Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Stop Corruption, Sure, But...

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Jul 05, 2006

Re: When 'The Law' Means 'Corruption'

This was an interesting article, well written, and with far fewer flaws than TCS's usual fare.

It makes some points most people would accept - that there is corruption in the developing world, for example, and that there shouldn't be.

But it's quite a leap from this to the assertion that foreign aid should be terminated and that the United Nations should be shipped to Geneva.

Even if it is true that the U.S. has spent "trillions" on foreign aid, it has not been shown that this money was all wasted on corruption. Indeed, it is arguable that the vast bulk of it was actually spent as intended!

Moreover, the author hasn't shown that the bulk of the payments to corrupt officials originate from foreign aid or U.N. programs.

And in fact, the bulk of corruption comes from the very class least discussed in the article: the network of business, including U.S. based businesses, paying bribes to officials to ensure a friendly political and economic environment.

If there is any source of corruption equal to that conducted by the business community, it is that conducted by the U.S. government itself, which offers its client governments in other countries military support and secret bank accounts with which they may maintain their hold on power.

The author has a lot to say about corruption in the Philippines and Indonesia, but doesn't mention that these countries lived under dictatorships supported largely through American kickbacks and payments.

The author writes, "most American government and business officials hate corruption and would be delighted to expose the miscreants if there was a safe way to do it."

This would be nice were it true. But there's no evidence to support this contention, and with examples like Enron and Haliburton leading the way, plenty of evidence to the contrary.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

Copyright 2024
Last Updated: Jul 21, 2024 05:18 a.m.

Canadian Flag Creative Commons License.