Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Talk about corruption revisited

That is how this blog began. The trouble is the major themes of corruption simply repeat themselves. Corruption is like the weather, everyone complains about it but no one does anything.

Well why would they? The people in the best position to profit from corruption are the very same people with the power to actually do something about it. Revisiting the issue wasn’t just a relapse; it was spurred on by the current United Nations conference in Bali [Indonesia] studying graft.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a managing director of the World Bank, told delegates that international institutions and the private sector must also contribute because they hold most of the $20bn-$40bn in developing country state assets stolen each year. FT

I don’t have any brief for the word Bank on issues of corruption, but there is a fundamental truth in the comment, wealthy nations drive the corruption in third world countries.

In part, as with the Soeharto family situation, western banks protect the ill-gotten gains of these despots. And why wouldn’t they? Billions of dollars need to be parked somewhere and when you control corrupt banks you are hardly going to use them for storage.

The other side of the coin is that those billions don’t come out of dodgy economies; they come out of powerful western economies. If a bribe is going to be paid it comes from someone who can afford to pay and expects a consequent gain.

Revisiting basic truths becomes bloody tedious, and given these repetitive conferences, bloody expensive. Holding the conference in one of the most corrupt countries in the world (according to Transparency International) makes a mockery out of any potential effort.

I believe it was a comic strip character called Pogo who said – “I have seen the enemy, and it is us…”


TomCat said...

wealthy nations drive the corruption in third world countries

Bingo! The super-rich, especially from the US, use their influence upon our government to abet the power of third world dictators, who then allow the super-rich to exploit their citizens in return for a share of the take.

Cart said...

I don’t want to just be US bashing Tom, though I get your meaning. The fact is all the Western economies are guilty and we all allow the corrupt multi-nationals to use our territories as a base for their greedy operations.