Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Beats me whether Khodorkovsky is actually guilty, but …


I agree with his argument that political corruption, generally, is a vastly under-appreciated problem. (I am not quite as confident as he is, however, that nuclear weapons are soon to be a thing of the past.)

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  1. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Why do bribes and other forms of political corruption generally occur in secret here in the U.S. while societies like Russia and Mexico are so open about it? Is it simply that they are more corrupt than we are? I hesitate to believe the answer’s so simple and obvious.

    • #1
    • May 30, 2010, at 10:50 AM PDT
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  2. Ottoman Umpire Inactive
    Aaron Miller: Why do bribes and other forms of political corruption generally occur in secret here in the U.S. while societies like Russia and Mexico are so open about it?

    Somehow, American culture does indeed seem to be relatively intolerant of corruption, and it mystifies me as to how and when this happened. Americans seem truly shocked when they encounter, usually in another country, a shake down by the police or a bureaucrat.

    That said, the voters in major U.S. cities tend to cast a blind eye on what would appear to be the fruits of corruption, e.g., the mayor who couldn’t possibly afford on his salary dozens of $4,000 suits. “Yeah, he’s a scoundrel, but he’s our scoundrel.”

    • #2
    • May 31, 2010, at 2:12 AM PDT
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  3. Harlech Inactive

    See Transparency International’s global corruption perceptions index.

    • #3
    • May 31, 2010, at 6:14 AM PDT
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  4. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    Harlech, in the second link I discuss the CPI and some of the methodological problems with it. I like Transparency International, but the issue needs some fresh thought.

    • #4
    • May 31, 2010, at 8:21 AM PDT
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  5. Ottoman Umpire Inactive

    I just Claire’s Policy Review piece — it’s quite good, not just in her analysis but in her style of writing. “Well, that’s the Omaha machine for you.” Priceless.

    It brings to mind a couple of other concepts. First up: Broken Windows — the idea that seemingly petty signs of disorder and lawlessness can lead to more serious criminal activity. When I was in Vietnam in the early 1990s, it was common to get stopped by police who threatened to drag you in for a full scale check of your credentials, unless you were willing to pay a 10,000 dong (about one dollar) fine. I wonder if this low level corruption doesn’t create (or reflect) a culture of corruption that ultimately gives rise to a Ferdinand Marcos.

    Second, The Mystery of Capital, by Hernando de Soto. Mr. de Soto argues, among other things, that the “extralegal settlements” that persist in many poor countries are a product of widespread corruption and that they perpetuate poverty because home “owners” can’t leverage the property as an asset.

    • #5
    • May 31, 2010, at 9:15 AM PDT
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  6. Profile Photo Member

    It never matter whether Mr. Khodorkovsky was guilty for not. Mr. Putin was going to nationalize Yukos regardless.

    • #6
    • June 1, 2010, at 10:07 AM PDT
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