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Cultural Note: Mafia
The Sicilian Mafia (also known as Cosa Nostra) underwent a period of great development after World War II, creating an alternative power base that was partly complementary to that of the State. Starting off in illegal activities such as extortion and money-lending, it then took control of the construction industry and the allocation of public contracts, finally taking over drug trafficking, which brought it massive income. The power of the Mafia is all concentrated at the top (a strict hierarchy of families) and it is distinguished by its strong ties to and complicity with the people with political power.
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