The Issue of Homo Homini Lupus and The Italian Mafia

Everyone is familiar with the Mafia: a disease that has plagued Italy for generations and claimed countless lives. From the years of terrorism to the State-Mafia negotiations: it is a cultural process that has transformed, gaining certain traits and losing others. The Mafia model has found fertile ground in practically every corner of the world, bringing back similar characteristics; this is part of a collective narrative of customs, initiation ceremonies, and local complicity that has seen organised crime grow beyond Italian boundaries. The hierarchical structure is one illustration. Between superiors and subordinates, power is articulated and extends to the common people and the irate.

In a delirium of power, the mafioso imposes his law on others who are perceived as being weaker. By using threats, the mafia clan keeps people quiet. The situation is similar to the one of a dog biting its tail because the abused is afraid of the people who have to put up with it. It has a name: omertà, described as a code of silence demanding extreme loyalty, as described by Laurence Peter in the article “Italian mafia: How crime families went global.” According to the Europol Mafia-Structured Organised Crime Groups study, the Italian mafias’ dominance comes from land and societal control and exploitation. The core ideas of family, power, respect, and territory are necessary to comprehend mafia  dynamics. Even in locations remote from the regions they govern, they can rig elections and put their preferred candidates in power The criminal activities of these organisations include large-scale drug trafficking and money laundering. But they are also involved in toxic waste traffic, counterfeiting of money and other items, and corruption. Illicit enterprises that manufacture goods and services at a loss, as part of a long-term plan to conquer the market, pose a serious threat to any legitimate company. As a result, mafia groups have expanded their presence into regions of Italy and Europe that have not historically been impacted by organised crime. This development could ultimately have a detrimental impact on the EU economy.

The Mafia can be used as an illustration of Plautus’ “homo homini lupus.”:  because those who participate in it make decisions based on survival, the mafia problem is systematic and impossible to solve. Beneath organised crime, there is a much more significant issue: citizens’ lack of trust in the res publica, or public good. This is why the Mafia aroused so much debate during the Italian Unification period (1846-1871), as a portion of the Italian people was duped by those who had promised a stronger and more cohesive nation.

Hobbes’s observation–that people have an egocentric nature and reason irrationally and intuitively–is also significant. Humans immediately perceive the other as either a threat or a means of self-realisation when they come into contact, and they overpower the other by forcing a power relationship beneficial to themselves. Even though we are social creatures, our need for one another should cease to only be satisfied by taking advantage of the other’s weakness to survive.

When will “homo” stop being “homini lupus” is the central question and solution. The ability of judicial  authorities to work together effectively is crucial for the fight against these criminal organisations, which profit from the financialisation of the economy and the globalisation of licit and illicit markets.

The National Anti-Mafia Directorate’s procedures and the development of a European Public Prosecutor’s Office are of great importance. Additionally, more anti-mafia awareness is needed internationally, even from nations thus far unaffected this problem. This includes more uniform legislation, starting with that of the European Union’s member states, particularly regarding investigations into the illicit origins of money and asset prevention measures. Due to poverty or lack of employment options, many people may be exposed to mafia recruiting. The allure of joining a mafia gang can be diminished by offering support such as job training or other aid. Building a society that rejects violence and crime can be aided by educating citizens about the negative effects of mafia activity and the positive effects of peaceful conflict resolution. Encouraging people with knowledge of mafia activities to come forward and report can aid in the dismantling of criminal organisations and the prosecution of those responsible.