What crimes did Al Capone, the notorious 1920s crime boss, have his henchmen commit? Did Capone’s thugs go around robbing convenience stores? Did they burglarize homes? Or lurk in the shadows and mug innocent passersby?

None of the above. Capone and his fellow kingpins of “organized crime” left high-risk, low-return illegality to the lowlife. Kingpins like Capone ran rackets instead. They sold “protection.” They loan-sharked. Most lucratively of all, they bootlegged outlawed alcohol.

Rackets like these guaranteed returns both steady and steep. Capone at one point was clearing $100,000 a week.

Racketeering, of course, is still going strong. But the getup of our contemporary racketeers has changed somewhat. Our most highly compensated racketeers today don’t wear fedoras. They fill power suits. Our top racketeers these days don’t run from the law. They run Wall Street.


3 thoughts on “Forget Al Capone — Today’s Racketeers are on Wall Street

  1. It’s funny how this has not be reported on. I didn’t realize the extent of the “racketeering” taking place in this country and all over the world. Thanks for the article!


    • You’re most welcome. Actually, many journalists have reported on Wall Street crime – most notably, Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone. The reason why most people don’t hear about it is because the bulk of cable/television news programming is controlled by a few giant media corporations whose larger interests are aligned with Wall Street. In the newsroom, incisive reporting on corporate misbehavior faces an uphill battle against self-censorship as boardroom pragmatism generally favors advertising revenue. In other words, money usually wins out over truth.


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