By Peter T. Leeson, BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism at George Mason University.
Gypsies believe that the lower half of the human body is invisibly polluted, that supernatural defilement is supernaturally contagious, and that non-Gypsies are spiritually toxic.
Far from irrational, these superstitions are central to Gypsies’ system of social order. Gypsies can’t rely on government-created legal institutions to support cooperation between them. Many of their economic and social relationships are unrecognized or illegal according to state law. Yet Gypsies’ need for law and order is as strong as anyone else’s.