV found that managers and workers will be discouraged to move from company to company (Hill, C. W. L. , 2005). 2. 2. 2 Individualism vs Collectivism in USA Individualism in USA was rated at the highest at 91 point (Hofstede, G. , 2003b). High Individualism has the characteristics of value high on people time and freedom, enjoyment of challenges and rewards for hard work, and respect for privacy; with some tips to handle are acknowledge accomplishment, do not ask too much personal information, and encourage debate and personal ideas (MindTools, 2009, internet).

Benefit of individualism is high level of entepreneurship in activities such as developing new products, but will have difficulties in building team or achieved team’s objective (Hill C. W. L. , 2005). This section truly opposite with China and should be noted before entering. 2. 2. 3 Individualism vs Collectivism in Indonesia Indonesia has the lowest ranking in individualism at 14 (see table 9), this indicate Indonesia is truly country of collectivism (Hofstede, 2003c, Internet). Relevant to Chinese, Indonesia will have similar share of common with China. 2. 3 Masculinity *2. 3. 1* Masculinity in China

Masculinity in China is approximately aligned with the rest of the western countries (see table 5). Within this role there will be no difficulties for entering China market by westerners. Moderate masculinity characterized by clear different roles from men and women that should aware of expectation from men and women job and men should not discuss emotionally (MindTools, 2009). While low are characterized by a woman can do anything a man can do, powerful and successful women; with some tips avoid ‘old boy club mentality’ and ensure job design and practices are not discriminatory (MindTools, 2009).

So China might be in between of high and low. 2. 3. 2 Masculinity in USA Masculinity in USA was considered high as shown in table 1. This means USA has a high degree of gender differentiation with male domination on society and power structure (Hofstede, G. , 2003b). High masculinity in USA might encounter different masculinity with China as in average level. 2. 3. 3 Masculinity in Indonesia Masculinity in Indonesia shown an average level at around 42 (see table 9), which indicate some proportion for men and women roles in society (Hofstede, 2003c, Internet).

Once again this is relevant to China dimension at moderate level of Masculinity. 2. 4 Uncertainty Avoidance 2. 4. 1 Uncertainty Avoidance in China Comparing with other westerner countries, Uncertainty avoidance in China relatively low at around 30 point (table 6) Low Uncertainty Avoidance has the characteristics of informal business attitude, concerned with long term strategy than daily, and accepting change and risk (MindTool, 2009). Some tips to handle are do not impose rules and structure unnecessarily, be calm and contemplating situation before speak, and express curiosity when discover differences (MindTool, 2009, internet). . 4. 2 Uncertainty Avoidance in USA USA has a relatively low uncertainty avoidance at 46 compared with the world average at 64 (Hofstede, G. , 2003b). This is in line with China, which has lower rate at 30. Within the low rate it is not difficult for USA to enter China by considering this dimension. 2. 4. 3 Uncertainty Avoidance in Indonesia Indonesia uncertainty avoidance was considered low at 48 (see table 9), this is also similar to China category that shown a low level of uncertainty Avoidance (Hofstede, 2003c, Internet). . 5 Long Term Orientation 2. 5. 1 Long Term Orientation in China According to Hofstede China has the highest long term orientation in their culture as shown in table 7. In this case, China ranked highest at 114 compared with most other countries, which means time is important and societies willing to overcome any obstacles over time (Kriss S. & Sagatori, 2006, internet). This indicate when making a deal time is important and Chinese needs longer time to make decision (Kriss S. & Sagatori, 2006, internet).

Additionally, high long term orientation shown characteristics of family as the basis of societies, parents and men have more authority than younger people, strong work ethic, and high value on education andt training (MindTool, 2009). Some tips when encountered this situation are respect to tradition, no display extravagance, reward, loyalty, preservarence, commitment, and do not do anything caused other to lose face (MindTool, 2009). 2. 5. 2 Long Term Orientation in USA Within this dimension, USA has low level of long term orientation at only 29 (Hofstede, G. 2003b). This was truly different from China as a highest long term orientation. Low level have the charateristics of promotion of equality, high creativity, treat others like yourself, and self-actualization; with some tips to handle like expect to live by the same standards, respect others, and introduce change (MindTools, 2009). US will have more on spending culture and will have a hugh borrowing funds compare with China will save for next generation. 2. 5. 3 Long Term Orientation in Indonesia Indonesia has a low level of long term orientation as mention in table 1.

This is the only dimension that contrasted with China at high level, which means Indonesian will spend more and save less for latter. 3. 0 Weaknesses of Hofstede Finding Hofstede assumed one culture applied to nationwide; however one country may have different culture (Hill, C. W. L. , 2005). This is relevant to current situation where globalization took place rather than closed economy like Hofstede era. Hofstede’s research team was composed of Europeans and Americans in which it will cause bias on setting up questionnaires (Ball D. A. , 2008).

Lastly their researched was based on one company called IBM and this excluded lower social classes and unskilled manual workers (Hill, C. W. L. , 2005). 4. 0 De Mooji’s Research 4. 1 De Mooji Appeal on Hofstede In reference to Hofstede, Mooji argued that high power distance culture may refers to status of symbols, where low power distance for independence culture. Secondly, direct communication apply in individualistic, however indirect suited for collectivistic societies. Thirdly, masculine cultures tend to demonstrate personal success, while feminine concerned with caring for others and safety.

Fourthly, country with high uncertainty avoidance shown by structure, stability, looking good, feeling relaxed and comfortable, but low uncertainty avoidance reflected by less concerned with looks and concerned more with results on job (Mooji M. D. , 1997). 4. 2 Application on Mooji’s Research to China High power distance would indicate large differences in people social status. To add Mooji stated that symbol in China is important or culture, family, and belonging are grouped by symbol (Mooji M D. , 1997). Additionally, Mooji said that approaching to Chinese should be indirect way (1997).

Secondly Masculinity index is not so high than other elements (see table 7), but still feminine is not dominant in China. Tips to enter China Company must demonstrate some social status (Mooji M. D. , 1997). Lastly, the long term orientation in China is very high, which mean they find long-term obligations are important and they will save money or avoid paying high price for next generation (Mooji M. D. , 1997). 5. 0 The Important of Chinese Language From the article written one would impress Chinese must be able to speak few phrases and get respect (Turkovic D. , 2007, Internet).

This statement is supported by Mooji said that strategies to translate Western name into Chinese will contribute to great success and divided into three strategies like pronounce oriented (no meaning); creating meaningful Chinese name; and making new name has meaning in Chinese (2004). Furthermore Trompenaars & Woolliams argued that western name more accepted by the younger generation, while older preferred more translating to Chinese (2004). 6. 0 Impact on Companies Intending to Enter China For westerners companies will have a great impact for entering Chinese market, where they have extremely different dimensions compare to China.

Westerners should change its language or at least make it sound like Chinese words. In addition, their company culture should focus on collective work rather than individual rewards. However for Asian countries such as Indonesia will not find too much difference from China, this will be plus for them to negotiate and enter business with China. To add, a country to enter China one must be shown in symbol and focus on long-term orientation company. *7. 0 Changes in Trend* in the Future As mention earlier, changes will happen in the young generation, whereby acceptance on Western culture was started to be adopted. English language started implemented in school and women started to enter the role of men. In the future, there will be some value shifting in China compared with last period. This will be a good opportunity especially for westerners intending to enter China. However, some part should follow with Chinese culture rather than original business culture from home country adopted in China. 8. 0 Recommendation Business in China should concern about Chinese cultural effect.

Successful or not a foreign company might determine on whether they could meet its culture criteria. For Westerners, they must adjust their ways of operation as the culture really contrasted from China counterpart. According to Hofstede dimension, Westerner like American should adjust the company in term of team work than individuals, provide a large gap on hierarchical organization, and emphasize on top management. However for Asian, it’s approximately the same with Chinese’s cultural dimension and will not find so many difficulties in entering China market.

One main consideration within cultural dimension in China is that long-term orientation, whereby many countries did not focus on future goal or saving for next generation. This is applicable to both Western and Asian countries. Furthermore, within De Mooji research, some consideration relevant to article is the language of China, which company should translate their company name into mandarin in order to get acceptance such as Coca Cola is kekuo kele means tasty and happy (De Mooji, 2004). Additionally, symbol should be an important to show collectivism in China. 9. Conclusion Foreign companies intending to enter China market should take some consideration within different cultural dimension with China. This is applicable to Westerners who should take account more on its cultural differences with China nation. For Asian like Indonesia, should consider only the long-term orientation part. The weaknesses to test this analysis is that sample for Westerners is America and Asian is Indonesia, other word few sample was taken. So, culture will be a great impact for foreign countries intending to enter China market.


Taken from: Hofstede G. (1993), “Cultural Constraints in Management Theories”, Academy of Management Executive, February 1993, pg. 91 Table 2 {draw:frame} http://www. geert-hofstede. com/hofstede_china. shtml (2 July 2009) Table 3 Power Distance (PD) {draw:frame} Table 4 Individualism (IDV) {draw:frame} Table 5 Masculinity (MAS) {draw:frame} Table 6 Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) {draw:frame} Table 7 Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions – scores for China {draw:frame} Taken from: Hofstede G. , (2003a), “China Cultural Dimension? ”, itim International, cited on: http://www. eert-hofstede. com/hofstede_china. shtml (2 July 2009) Table 8 Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions – scores for USA {draw:frame}

Taken from: Hofstede G. , (2003b), “ USA Cultural Dimension? ”, itim International, cited on: http://www. geert-hofstede. com/hofstede_united_states. shtml

(2 July 2009) Table 9 Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions – scores for Indonesia {draw:frame} REFERENCES Ball D. A . , et. al. , (2008), “International Business – The Challenge of Global Competition”, 11th eds. , McGraw Hill, International Edition Coyler, E. 2005), “Branding with Chinese Characteristic”, Brandchannel. com, January 17 2005 cited on Cummings &Worley, (2002), “Organizational Development and Change”, 7th eds. , Mason Ohio, Thomson Learning Hill, C. W. L. (2005), “International Business – Competing in Global Market Place”, 5th eds. , McGraw-Hill Hofstede G. (1993), “Cultural Constraints in Management Theories”, Academy of Management Executive, February 1993, pg. 91 Hofstede G. , (2003a), “China Cultural Dimension? ”, itim International, cited on: http://www. geert-hofstede. com/hofstede_china. html

(2July 2009) Hofstede G. , (2003b), “ USA Cultural Dimension? ”, itim International, cited on: http://www. geert-hofstede. com/hofstede_united_states. shtml (2July 2009) Hofstede G. , (2003c), “ Indonesia Cultural Dimension? ”, itim International, cited on: http://www. geert-hofstede. com/hofstede_indonesia. shtml (2July 2009) Kriss S. , Sagatori (2006), “Hofstede’s Five Cultural Dimensions”, May 22, 2006, Customer Think, cited on: http://www. customerthink. com/article/hofstedes_five_cultural_dimensions (11th July 2009) Marcouse I. et. l, (2003), “Business Studies”, Hodder Arnold Press, 2nd eds. MindTool (2009), “Hofstede Cultural Dimension – Understanding Workplace Value Around World”, cited on: http://www. mindtools. com/pages/article/newLDR_66. htm

(9 August 2009) Mooij, M de (1997), “Global marketing and advertising, understanding cultural paradoxes”, Chapter 8: Value paradoxes in Advertising Appeals, Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications. Internationalisation reader course ID 4140 TU Delft, 2004. Mooij M. de (2001), “Convergence and Divergence in Consumer Behavior”, Admap, October cited on: http://www. ariekedemooij. com/articles/demooij_2001_admap. pdf (2 Sept 2009) Robbins S. P. , et al. , (2001), “Organisational Behaviour”? Pearson Education Australia Pty. Ltd. , 3rd eds. Surridge M. , & Gillespie A, (2004) “AS Business Studies”, Hodder Arnold Publisher, 2nd eds. http://www. justtheplanet. com/business-travel/business-life/2007/issue-1_may-07/business-life_business-in-china_dtk. php (11 September 2009) Trompenaars, F. & Woolliams, P. (2004), “Marketing Across Cultures”, Capstone Publishing Ltd, Chichester, England ~~~~~ THE END ~~~~~

How The Mafia Works

How the Mafia Works The Mafia has controlled everything from the street corner drug trade to the highest levels of government. Glorified by movies and television, hounded by law enforcement officials, marked for death by their enemies, mobsters live violent and often brief lives. The Mafia at its core is about one thing — money. Still, there are secret rituals, complicated rules and tangled webs of family loyalty. In this article, we’ll find out how people get into the Mafia, what the Mafia does and what law enforcement agencies have done to stop them.

We’ll also learn about the important people and events that have shaped this not-so-secret society. Mafia: An Overview Today, the word “mafia” is used to refer to almost any organized crime group, and in some cases is even used to describe groups completely unrelated to crime. In this article, we will focus on the traditional meaning of “mafia”: organized criminal organizations of Italian or Sicilian heritage. In organized crime there is a hierarchy, with higher-ranking members making decisions that trickle down to the other members of the family.

The Mafia is not a single group or gang — it is made up of many families that have, at times, fought each other in bitter, bloody gang wars. At other times, they have cooperated in the interest of greater profits, sometimes even serving on a “Commission” that made major decisions affecting all the families (more on the Commission later). Most of the time, though, they simply agree to stay out of each other’s way. Mafia-dom is neither a political nor a religious affiliation.

Because of their Italian roots, many Mafioso are Catholic, but part of the oath a mobster takes when he becomes a “made man” — a member of a Mafia family — is that the Mafia comes before birth family and God. Mafia Jargon *La Cosa* Nostra – The term cosa_ nostra_, which is sometimes translated from Italian to mean “our thing,” originally referred to the general lifestyle of organized criminals in Sicily. When the Mafia moved to the United States, FBI agents listening in on wiretaps heard the term. They began using the term La Cosa Nostra (which is grammatically incorrect) to refer to the Mafia.

In time, La Cosa Nostra referred specifically to American Mafioso, differentiating them from “old world” mobsters. Omerta – Omerta is the Mafia code of silence. Made man – This is a man who has been officially inducted into a Mafia family. Capo – The capo was originally the head of a family in Sicily. Now, the capo is more like a lieutenant who serves the family boss. Family – Each individual gang within the Mafia is known as a family. Not everyone within a family is actually related to one and other, although it is common for relatives of mobsters to be inducted into the same family as their brothers or fathers.

Wiseguy – This is someone who is involved with the Mafia. *The Structure of La Cosa* Nostra The structure described below refers specifically to La Cosa Nostra. Other groups have similar structures, but they may differ in some ways. Each group is made up of several gangs, known as families. The number of families can range from fewer than 10 to more than 100. Sometimes, the emergence of a new family must be approved by the heads of other families, while in some cases a group can splinter off from another family and consolidate its power, becoming recognized as a new family over time.

Each family has separate business dealings, but the dealings of the families can intermingle to a large extent depending on their proximity to one another and the commonality of their ventures. The leader of each family is known as the boss, or don. All major decisions are made by the boss, and money made by the family ultimately flows to him. The boss’s authority is needed to resolve disputes and keep everyone in line. Just below the boss is the underboss. The underboss is the second in command, although the amount of power he wields can vary.

Some underbosses resolve disputes without involving the boss. Some are groomed to replace the boss if he is old or in danger of going to jail. Beneath the underboss are several capos. The number of capos varies depending on the overall size of the family. A capo acts like a lieutenant, leading his own section of the family. He has specific activities that he operates. The capo’s territory may be defined geographically (as in, “everything west of 14th Street belongs to Louie ‘The Key’ DiBartolo. “) or by the rackets he operates (“Alfonze ‘Big Al’ Maggioli is in charge of illegal gambling. ). The key to being a successful capo is making money. The capo keeps some of the money his rackets earn and then passes the rest up to the underboss and boss. The “dirty work” is done by the soldiers. A soldier is the lowest rank among made men. They’re part of the family, but they hold little power and make relatively little money. The number of soldiers that belong to any given capo can vary tremendously. In addition to soldiers, the Mafia will use associates. Associates are not actual members of the Mafia, but they work with Mafia soldiers and capos on various criminal enterprises.

An associate is simply someone who works with the mob, including anyone from a burglar or drug dealer to a lawyer, investment banker, police officer or politician. There is one other position within the family that is somewhat legendary — the consigliere. The consigliere is not supposed to be part of the family’s hierarchy. He is supposed to act as an advisor and make impartial decisions based on fairness rather than personal feelings or vendettas. This position is meant to elected by the members of the family, rather than appointed by the boss.

In reality, consiglieres are sometimes appointed and are not always impartial. Mafia Divisions The Mafia is not an actual organization itself. There is no head of the Mafia. Instead, the word Mafia is an umbrella term that refers to any of several groups of gangsters who can trace their roots to Italy or Sicily. In broad terms, there are five Mafia groups, defined mainly by the regions they operate in or the regions they originated in. All five groups have their hands in criminal operations that span the globe and have set up operatives in many different nations.

The Sicilian Mafia originated on the island of Sicily. The Camorra Mafia began in Naples, and the Calabrian* Mafia** originated in Italy’s Calabrian region. The **Sacra Corona *Unita is a more recent group based in the Puglia region of Italy. Finally, La *Cosa* Nostra is the American Mafia, although this group can trace its history back to Sicilian families as well as some of the other Italian groups. There isn’t a clear naming convention when it comes to Mafia families. Early families were named after the region or town in Italy where they came from.

Sometimes, the name of the family would change to the name of the boss, especially if he was a powerful or long-standing boss. The five main New York City families had their names set semi-permanently by the testimony of informer Joe Valachi before a Senate subcommittee in 1962 and 1963. The families were named for the current bosses, although in one case, it was an earlier, more powerful boss whose name would be used. These five families were the Bonanno, Genovese, Gambino, Luchese and Profaci. The Profaci family was taken over by Joseph Colombo a few years later, and he became so famous that the family is now known as the Colombo family.

The same thing nearly happened to the Gambino family when it was taken over by John Gotti — but before it became the Gotti family, Gotti was arrested and convicted of racketeering and murder, based largely on the testimony of Mafia traitor Sammy “The Bull” Gravano. Most of the other U. S. families are simply named for the city they operate in. Thus, you have the Philadelphia family, the Buffalo family, the Cleveland family and so on. Mafia Induction The details of a Mafia induction ceremony were a carefully kept secret for decades.

But in the early 1960s, Joe Valachi’s testimony before a Senate subcommittee shined a spotlight on the mob. The Mafia induction described here is the ceremony conducted by the Sicilian Mafia as well as most American Mafia families. Circumstances can alter some of the details of the ceremony, such as an induction in prison or a quick induction during a gang war. First, the potential gangster is told simply to “dress up” or “get dressed. ” He is taken to a private place and seated at a long table, right next to the boss. Other Mafioso who are present will join hands and recite oaths and promises of loyalty.

The inductee must then hold a burning piece of paper. In some families, the new soldier is paired with a more experienced mobster who will act as his “godfather,” guiding him into Mafia life. The inductee must promise that he will be a member of the family for life, and then a drop of blood is drawn from his trigger finger. It takes more than just an oath and a drop of blood to get into the Mafia, however. Only men of Italian heritage are allowed in. In some families, both parents must be Italian, while some only require an Italian father.

The prospective mobster must also show a penchant for making money or at the very least a willingness to commit acts of violence when ordered to. Usually, the criminal must pass a test before he will be considered for induction, and this test is commonly rumored to be some sort of participation in an act of murder. There is one last obstacle that some mobsters face when they try to become made men — the Commission. In the 1920s and ’30s, the Mafia families in the United States were almost constantly at war with one another. They would often recruit new soldiers by the dozens so rival families wouldn’t recognize them as enemies.

These new recruits could easily approach members of other families and assassinate them. To put a stop to this, the Commission began requiring all the families to make a list of their prospective members and circulate the list among the other families. In addition to eliminating unrecognizable family members, this also allowed the bosses to weed out prospectives that other families had problems with. If those prospectives became made men, individual disagreements could grow into violent wars between families. Mafia Activities The ultimate point of the Mafia is to make money.

Families use a variety of activities to accomplish this. One of the most common is also one of the simplest — extortion. Extortion is forcing people to give up their money by threatening them in some way. Mafia “protection rackets” are extortion schemes. They tell a shop owner that she needs to pay them $100 a week so they can “protect” her from criminals who might demolish the shop or hurt her family — the implication being that the Mafia members themselves are these criminals. The Mafia makes money by participating in virtually any activity that is illegal.

Illegal goods are expensive, untaxed and unregulated. Over the years, mobsters have dealt in alcohol during Prohibition, illegal drugs, prostitution and illegal gambling. Sometimes, burglaries and muggings generate income, but the capos know that their activities need a grander scale to ensure maximum profit. This is why they hijack trucks and unload entire shipments of stolen goods. Another method used by Mafioso is to pay off truck drivers or dock workers, who will “misplace” crates and shipments that later end up in Mafia hands.

The stolen goods could be anything from stereo equipment to women’s clothing (a favorite of John Gotti early in his career). One of the most notorious Mafia schemes was the infiltration of labor unions. For several decades, it is believed that every major construction project in New York City was controlled by the Mafia. Mobsters paid off or threatened union leaders to get a piece of the action whenever a union group got a construction job, and they sometimes made their way into the ranks of leadership themselves. And once the Mafia had its grip firmly on a union, it could control an entire industry.

Mafioso could get workers to slow or halt construction if contractors or developers didn’t make the right payoffs, and they had access to huge union pension funds. At one point, the Mafia could have brought nearly all construction and shipping in the United States to a halt. But the last 20 years have seen the federal government crack down on Mafia-union connections to a great extent. The current structure of the Mafia took centuries to develop. To learn about the history of the mafia and to see how law enforcement has dealt with organized crime over the years, read on.

History The current structure of the Mafia took centuries to develop. It all began on the island of Sicily. Although there are major organized crime groups from other parts of Italy, the Sicilian Mafia is generally considered to be the blueprint for all other Mafia organizations. Several unique factors contributed to the development of organized crime on Sicily. The island is located at an easily accessible and strategically important place in the Mediterranean Sea. As a result, Sicily was invaded, conquered and occupied by hostile forces many times.

This led to an overall distrust of central authority and codified legal systems. The family, rather than the state, became the focus of Sicilian life, and disputes were settled through a system in which punishment was dealt beyond the limits of the law. In the 19th century, the European feudal system finally collapsed in Sicily. With no real government or functioning authority of any kind, the island quickly descended into lawlessness. Certain landowners and other powerful men began to build reputations and eventually came to be seen as local leaders. They were known as capos.

The capos used their power to extract tributes from farmers under their authority (much like the feudal lords before them). Their authority was enforced through the threat of violence. Their criminal activities were never reported, even by the victims, because of the fear of reprisal. This was the beginning of the Sicilian Mafia. The Development of the Mafia Several elements of Mafia life that have lasted for centuries first developed during the transition from a feudal to a modern form of government in Sicily. The phrase cosa_ nostra_ — “our way” — was used to describe the lifestyle of a Mafioso in Sicily.

The shroud of secrecy that surrounded Mafia activities in Sicily became known as omerta, the code of silence. Mafia bosses used this code to protect themselves from the activities of the criminals below them in the organization. The practice of recruiting young boys into the Mafia, culminating with a final test, also stems from Sicily. In the early 1900s, organized crime had so thoroughly infiltrated Sicilian life that it was virtually impossible to avoid contact with the Mafia. Dictator Benito Mussolini cracked down on the Mafia using harsh, often brutal methods.

But when U. S. troops occupied Sicily during World War II, they mistook the many jailed criminals for political prisoners and not only set them free, but also appointed many of them as mayors and police chiefs. Before long, the Mafia had a firm grasp on Italy’s Christian Democrat party. In the postwar years, the various competing Sicilian families realized that their constant fighting was costing them money. They called a ceasefire and formed a group called the Cupola that would oversee the operations of all the families and approve all major enterprises and assassinations.

A similar system would be put in place by the American families in the 1950s. While these committees did succeed in stifling gang wars for a time, they also left the bosses vulnerable to prosecution because with the Cupola in place, bosses personally approved murders. The fight against the Sicilian Mafia came to a head in the 1980s. Two very prominent government prosecutors who had done a lot of damage to the Mafia were assassinated in bombings. The public was outraged, and the government eventually responded with the so-called Maxi trial.

More than 400 Mafioso were tried in a specially built bunker. Large cells in the back of the courtroom held the defendants, who would often scream and threaten witnesses as the trial went on. Ultimately, 338 were found guilty. This wasn’t enough to stamp out Sicily’s Mafia, however. In 1992, the Italian government sent 7,000 military troops to Sicily. They occupied the island until 1998. The Sicilian Mafia still exists today and is still active, but it is quieter and less violent. In the next section, we’ll see how the Mafia came to the United States. American Mafia

Sicilians and other Italians began immigrating to the United States in the 1800s, but a major wave of them arrived on American shores early in the 20th century. While the vast majority of them worked hard at building a new life for their family through legal means, some of them brought the ways of the Sicilian Mafia with them. The first major Mafia incident occurred in New Orleans in the 1890s. A Sicilian crime family was pressured by the local chief of police, who was then murdered. When the mobsters were tried, they bribed witnesses and were acquitted. Anti-Italian fervor erupted, and a lynch mob went to the jailhouse.

The mob shot or hanged 16 men. Mafia families spread through the country in the first half of the 20th century, emanating from New York City, where five families vied for control. The era of Prohibition poured vast amounts of money into Mafia coffers as they sold illegal alcohol in speakeasies around the country. Their power during this period grew exponentially, and wars between the families broke out. There was an epidemic of Mafia violence in the early 1930s — bosses and underbosses were assassinated regularly, with few bosses ruling their families for more than a few months before they got killed.

The Luchese family went through three or four bosses in 1930 alone. In the middle of this bloodbath (and helping to orchestrate much of it) was a mobster named Charles “Lucky” Luciano. Luciano attained a position of great power throughout La Cosa Nostra, and he threw his support behind an idea that had been floating around for some time — the formation of a multi-family commission that would approve Mafia activities nationwide. The Commission A meeting in Chicago cemented the formation of a multi-family Mafia committee.

The seven-member Commission was initially made up of bosses from the five New York families along with Al Capone from Chicago and Stefano Maggaddino of the Buffalo family. The Commission members acted like senators for other families, bringing their concerns to the attention of the rest of the Commission. For example, the families in cities on the west coast were almost all represented by the Chicago boss. Large scale money-making activities, as well as murders and kidnappings, had to be approved by the Commission.

Commission membership was determined at national Mafia meetings that were held every five years. One of these meetings was the scene of a famous event in Mafia history — the Apalachin Raid. On November 14, 1957, bosses (dons) from across the country met at a tiny town in New York State, near the Pennsylvania border. A suspicious state trooper led the raid and brought 58 mobsters into the spotlight — and in many cases, brought them to trial. While the raid struck a serious blow to the Mafia, it had a more profound effect.

The American public could no longer deny that the Mafia existed. Since its formation, the Commission has shrunk — some families have fallen out of power and no longer send representatives. Today, it is rumored to still exist, but mainly on the east coast, and it is nowhere near as powerful as it was in Lucky Luciano’s day. The Kennedy Rumors Rumors of ties between the Kennedys and the Mafia go back to John F. Kennedy’s father, Joe Kennedy, who reportedly earned much of the family fortune as bootlegger and had connections to mobsters like Meyer Lansky.

When JFK faced Hubert Humphrey in the Democratic primary in 1960, many claimed that the Kennedy clan called on their mob connections to ensure a favorable vote, and similar accusations were made during the presidential election against Richard Nixon, which Kennedy won by a slim margin. Several theories tie JFK’s assassination to the Mafia. Jack Ruby, the man who murdered Lee Harvey Oswald (JFK’s accused assassin), was a known mob associate. One theory attributes motive to the Mafia through the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

The Mafia reportedly hated that Cuba was in the hands of Fidel Castro, who had thrown them out of their lucrative Cuban casino businesses when he came to power. The invasion was an utter failure attributed by some to Kennedy’s refusal to approve air support. Another theory points to JFK’s brother, Robert, whom JFK appointed to the position of attorney general after he was elected president. Once appointed, Robert Kennedy immediately began a Mafia crackdown. Robert also died from an assassin’s bullet. Vegas and the Mafia

La Cosa Nostra had always been involved in gambling, from numbers games to sports betting. They operated luxurious, illegal casinos through the United States, bribing local police officers to look the other way. When Nevada legalized gambling in 1931, mobsters were not the first ones to see the opportunity. The famous Strip was already developing, and a few fancy hotel/casinos were already in place by the time the Mafia arrived. When they did arrive, it wasn’t the usual suspects. Instead, many of the early Vegas casinos were financed by Jewish mobsters like Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky.

It cost a lot of money to build casinos, and these men offered shady loans to prospective developers. Some of these loans happened out in the open, with the mob-controlled Teamsters union using its pension fund to finance casino and hotel construction projects. This stopped in 1975, when federal officials took notice. Casinos generate huge profits on their own, so it didn’t take much creativity on the part of the wiseguys to figure out a way to get their cut. They skimmed cash from casinos they partly owned or simply extorted payoffs from casino managers.

Many mob bosses were “business partners” with casino owners, whether the owners wanted them as partners or not. Since the 1970s, the government has been very strict about keeping the mob out of the Vegas casinos. Today, it is believed that the major casinos are not influenced by the Mafia, and any hint of an organized crime connection is enough for a casino to lose its gambling license. Fighting the Mafia: Law One of the government’s most important tools in the fight against organized crime is RICO.

RICO isn’t a mob informant — it’s a law, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1961-1968. It was passed in 1970 specifically to help fight the Mafia. It does this by allowing prosecutors to go after entire organizations. Racketeering (a crime that was invented with the law and is based on the word for Mafia schemes, or “rackets”) is making money through an unlawful enterprise that shows a pattern of such illegal moneymaking activity. Almost any felony falls under racketeering; two or more such crimes must take place with a 15-year period for a conviction to occur.

The result is extra jail time if multiple crimes are committed in pursuit of the same general scheme — that is, bribing a union representative, murdering an uncooperative business owner and extorting money from construction contractors add up to racketeering, a designation that adds decades to the bribery, murder and extortion sentences. Furthermore, members of the criminal enterprise can be prosecuted for racketeering even if they weren’t specifically involved in individual crimes. This removed one of the most common defense tactics of Mafia dons — sending low-level criminals to commit the actual crimes so they could never be prosecuted.

Today, RICO has been used by civil attorneys to get large lawsuit awards from corporations and other groups and is used less and less against organized crime. Fighting the Mafia: Undercover For legal officials to arrest and prosecute organized criminals, they need to find out what’s going on in the organization. They can bust drug dealers or truck hijackers, but the family will just find new ones. They need to reach the top to really crack a family. And the best way to do that is by sending someone into the family undercover. In an interview for the Web site Mafia-International. om, Pistone described how he became an undercover agent: I grew up around wiseguys on the streets of Paterson, New Jersey, but I never got involved with them. I always worked all kinds of blue-collar jobs: in construction, in bars, driving tractor trailers. So before I went to college, I saw a lot of things and learned a lot. My first government job was with the Office of Naval Intelligence, investigating drug, theft, and espionage cases. I passed the FBI’s entrance exams and became a special agent in 1969. Because of my background and training it became clear that my specialty was undercover.

Pistone was so effective that even when the operation put dozens of mobsters behind bars, his Mafia friends still thought he was a mobster-turned-informant, rather than an actual FBI agent. His story was made into the film “Donnie Brasco. ” Undercover work continues to be an important part of the FBI’s fight against the mob. A sting orchestrated by an undercover agent in Cleveland netted more than 40 corrupt cops in 1998. However, you will never hear of most undercover work — the very nature of the job means that undercover agents use assumed names, refuse to be photographed and hide their very existence from the public eye.