BOOKS

The Mafia in Naples

Jan 10th 2008
From The Economist print edition


CONVENTIONAL wisdom has it that Italy’s economy is failing, in part because it cannot produce corporations big enough to compete internationally. “Gomorrah” is a useful corrective to that view.

Roberto Saviano demonstrates that the Camorra, the Naples Mafia which provides the word-play for his book’s title, is doing just fine in the globalised economy. Once a web of mobsters whose most international activity was smuggling cigarettes, the Camorra eases uninspected Chinese goods into Europe and provides loans at usurious rates to the sweatshops that produce many of the elegant garments Italy sells abroad. It imports arms from eastern Europe and exports them to Basque guerrillas. Its various clans launder money through businesses scattered from Taiwan to Brno, from Miami Beach, Florida, to Five Dock, New South Wales.

 

Gomorrah: A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples’ Organized Crime System.
By Roberto Saviano. Translated by Virginia Jewiss.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 320 pages; $25.
Macmillan; £16.99