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(The New Yorker)   Malcolm Gladwell tells us that the Mafia were the good guys and that crime is a legitimate 'crooked ladder' to the American Dream   (newyorker.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, 6th street, Pounds per square inch, Giuseppe Lupollo, court fees, crime families, University of Pennsylvania, regulatory body, failure to appear  
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1565 clicks; posted to Geek » on 04 Aug 2014 at 10:43 PM (1 year ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-08-04 09:40:19 PM  
Behind every great fortune there is a crime. - Balzac
 
2014-08-04 09:49:53 PM  
Except for black people.

/very interesting read, if a little fragmented
 
2014-08-04 10:31:39 PM  
There is no mafia.
 
2014-08-04 10:58:13 PM  
Interesting read, but he forgot that the 5 families still exist in New York, not every member of the organization is going to take the money and go all legit,
 
2014-08-04 11:12:37 PM  
Logically, laws are largely going to be designed to be good to follow if you can, because they're for the good of society and you're part of society.  People that are criminals because they  can't make a living while following the law will, thus, typically go legit if possible once they no longer  need crime to support themselves.

Wealthy criminals, especially, have an interest in legitimizing their operations, because a lot of the law is based around protecting property and it's a lot easier to protect yours if it's legal.  This is actually one of the founding philosophical principles of democracy in general and the US in particular-- you want to set up the system so that it's better overall for crooked people to channel those corrupt tendencies into actual legal activities or make the illegal ones annoyingly unprofitable, rather than just banning shiat on moral grounds and being done with it.

This is the reason that the religious right's political positions are frustrating (prohibition, for instance, being a battle that you simply can't win according to the founders' philosophy) and also the reason why ex-convicts being unemployable is such a big chunk of our crime problem.  If they  could get a real job after serving time, most people  would.
 
2014-08-04 11:24:30 PM  
Malcolm Gladwell? Is he still a thing?
 
2014-08-04 11:44:39 PM  

aaronx: Malcolm Gladwell? Is he still a thing?


Hey, who the fark are you?
 
2014-08-04 11:49:28 PM  

aaronx: Malcolm Gladwell? Is he still a thing?


Have you heard about the guy who's predicting who will win the 2008 election?
 
2014-08-05 12:15:49 AM  
This has not prevented them and their descendants from feeling proper moral outrage when, under the changed circumstances of the crowded urban environments, latecomers pursued equally ruthless tactics.

It is a proper moral outrage. One environment is not the same as another. Start a war in a city and it quickly kills a lot more people - family wars out in the country and the hills were never that horrific and never interfered with daily life in the same way.
 
2014-08-05 12:37:52 AM  
I really like the concept of ladders.

I have one step-son who has problems with depression (his dad shot himself) and I've tried to teach him the ladders you can use to get out of the pit. His brother is more outgoing, and he sees the ladders as giving him alternatives when one of his plans falls through.

But the Crooked Ladders Gladwell is describing? True enough, but this seems a very sanitised version of the process.
 
2014-08-05 12:50:24 AM  

mjjt: I really like the concept of ladders.

I have one step-son who has problems with depression (his dad shot himself) and I've tried to teach him the ladders you can use to get out of the pit. His brother is more outgoing, and he sees the ladders as giving him alternatives when one of his plans falls through.

But the Crooked Ladders Gladwell is describing? True enough, but this seems a very sanitised version of the process.



Your last sentence  is pretty much a comprehensive summary of all of  Gladwell's writings, to date.
 
2014-08-05 12:55:05 AM  
Yeah of course he would say that crime is a legitimate way to get ahead, he's black and blacks and sicilians are predisposed to criminality
 
2014-08-05 12:56:38 AM  
For an entertaining afternoon, Google "Gladwell wrong"..
 
2014-08-05 01:02:01 AM  
Sammy the Bull threw the best rave parties southern Arizona ever saw in the late 90's up into early 00's so he could move his E pills.

We need more criminals like that one.

Oh man.
 
2014-08-05 01:34:42 AM  

studebaker hoch: Sammy the Bull threw the best rave parties southern Arizona ever saw in the late 90's up into early 00's so he could move his E pills.

We need more criminals like that one.

Oh man.


encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com

So thats who organizes raves...
 
2014-08-05 01:38:30 AM  

charlesmartel11235: Yeah of course he would say that crime is a legitimate way to get ahead, he's black and blacks and sicilians are predisposed to criminality


i58.tinypic.com
 
2014-08-05 02:28:36 AM  

Fark like a Barsoomian: This has not prevented them and their descendants from feeling proper moral outrage when, under the changed circumstances of the crowded urban environments, latecomers pursued equally ruthless tactics.

It is a proper moral outrage. One environment is not the same as another. Start a war in a city and it quickly kills a lot more people - family wars out in the country and the hills were never that horrific and never interfered with daily life in the same way.


Range wars between ranchers killed hundreds of people. They killed over grazing territory, water rights, you name it.

Not defending lawlessness anywhere, but it wasn't all idealized Americana like the Hatfields and McCoys.
 
2014-08-05 08:02:30 AM  
Gladwell is a great writer who finds thought-provoking perspectives in tired topics the way a musician sings an old standard in a slightly different way to create the sensation of something new, however temporarily.

So long as you understand that about him, you can enjoy his work. If you look for any more depth than that, however, you'll be left wanting.

He is very much in the shallow end of the pool, stirring the waters to make them seem deeper.
 
2014-08-05 08:20:29 AM  

mjjt: I really like the concept of ladders.

I have one step-son who has problems with depression (his dad shot himself) and I've tried to teach him the ladders you can use to get out of the pit. His brother is more outgoing, and he sees the ladders as giving him alternatives when one of his plans falls through.

But the Crooked Ladders Gladwell is describing? True enough, but this seems a very sanitised version of the process.


It is an abstraction, but its only applicable to immigrant groups that share the same general cultural
background as the dominant US culture.  That's why the Irish, Jews and Italians were able to climb it:
for all the prejudice the original immigrants experienced their cultures were compatible with the broader
American culture.  They are also all groups that are very family oriented, which helps cohesion.

No other ethnic criminal groups form themselves on family lines, and with the notable exception of the
Russians, they are generally non-caucasian, which further isolates them from the culture at large and
makes the crooked ladder that much less accessible.  That's why you never saw a '6th Family' arise in
Harlem back in the heyday of the Commission, even if guys like Bumpy Johnson probably could have
summoned up some respectable muscle.  It is instructive, I think, that the various hispanic drug cartels
do not have much institutional corruption here in the US, whereas in their home countries they have
at times pretty much ruled the whole political process in ways the old-time Mafia only dreamed about.
That's the crooked ladder right there, only in those cases the whole system is crooked since the drug
kingpins were just slipping into and supplanting the roles of the older Spanish Colonial aristocracy.

There is also the sad fact that the vices they deal in (drugs) are nowhere near as socially acceptable as
the vices the older gangsters were dealing in.
 
2014-08-05 08:38:41 AM  

secularsage: Gladwell is a great writer who finds thought-provoking perspectives in tired topics the way a musician sings an old standard in a slightly different way to create the sensation of something new, however temporarily.

So long as you understand that about him, you can enjoy his work. If you look for any more depth than that, however, you'll be left wanting.

He is very much in the shallow end of the pool, stirring the waters to make them seem deeper.


He writes small articles about big subjects. I suppose one could propose that such articles shouldn't be written at all - but he writes them about as well as anybody.
 
2014-08-05 09:00:37 AM  

jso2897: secularsage: Gladwell is a great writer who finds thought-provoking perspectives in tired topics the way a musician sings an old standard in a slightly different way to create the sensation of something new, however temporarily.

So long as you understand that about him, you can enjoy his work. If you look for any more depth than that, however, you'll be left wanting.

He is very much in the shallow end of the pool, stirring the waters to make them seem deeper.

He writes small articles about big subjects. I suppose one could propose that such articles shouldn't be written at all - but he writes them about as well as anybody.


He picks cherries like he's trying to break a pie record
 
2014-08-05 09:53:50 AM  

CPennypacker: jso2897: secularsage: Gladwell is a great writer who finds thought-provoking perspectives in tired topics the way a musician sings an old standard in a slightly different way to create the sensation of something new, however temporarily.

So long as you understand that about him, you can enjoy his work. If you look for any more depth than that, however, you'll be left wanting.

He is very much in the shallow end of the pool, stirring the waters to make them seem deeper.

He writes small articles about big subjects. I suppose one could propose that such articles shouldn't be written at all - but he writes them about as well as anybody.

He picks cherries like he's trying to break a pie record


Exactly. He sits around and thinks up proactive hypotheses. Then he cherry picks anecdotes to support those hypotheses. Finishes by wrapping it up in an easy to understand, entertaining manner. He's the social scientist for stupid people (or, more kindly, the less critical minds).
 
2014-08-05 09:57:45 AM  
Gladwell. Is he the writer who always seems to miss his own points?
 
2014-08-05 10:00:59 AM  
Malcolm Gladwell: Social Pseudoscientist
 
2014-08-05 10:02:04 AM  

Moopy Mac: CPennypacker: jso2897: secularsage: Gladwell is a great writer who finds thought-provoking perspectives in tired topics the way a musician sings an old standard in a slightly different way to create the sensation of something new, however temporarily.

So long as you understand that about him, you can enjoy his work. If you look for any more depth than that, however, you'll be left wanting.

He is very much in the shallow end of the pool, stirring the waters to make them seem deeper.

He writes small articles about big subjects. I suppose one could propose that such articles shouldn't be written at all - but he writes them about as well as anybody.

He picks cherries like he's trying to break a pie record

Exactly. He sits around and thinks up

proactive provocativehypotheses. Then he cherry picks anecdotes to support those hypotheses. Finishes by wrapping it up in an easy to understand, entertaining manner. He's the social scientist for stupid people (or, more kindly, the less critical minds).

FTFM.
 
2014-08-05 10:41:21 AM  
I like to think that any path to "the American dream" that requires you to kill people isn't really a good path to follow.

Crooked ladder? No. It's a cheat that relies on you harming others to get ahead due to their misery. I'll live an ethical life, thanks.
 
2014-08-05 12:20:29 PM  
i36.photobucket.com
 
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