London Review of Books

"There is a political logic: involving others in criminality binds them to the regime, compelling loyalty; mass clientelism – rewarding supporters with patronage – tends towards mass allegiance. And threatening those who may not support populist rule with losing jobs or benefits solves the problem of how to exert control over a society without too much direct repression. Such dynamics are what the sociologist Bálint Magyar has in mind when he refers to the rise of a ‘mafia state’ in Hungary. He isn’t talking about envelopes full of cash changing hands under the table, but the use of state structures and legal means for corrupt ends. A remarkable number of government contracts, for example, are awarded to an uncontested bidder. Mafia states are controlled by what Magyar calls ‘political families’. Since violating norms compromises members of the political family, they have to stick together for mutual protection, which helps establish reliability and trust – a defining feature of the original form of the mafia."
Reviewed book: 
Bálint Magyar
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