I had a friend, now deceased, who was experienced in intelligence. His view was that democracy is actually safeguarded by a balance between "the armed criminals inside government and the armed criminals outside government."
In totalitarian societies there is no organized crime and the only power center is government. But a government also has to be strong enough so that the armed criminals outside of government don't take over government. The ideal is a standoff that prevents any armed group from dominating.
This post is interesting in that light.
One of the world’s leading experts in the Mafia, Roberto Saviano, has claimed that Capitalism relies on vast global criminal networks to thrive. They are actually part of the same system, the legal and the illegal worlds are increasingly merging.The London Economic