by Dennis Yang
Tue, Jan 15th 2008 10:49am
One of the Sicilian Mafia's oldest and most steady revenue streams, protection money, called "pizzo" in Italian, is now at risk a new website that now provides extorted businessmen the support with which to stand up to the mob. Traditionally considered a death sentence to stand up to the Sicilian Mafia, Addiopizzo.org, which means "Goodbye Pizzo," voluntarily lists 230 businesses who openly defy the payment to the Mafia. There is safety in numbers, and the tide of pizzo payments is indeed starting to turn. Perhaps what the website organizers should offer next is the ability for the pizzo-paying business owners to list what they are each paying for "protection." That way, perhaps they can lend some transparency to the Mafia's business. After all, why pay 500 euros a month if your neighbor is only paying 100 euros a month for his "I-hope-nothing-bad-happens-to-you" policy? Or, perhaps, once again, the web has brought an end to an outdated business model, and the Sicilian Mafia needs to adapt with the times. From spam to porn to gambling, the Internet is rife with shady schemes in which the well-organized gangster can participate.
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