“Bootlegging turned a five-dollar bottle of Scotch into liquid gold. “
Organized crime, or marginally organized crime for that matter, has had many golden ages in American history. From the paisans in the late 1800s, cracking heads on the lower end of Manhattan, to Bugsy and his boys in the desert heat of Las Vegas. But no time was greater for a mobster than prohibition, when any stunad with a backyard brewery could flip a bottle of moonshine for a profit.Boardwalk Empire, HBO’s new series about Atlantic City in the 1920s, brings us back to this golden age.
The lead character, Nucky Thompson, runs the show in AC — a local politician who’s always shaking hands, kissing babies and bringing in moonshine from the north. He has the whole town on lock, and with his brother as the police commissioner, Nucky isn’t just above the law — he is the law. Dealing with the likes of Lucky Luciano, Al Capone and Arnold Rothstein, Nucky sets up his own little import business off the shores of Jersey. The only problem is, when there’s a dollar to be made, everyone wants a piece. So as Nucky deals with ambitious young soldiers trying to pull ahead, a Federal agent looking to bring him down and countless brawds to please on the nightly, he has to try to keep his bootlegging biz afloat. So, without further ado, here are lessons learned fromBoardwalk Empire.
Where There’s Demand, There’s Money
With all the derivatives, options, short sells, and futures being traded on Wall Street, the simplicity of making green is lost. InBoardwalk Empire, we see the real sharks of The Street — Nucky, Rothstein, Luciano, Capone. They all knew the No. 1 rule of investing: where there’s demand, there’s dough. Bootlegging turned a five-dollar bottle of Scotch into liquid gold. These guys made enough money selling moonshine to keep 10 goomahs in 10 different cities stocked with jewels. Thankfully, the powers that be have come to their senses on the legality of liquor, but the old rule still stands true. Who knows what that hot commodity is today? Chances are, not your broker.
Everyone Is On The Pay — Almost
There’s a thin line between a cop and a criminal. Half the guys I grew up with decided to serve and protect. The only difference between them and us is the badge. Leave the good versus evil, cowboys and Indians shtick for the playground. In some cities, especially where the mob runs the show, half the police force and city council are on the take. Atlantic City back in the day, marone, you got the chief of police making hits for the hell of it. In situations like these, crime becomes a lucrative business because, frankly, everyone makes a little something.