"There is an entire, second global economy - built on vice.
It was imagined in 1918 and first constructed in 1920 - only to solidify by 1934, and grow.
It is not taxed.
The mob doesn't spend money to make money. They steal and extort.
They don't invest. They launder."
(Lincoln's Bible on Twitter)
I've been following "Lincoln's Bible's" tweets on Twitter for a long time and I find him persuasive, in fact, his is the only explanation that really makes sense to me -- except that it doesn't. I have these questions:
What IS vice? Is it what a conforming society with stigmas says it is? Or is it criminal? When a crime becomes accepted -- let's say sex without marriage -- is it no longer a vice? No one is prosecuted for it, though people are bribed not to talk about it. Whether or not it is stigmatized depends on what your sub-culture is. We used to say that clergy would not do such a thing, but we know they do and always have, in spite of being living examples of how to live not just legally but also morally. Is the line not to cross then forced sex with children? But it is only a "crime" instead of a privilege hidden by secrecy when someone is motivated to oppose and charge it as crime. Some will even argue against stigmatizing it -- maybe the force part. It mostly goes unprosecuted.
This "second global economy" is built around illegal acts, power and secrecy. Extortion, blackmail, protection rackets, gambling, and so on. The people who participate are motivated by money but they don't live that differently from the rest of us -- no palaces with privileged plumbing, high end cars driven on our same potholed streets, the same movies, etc. Their elevated power is demonstrated by money, which some entities spend a lot of time trying to measure.
What IS money? It's just bookkeeping. It's cumulative markers. If it were real, it could not be "laundered". Even if the bookkeeping disguises it as profits from flipping high end properties, it can be "dirtied" again. The whole point of a permanent record is that it never goes away and so it can always be traced back, especially now that transactions are by computer. Why is bookkeeping so important? Why does money have to be "hidden" in little niches? This is why they never "invest", except that they DO. Except only in their own hidden economy to avoid taxes.
It's in the crossover between two economies, one secret and one at least semi-public and recorded, which is necessary for laundering, that makes the process problematic. If laundering is done by buying property, all the primary law enforcing economy has to do is seize the property.
But "seize" implies more than bookkeeping. It involves force and that implies violence. So when laundering goes wrong, it becomes violent. People get killed. This used to be more straightforward. In 1918, just after war, there were weapons and explosives. Now those make a lot of trouble, so in some places the preference is for poison, which can look like something else hard to investigate, or maybe suicide. Open windows on high-numbered stories.
In countries where despots rule finally leaves enforcement for the sake of money, power becomes something flesh-based: torture. No need for guns when ropes and racks will do. I won't describe what Syria does to thousands for no immediate reason except to intimidate the country. We do it ourselves whenever we have a chance to round up and confine people. Temperature and exposure and rape and starvation.
Shortage of money. Prevention from the means of getting money for basic life. That does a good job of intimidating society. Take the control of women's bodies into the hands (sometimes literally) of men and then take the children to be raised en masse. Relegate the media to people who make movies and run TV channels that make vice seem normal, or at least far more interesting than ordinary life. None of this is Mafia. it's the primary government we elect.
The next jump after 1918 is 1934, the year after Prohibition was repealed. 1929 -1939 was the decade of the Great Depression. These two government enacted disasters were two great examples of the failure of the Rule of Law. In the first instance, it was the impossibility of legislating what people actually want, even if the effect is destruction -- as is true of alcohol and drugs. In the second case, it was proof that the stockmarket is simply gambling, disguised as bingo. It is this lottery stockmarket and the baloney belief that ordinary people can get rich by betting on it that makes them want Trump. They have the idea that he knows how to exploit it and that he is making the "value" of their shares go up.
When it recently become obvious that he does NOT, that he is NOT rich, that even though he is mafia he cannot maintain a personal fortune because he exists through the toleration of people who have no limits except loyalty to each other -- not him. Then the bingo card markers say, "Well, Trump must be talented to have lost so much money. I hope I have that much money to lose someday." (An idea that makes no sense.) He says he can shoot someone in plain sight on 5th Avenue and get away with it. Evidently it doesn't occur to anyone that HE could be shot in plain sight on 5th Avenue. He is quite nervous about poison in food, which is said to be his reason for preferring generic fast food.
But Trump is trivial. To the Secondary Mafia Network, he is expendable, a flat tin shooting gallery version for people with pellet guns at the country fair. He's not healthy, his clothes are not elegant, his marriages are not faithful, he's too vain to keep from looking ridiculous with his clownish version of hair. His eyes become more reptilian and his mouth looks more fish-puckered every day. His mind is going. He hates living in the White House. He can't keep his wives happy or his children controlled. Some people think he wants to impeached and they may be right. That's one way to leave Mafia control without being a traitor.
He himself must do what he's told. When he leaves office, he cannot be laundered. Nor can he launder for others. There will be no use for him and no place for him.