Gypsies are notorious for relying more on parasitic strategies than perhaps any other ethnic group of any substantial size. Banditry, welfare, whatever. Part of their way of life looks like a typical pastoralist / nomadic culture of honor, but it is so exaggerated in Gypsies -- way beyond the Bedouin, the Mongols, and the Hatfields and the McCoys.
What selection pressures could have led to their uniquely parasitic way of life? There's a post at West Hunter on the topic of sneaking embarrassing truths about Gypsies into the mainstream media. In the comments sections, I floated this possible explanation. Read the whole comment, the reference, and get into the broader discussion over there.
Briefly, the Ottoman Empire forced multiculturalism on a large part of southeastern Europe, which has always been the main region of Gypsy settlement. Ordinarily, a group that preyed so brazenly and so frequently on a host population would have gotten slaughtered centuries ago if they were sedentary and couldn't flee their attackers.
Or if they were nomadic, they would still have been reduced to "mere" occasional predation like the kind visited upon settled folk by desert Arabs, Mongols, or Irish highwaymen. And before any of those groups organized themselves into a national force -- just everyday opportunistic preying on people who can't chase after you without exhausting their resources, while you know how to live on the move.
The Ottoman Empire blocked that natural response by the host populations by denying them the right to take care of their own business. Only the Ottoman higher-ups could dispense justice, and they were not very interested in it. They just wanted tax money, and group vs. group feuds and conflicts get in the way of that steady stream of money. So, use your control and force to prevent the preyed-upon group from chastening their predators, and the money will just keep flowing in.
Westerners mistakenly believe that we live in some Brave New World of government-enforced multiculturalism. But the historical examples are pretty clear for those who are curious about others who've walked in our shoes before. Or I guess we're re-treading the path that they laid down. Liberals ignore these examples because the results are a damning indictment of the forced multiculturalism that they champion. And conservatives are too damn lunk-headed and incurious to feel like putting themselves in another group's place, even if it's similar to our own in some very important way, even if the outcome of the cross-cultural mind-meld would give them some ammunition against liberals.
One thing's clear: the longer we have forced multiculturalism, the more intensely one group preys on another group within the vibrantly diverse mix, and the more the preyed-upon group is prevented (by threat of force) from retaliating on their predators, the more likely we are to set the perfect lab conditions for the evolution of Gypsies v.2.0. But just like the Ottoman pasha and his elite, our rulers won't have to live next door to them and be preyed on, so only an overthrow of the entire regime would bring the parasitism down to the "ordinary" level you find among other nomadic bandit groups.
....Very interesting times lie ahead, that's for sure.