Here's the abstract for a paper I'll be writing later this semester:

Conventional wisdom considers governments both necessary and justified, while organized crime syndicates – mafias – are considered both unnecessary and unjustified. This paper will challenge these assumptions, by discussing the functional and justificatory similarities between the mafia and the state; namely, that the social contract justifications for government fail, and that the mafia reduces transaction costs by acting as “a chamber of commerce or better business bureau for the criminal market.” Following the initial theoretical arguments, this paper will discuss contemporary empirical examples. Finally, an analysis of both Exit and Voice in mafia and government will serve as a basis for prescriptive recommendations.

Some possible locations to be used as empirical evidence include Sicily, Brazil, Russia and Somalia. If anyone has any interesting articles related to this topic, academic or otherwise, please send them my way.

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What's the dif? Micha is

What's the dif?
Micha is writing a paper about the difference between government and a mafia syndicate, at least in a few senses. That's one of the things I loved when I read The Godfather. The entire system of the mafia, the traditions...

Micha, Here's a couple of


Here's a couple of links that are interesting reads that you may or may not have seen:

Good luck with your paper.

Thanks, Michi, I'll check

Thanks, Michi, I'll check 'em out.

[...] Are really just the

[...] Are really just the same, suggests this animated short, which buttresses the thesis of Micha’s upcoming paper with funny images and a catchy song. While I think it was me [...]

What's The Dif? Micha

What's The Dif?
Micha Ghertner notes:The line between government and mafia grows ever smaller, if it ever existed at all.Well, one difference might be that governments often persuade their citizens that voting for the top dog makes it all legitimate. I'm looking forw...