From my article in The Sunday Times today:
“Let me translate pizzo to ‘silent partner’, and then things will feel more familiar.
“In hushed whispers, many will admit that there are sectors of our economy that are not open to all that may be interested. And for those that are allowed in, there’s an entrance ticket. They have to have ‘silent partners’ who bring nothing to the business except the serenity that one can stay in that business without some authority or some agency somewhere finding a problem that could slow your business down or even drive it out.
“Our mafia does not need leather-jacket thugs or crass baseball bats. But it still dabbles in full-scale extortion. We are living in the shadow of our own home-grown mafia.”