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ORGANIZED CRIME AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP

NCJ Number
49083
Journal
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY AND PENOLOGY Volume: 6 Issue: 2 Dated: (MAY 1978) Pages: 161-177
Author(s)
D C SMITH
Date Published
1978
Length
17 pages
Annotation
A THEORY OF ORGANIZED CRIME AS ILLICIT ENTREPRENEURSHIP WHICH FOLLOWS THE PATTERNS OF NONPROSCRIBED BUSINESS ORGANIZATION IS PRESENTED AND CONTRASTED WITH TRADITIONAL ANALYSES OF ORGANIZED CRIME.
Abstract
THE FAILURE OF TRADITIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT TACTICS THAT FOCUS ON SOLITARY INDIVIDUALS ALONG WITH INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS AND NEWS ACCOUNTS LED TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF A BODY OF DOCTRINE WHICH HELD THAT ORGANIZED CRIME WAS THE PRODUCT OF A SECRET ITALIAN-AMERICAN CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY COMMITTED TO CRIME AND AN ALIEN PHILOSOPHY OF SOCIAL CONDUCT WHOSE BY-PRODUCTS WERE LAWLESSNESS, DISHONESTY, AND IMMORALITY. THIS IN TURN LED TO THE ASSUMPTION THAT ORGANIZED CRIME AS A SOCIAL MENACE COULD BE ERASED BY ELIMINATING THE PERSONS AND ORGANIZATIONS ENGAGED IN PURVEYING ILLEGAL PRODUCTS. THE SUBSEQUENT CRIME CONTROL CAMPAIGN HAS IN GENERAL BEEN A SIGNIFICANT SOCIAL FAILURE. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THIS MAY BE ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE ERRONEOUS ASSUMPTION OF MAFIA-TYPE MODELS OF ORGANIZED CRIME. ORGANIZED CRIMES ARE NOT SIMPLY VICE CRIMES, NOR ARE THEY PART OF A DEEPER CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY OR A MEANS FOR ETHNIC GROUPS TO ACHIEVE OTHERWISE UNATTAINABLE SUCCESS GOALS. THEY ARE RATHER ENTREPRENEURIAL, AND ALTHOUGH THEY INVOLVE LAW-BREAKING ACTIVITY, THEY ARE PRIMARILY AN EXTENSION OF LEGITIMATE MARKETPLACE ACTIVITIES INTO PROSCRIBED AREAS. A SERIES OF 13 THEOREMS DRAWN FROM CONVENTIONAL ORGANIZATIONAL THEORY ARE PRESENTED AS A BASIS FOR REINTERPRETING ORGANIZED CRIME IN TERMS OF MARKETPLACE AND ORGANIZATIONAL DYNAMICS. THUS ILLICIT ENTERPRISE VIEWS ORGANIZED CRIME AS THE EXTENSION OF LEGITIMATE MARKET ACTIVITIES INTO ILLICIT AREAS FOR THE PURSUIT OF PROFIT AND IN RESPONSE TO LATENT ILLICIT DEMAND. FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE THE LOAN SHARK IS AN ENTERPRENEUR IN THE BANKING INDUSTRY, THE DRUG OR CIGARETTE SMUGGLER IS A WHOLESALER, THE FENCE A RETAILER, AND THE BRIBE-TAKER A POWER BROKER. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE ILLICIT ENTERPRISE PERSPECTIVE THUS OUTLINED OFFERS A MUCH BROADER CONCEPTUAL HORIZON FOR UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE OF ORGANIZED CRIME AND THE DYNAMICS OF THE MARKETPLACE WHICH NURTURE ILLICIT ENTERPRISES THAN DOES THE MAFIA-ORIENTED CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY MODEL. NOTES AND REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (JAP)