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In the Middle East you pay bakshis to civil servants when they have made decisions that you find favourable. Which is, of course, corruption. In the West, you award "consultancies" to civil servants when they have made decisions that you find favourable. This is entirely legal, above-board and counted as part of the gross domestic product.

Snark aside, there is little doubt that society works better for (almost) everyone when you don't have to pay kickbacks to junior civil servants like police officers and doctors simply for doing their jobs. There is also little doubt that it does nothing to deter the corruption of senior civil servants, including politicians. It just makes it slightly more sophisticated.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat May 15th, 2010 at 07:38:37 AM EST
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I think that is letting the rampant corruption of the US civil service off the hook. Yes, of course there are hypocrites who loudly condemn one form of corruption that they are not accustomed to and silently but ferociously defend the forms of corruption that they directly participate in ...

... however, although we will never "stamp out corruption" so long as its human beings in position of authority, it is possible to fight it. The problem is that it needs a political movement to drive the process to the point of institutionalizing it, and then the institutions have to be defended from being undermined on a piecemeal basis. While political movements come and go, and some are effective enough at their peak to get improved institutions established, the long boring task of defending against piecemeal undermining is not something that movements seem to be very good at.

I would say "this is similar to the history of financial system regulation and de-regulation", except in the US they are two facets of the same history, so the similarities are due to the common history.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat May 15th, 2010 at 01:14:25 PM EST
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