First medium sized and large businesses started to refuse to pay the Sicilian mafia’s informal business tax, know as the ‘pizzo’.
Reports in many of Italy’s national newspapers are giving the impression that many others are now jumping on the anti-pizzo bandwagon.
Palermo’s shopkeepers say no to the Pizzo
Palermo’s shopkeepers are starting to refuse to pay protection money to the mafia in Palermo. This change in stance has been brought about by the success of the anti-pizzo measures that have been implemented down in the the Sicilian capital according to an article on the Corriere della Sera website – Anche il piccolo commercio
ora si ribella al «pizzo» – Small businesses are now rebelling against the payment of the pizzo.
Business is Cooperating with Italy’s Police
A number of mafia bosses and their cohorts have been brought to heel, which has helped encourage others to say no to the pizzo. Many businesses have, for the first time probably, been cooperating with law enforcement authorities, resulting in names being named which has lead to large numbers of arrests.
Battles Won, but the War is Far from Over
The pizzo war is far from over yet, but battles are being won, so far without bloodshed. However, the mafia is well known for exerting its power in a ruthless and bloody manner when cornered, which means it is more than likely that there will, alas, be real casualties.
I’ve already mentioned the pizzo in another post entitled ‘The Pizzo’ , and explained that Italy’s confederation of industry was doing its best to discourage payment of this ‘fee’. It appears as though the stance of Italy’s confederation of industry is bearing fruits.
Long Term Benefits for Sicily
The reduction or, better, elimination of the mafia’s influence in Sicily will enhance the attractiveness of this beautiful Italian region to other business ventures both Italian and foreign, which up to now have been scared away by too many additional complications in addition to the already complex nature of setting up businesses in the Living Museum.
Setting Up a Business in Italy – Not Easy
Italy apparently, is at around position 65 in terms of how easy it is to set up a business. More details on this can be found in this interesting table over on the fascinating DoingBusiness.org site – the link takes you to information about Italy.
The Wisdom of Berlusconi
Mr Berlusconi has not visited this site and does not believe that the information is realistic, according to a recent blog post over at the Guardian. Of course armed with an army of lawyers and an extensive network of friends, setting up a business in Italy should be quite easy for Mr Berlusconi.
But isn’t he supposed to represent the people in what is, for now, a republic?