At the lectures I’ve given at the Zeppelin University (ZU) I’ve almost always covered social entrepreneurship, criminal entrepreneurship and the very interesting field between them.

It was always fun to discuss the differences between criminal enterprises and social enterprises and especially the questions covering a rather grey area. You might be surprised or even angered about these questions but there are some very important conclusions for police organizations, policy makers and civil society organizations fighting the mafia or Mexican drug cartels:

  • Have you ever heard of organizations which combine welfare and crime / terrorism? (What about the Italian Mafia, Hamas, Favela gangs in Rio de Janeiro or Robin Hood who is the pioneer of this hybrid business model.)
  • Why is it such a persistent phenomenon? (Nobody knows.)
  • Can you imagine that organized crime groups use social sector organizations? (There are many stories where organized crime groups use them to launder money or use laxer regulation of animal protection to misuse dogs as drugs couriers).

One of my students just submitted a seminar paper and found two interesting numbers. 15,000 people attended the funeral of Mother Teresa. 20,000 came to say good-bye to Pablo Escobar. Where does that leave us? Should civil society especially fight the societal acceptance of certain organized crime groups?

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