TCS Daily


Who Likes Corruption?

By Philip Levy - May 4, 2007 12:00 AM

Amidst all the salacious material emerging from the debate over whether World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz should stay or go, there is one curious and nagging point. Most of the coverage describes how Wolfowitz and his confidants have engaged in a lonely battle to attack corruption in developing countries. Pitted against him have been regular Bank staff and the Bank's Board. That raises the question: who are these staunch defenders of corruption and why are they opposed to goodness and truth?

There is a school of thought that corruption is good. The argument goes that in an economy stifled by regulation and bureaucracy, corruption may be a way to get things done. It would be a distinctly second-best approach (behind removing the stifling regulation) but may be better than nothing. The empirical evidence of studies that have addressed this, though, did not find that corruption had helped much. By making the regulation more lucrative for the bureaucrats in charge, the possibility of bribes increased the amount of red tape, rather than clearing away obstacles.

The most common uncharitable explanation of Bank staff opposition to the leadership's anti-corruption push is that the staff just want to push money out the door. This would not be so much an embrace of corruption as a willingness to look the other way. It sounds like callous indifference to a significant concern.

But it begs the question of whether corruption is an important problem, or whether it is the important problem.

There is a philosophical divide among development professionals about the relative importance of governance and where good governance comes from. The United States, particularly through programs like the Millennium Challenge Account, has argued for progress on corruption as a prerequisite to receiving large contributions. European counterparts have responded that corruption is important, but is a symptom of underdevelopment. The Europeans argue that assistance can play a role in addressing problems of poor governance (for example, by educating the populace).

So one argument against the primacy of corruption concerns could be that some countries are too important to abandon just because of corruption. In fact, this seems to have been the rationale behind the Bank leadership's support for assistance to Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Transparency International in 2006 ranked Pakistan as 142nd out of 163 countries in corruption, while Iraq was 160th and Afghanistan dropped out of the index. These countries, though, have significant strategic importance along with major development needs.

The inconsistent application of an anti-corruption campaign is problematic. Before President Wolfowitz' arrival, the Bank already had programs to address corruption. The question under his leadership has been whether corruption trumped all other considerations. If it clearly does not in some instances, this threatens to make the withdrawal of assistance in other cases look capricious.

Even if there is a consistent commitment to attack corruption, the misdeeds can be difficult to observe. Corrupt officials usually try to operate discreetly. Uncovering or preventing corruption requires effort and red tape. For example, how many officials need to sign off before money is disbursed? If it's just one, it will be harder to prevent impropriety. If the answer is many, it may be hard to get anything done. There is an inescapable tradeoff between the risk of funding corrupt activity and the goal of providing meaningful assistance. Even relatively clean countries -- and developed countries -- have incidents of corruption. If assistance is to be provided, there will be a risk that corrupt activity results. Assistance is not unique in this regard; one could say the same of defense spending. There can be honest disagreements over how to strike the balance between these risks and the benefits of the assistance. This is not a question of whether corruption is good or bad, but how cumbersome anti-corruption efforts will be.

It is also worth noting that there are two kinds of corruption entangled in this debate: corruption in recipient countries and corruption in the delivery of assistance. The introduction of new measures at the Bank in response to the latter concern has led Bank staff begin to feel as though they've all been tarred. Beyond perceived injustice, unwieldy procedures can do more harm than good.

Finally, there is the practical question of whether the Bank leadership is striking out at actual corruption or observed corruption. If a recipient country has an active press full of corruption allegations, it can find itself the target of Bank corruption concerns. A neighbor with a stifled press may escape scrutiny. If the campaign against corruption is not pursued with great care, the result can be to reward countries for suppressing free speech.

The conflict at the Bank may not be the Manichaean struggle of a flawed hero against the forces of evil that has been portrayed in the press. If both sides share the objective of promoting development as effectively as possible, the explanation for the current remarkable levels of internal strife must lie somewhere else. Perhaps the members of the Bank staff association actually mean what they say.

The author is resident fellow, American Enterprise Institute.


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96 Comments

ans: most at the WTO
Wolfowitz is probably about the least corrupt guy at the WTO, that den of thieves run by mostly eurotrash, who hate americans in the first instance, then have to put up with a guy associated with Bush, who they particularly hate. He was ruffleing too many cushy positions there too, so when they saw a chance, they try to get him out. I recommend a thorough investigation of all the top members. But that won't happen, because they are all even more corrupt. A better suggestion would be for the US to pull out completely, and an even better idea would be for it to close up shop. They say too that all those foreign overpaid beaurocrats stationed in the US don't even pay taxes there, to ad insult to injury. They are just riding a gravy train at mostly US taxpayers expense.

Who like Corruption..
...those who benefit from it. You know the old joke; I either want less Corruption or more opportunity to participate.


smile is is just a joke.

ans: those who benefit
I don't disagree with the points of this article, I don't doubt the entire leadership of the Bank may turn their back to corruption, etc. But the one obvious, glaring point missing from the article is the fact that corruption is rampant in the Bush Administration, and as is the problem giving rise to the threat to Wolfowitz's job at the Bank, Wolfowitz himself is corrupt. What else do you call it when you give your girlfriend a huge payraise out of the ordinary? When your aides make such exhorbitant salaries? And to top it off you try to hide this information from public view?

"Corrupt officials usually try to operate discreetly."

Exactly. No one is more discreet, secretive even, than the Bush Administration. There is proof of Wolfowitz's attempt at discretion for giving his girlfriend such a payraise. He should be so gone from the Bank, but that would take integrity on his part.

Is it really that surprising that Wolfo would have an uphill battle, being a corrupt official fighting corruption?
Only to dimwit cheerleaders. What is truly disappointing is, unless you fit that description- "dimwit cheerleader", you're not welcome to serve the country under these guys' leadership. Unless you're willing to fight and die in the military, then they're even willing to trick you into serving.

Not a bad article. Some good points, just missing some perspective. But thats AEI. You can't work there unless you're missing some perspective.

Leadership
What is expected of the head of any institution, not just the World Bank, is guidance and leadership. And the problem nearly every member has with Mr Wolfowitz comes down to two failures.

The first is cronyism. No matter whether he is sleeping with the person he fast tracked to a top paying job. The fact is that it was an egregious example of cronyism. For whatever the reason, a less competent person was raised above those with greater competence and experience. That's bad leadership.

The second complaint comes down to the further politicisation of an institution already riven with a history of politicisation. Just as the WB is trying to grow beyond the confines of its old self and become a truly useful globalizing force, here comes a political appointment to undo all the good work.

Once again, after the reforms indicated by James Wolfensohn at his departure had begun to take effect, nations no longer get loans based on the merits of the project they have in mind. Under Wolfowitz they again get loans dependent on how slavishly they follow the party line of the current American administration.

Maybe you don't see these as being bad qualities. Maybe you would prefer the Bank only lend to political friends of the US, and leave other, possibly more deserving, recipients out in the cold. That's up to you.

I see it as corruption. And so do a majority of WB employees.

Half of all Americans like corruption
Half of all Americans like corruption. The gamblers, the dope sellers, bootleggers of all kinds, tax cheats, people who steal office supplies from their employers, people who sleep on the job . . . .

Thats more than half!
But I disagree.

How is gambling a form of corruption?
Dealing dope, stealing, those aren't forms of corruption necessarily. Are they?

If a dope dealer is corrupt by definition, so is every entrepeneur or business owner out there. By that definition so is every person who owns stock.

Duh. Now I get it. You're saying morally corrupt. Right? Its still hogwash. Stealing is immoral. But not gambling or dope selling. Transactions between consenting adults is not a basis for immorality. Including prostitution. I acknowledge the reality of society's view on this, I'm even cognizant of puritans' extreme positions, but I just simply disagree. Unless there is an act of deceit or theft or other form of taking advantage of another person involved, I don't see gambling, doing drugs or prostitution as immoral, for examples.

If anyone should know corruption
it should be WB employees.

Amen
and amen!

The problem with such jokes
The problem with such jokes is that they are true!

To question whether gambling, doing drugs or prostitution are immoral ...
To question whether gambling, doing drugs or prostitution are immoral requires either living in an ivory tower (and not the real world) or doing drugs.

Gratuities as income...
I'm glad this subject came up.

Governments perform services. Government workers need to be paid. The government's performance and the enforcement of its laws depend in large measure on the motivation of government workers.

In an underdeveloped society where individuals mostly operate inside closed communities of known associates government workers are motivated to favor people they already know very well or are related to. In this way, the mutual self-interest of their own group is best served.

The other side of that coin is discrimination against everyone else. If you do not know the government worker you are depending on to process a license or to sign a release then on what basis should you expect good service?

In a nation without a robust economy the tax base is thin. Government workers at all levels are paid poorly. Even when they earn the legal minimum wage, workers are still living in poverty. Government jobs give such workers the opportunity to earn the extra money that they need for their families. Let's be polite and call these extra payments gratuities.

People known to them may pay little of nothing for special service. People not known to them may feel like they have been subjected to ruthless extortion. Failure to go along with the program might make matters worse. Foreigners sometimes get the worst of it.

This certainly makes it difficult to do business in such countries. But here is the important point: The people in those countries sincerely believe that business people must be dishonest to succeed. And that there is something fundamentally wrong with their own cultural behavior that makes economic development impossible for their nation. That they, as a people, simply cannot behave well enough to make their economy work. That it is hopeless. They buy into their own negative stereotypes.

Therefore, for the sake of their families certain "corrupt" or "immoral" activities are allowable. Bribes to government officials are the very least of what might reasonable go on. Really.

Government worker corruption is not going to change until there is enough money (taxes) to pay them much better. Until they have something to lose (their jobs) if they get caught taking a bribe.

As it is today entire bureaucracies are corrupt. Top to bottom. Everyone shares and the executive managers of those agencies become wealthy.

Of course, there is organized crime and there is amateur-hour anarchy. In nations with an established culture of gratuities in place there is order and discipline. Elite players in the society are able to operate in a predictable manner. Personal relationships of trust rule.

Yes, their bureaucrat friends take bribes to distribute among their own (government) workers. But the price to be paid is finite and reasonable. Therefore, it is possible to navigate and to do business. (Of course, if the nation is in civil war then all bets are off.) A business as usual condition can be achieved and wealth can be created.

But an open system with a rule of law such as we enjoy here in America is impossible. Therefore, we need to create new business paradigms that operate with powerful, small, self-governing (tribal, for want of a better word) entities converting their own cheap labor into dollars through exports. Competitive, high margin products sold into the global market.

Thereafter, the government will have something (an expanding GDP) to tax and funds to invest in infrastructure.

The World Bank might send money in. But this accomplishes nothing. Such funds are simply consumed. No structural changes ever seem to occur. These economies cannot be improved by simply throwing money at them. Economies must learn how to create their own wealth or they will never become sustainable.

More laws => more corruption
US attempts to control alcohol with an amendment led to massive corruption across all levels of society.

Decriminalization (not legalization) of all drugs will eliminate much corruption.

This must also be accompanied by swift prosecution and punishment of anyone who commits personal or property crimes whether under the influence or not.

Nepotism
How many government jobs are truley needed?

When a government tries to enforce too many uneforcable laws, it creates a buureaucracy that can't be controlled. Managers hire their cousins or get other family members jobs somewhere in the government.
Someone working at NBI gets her sister hired by the PNP who gets her husband a job in PNP. It's not a great job, but it is a job in a country with little opportunity for much else because the government inhibits private enterprise.

Paying more for bad government is not a solution.

Reducing the influence of government to control the market will do more than paying bureaucrats more.

Dream on...
As you said there are too many government workers enforcing too many regulations until they are paid enough "gratuities" to finally sign their names. Or to actually fill out the forms completely.

It is the way their governments operate because this is the way their government workers earn a living.

This does not get fixed until there is a robust economy creating a sustainable tax base. So the government will have the resources to do things right. In the meantime, they must continue to do things wrong.

Of course, if the World Bank gave the government enough money to hire professional managers and to cut out all the corrupt bureaucracy then we might feel like we were making progress.

However, without first having an economic expansion underway the World Bank would need to continue underwriting this new government until the GDP got up to speed.

But the money flowing into the government would not be coming out of the tax base. Indeed, a low rate of taxation might be argued to be necessary to stimulate the economy. The flow of government revenues would actually be coming from the World Bank.

Therefore, the government would get very good at keeping the World Bank engaged. And not necessarily very good at figuring out how to fix its economy.

The government officials who were best at managing the foreigners would be the "rainmakers" and they would dominate decision making.

These should be the educated, smooth bastards who best cozy up to the administrators of World Bank, the United Nations , the Nobel Committee, etc. Of course, these are all very smart, clever players who understand which side of the bread the butter is applied to...it is a club and they do small favors for each other. Sometimes those favors are large.

Get the picture?

One Flaw in Your Thesis
If I understand it correctly, the writer's thesis is that the World Bank's strife is one of ideas, not people. However, if this were so, then the staff would be attacking each other's ideas and not each other. Moreover, even if the best way to attack another's ideas would be to attack that person, then one ought to do so according to the same dictates of logic, reason and a proportional application of rules that govern one's attack on ideas.

But such dictates have not governed the World Bank staff's attack on Mr. Wolfowitz. Rather, the World Bank staff have employed dishonesty, unreasoning malice and a disproportionate application of internal rules to oust Mr. Wolfowitz. This kind of approach to internal conflict is always wrong regardless of the historical or ideological nature of the underlying dispute. Worse, to sanction the conduct is to perpetuate it in service of some greater goal, which is ironically the nature of the underlying ideological dispute.

Would the world be better off without a World Bank that awards dictatorship with a huge pay-off? Maybe so, and perhaps this is the question the article's writer doesn't want addressed.

It's not hard
It is not difficult to figure out what to do to make an economy grow and be successful.

I really don't know what you are talking about, but if you mean the World Bank does more harm than good, then I agree.

In PI, until the people understand that it is possible to work hard and get ahead instead of depending upon luck and who you know, they will continue to vote for actors backed by corrupt 'Dons'. And until a few leaders speak out and push for an end to the corrupt, the PI will continue to founder.

Allowing OFW to vote is a big step.

Maybe they have educated enough people to reach critical mass, but if that mass stays socialist, recovery will take much longer.

Get this picture?
"Once the analytical framework is set up, what the researchers at the World Bank find is fascinating. "The most striking aspect of the wealth estimates is the high values for intangible capital. Nearly 85 percent of the countries in our sample have an intangible capital share of total wealth greater than 50 percent," write the researchers. They further note that years of schooling and a rule-of-law index can account for 90 percent of the variation in intangible capital. In other words, the more highly educated a country's people are and the more honest and fair its legal system is, the wealthier it is."

"In fact, some countries are so badly run, that they actually have negative intangible capital. Through rampant corruption and failing school systems, Nigeria and the Republic of the Congo are destroying wealth and ensuring that they will be poorer in the future."

"Cropland, pastures and forests are more valuable in rich countries because they can be combined with other capital like machinery and strong property rights to produce more value. Machinery, buildings, roads, and so forth account for 17 percent of the rich countries' total wealth. And 80 percent of the wealth of rich countries consists of intangible capital. "Rich countries are largely rich because of the skills of their populations and the quality of the institutions supporting economic activity," argues the World Bank study."

"The big question that the World Bank researchers don't answer is : How can the people of the developing world rid themselves of the kleptocrats who loot their countries and keep them poor?"

http://www.reason.com/news/show/35008.html

If Wolfowitz is pushing this, then I understand why they want him out.

Shut down the World Bank
"All of which leaves the bank in rocky shape. The best and the brightest of its staff have been leaving in a steady, demoralized exodus, and poor nations are now deserting the bank to seek loans from private capital markets or grants from aid donors like China, who are in it for No. 1. Meanwhile, new private foundations (the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Google.org and so on) are taking over traditional bank areas such as health and agriculture. Add to that the debacle over Wolfowitz's sweetheart deal, and you have a bank facing the gravest crisis in its six-decades-old history.

Can -- or should -- the bank be saved? Yes, but not without real change. It would be a shame to discard the world's largest repository of development knowledge and experience."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/20/AR2007042001992_2.html

I disagree with the last. Shut the WB down. Everyone KNOWS what needs to be done. Quasi-government agencies like the WB do more harm funding and promoting corruption than any help that may result.

Foundations like Gates or other private institutions can demand and get better accountability.

Difference between immoral and illegal
Libertarians suggest what should be illegal are activites which result in direct harm to another: taking his property or causing injury or death to another.

I would argue that immoral behaviour, some of which could be illegal, like murder or theft, should not be illegal.

Some of what is considered immoral are crimes against yourself. If all drugs were decriminalized, use of them would only cause you harm. (It can get a bit sticky if you have responsibility for others like children.) Ditto for gambling. Its your money to spend anyway you want, as long as you feed your family first. If your wife doesn't mind, is hiring a prostitute immoral? It would certainly violate most marriage vows.

While there is no guarantee that behaving in an imoral way will result in illegal behavior, many conservative societies beleived it would and passed laws to help people from going down the slippery slope.

I think it better to just shun immoral behavior. Punish illegal actions, violence and fraud against others, and shun those who would violate the trust of others or not respect themselves.

Following the argument more closely
Marjon-- This comment is doctrinaire, and does not address any of the many pertinent points forest raises.

What I got from his comment was that the problem historically with WB loans was not so much the poor planning, but the fact that the host governments had no interest in implementing those projects as designed, or ensuring their success. Rather, structural adjustments were needed in those governments so motivation was introduced to have a vested interest in the success of the project.

This problem has been commented on by many who have been involved in the actual implementation of WB policy. A good account can be found in Klitgaard's "Tropical Gangsters".

Another approach might be in line with your own, to deny loans to governments whose prime purpose was the enrichment of what they call the "Wabenzi"-- those high bureaucrats whose main purpose is to accrue enough money in bribes to be able to ride around town in a Mar-sadies Benz.

By now we are well aware of your favorite diatribes. You could contribute more by reading the actual content of people's comments, and responding in direct address of those points.

Socialism in the Philippines?...Hardly...
You said: "It is not difficult to figure out what to do to make an economy grow and be successful." Wrong. It is spectacularly difficult. There is no consensus at all among economists regarding how to do this in a place like the Philippines. In spite of the fact that there is an immense amount to wealth to be created thereby, no one has worked it out yet. It almost seems impossible.

I live in the Philippines. (We also keep a home in California.) To state that the Philippine "mass" of citizens are "socialist" is absolutely wrong. Absolutely, Marjon. I don't know where that comes from. But wherever you heard it...it is simply not true. Give me a reference from Google if you like...I don't care who said and I don't care who wrote it. (The Pope, even.) It is wrong.

You offer no solution to the economic problem beyond "Allowing OFW to vote is a big step." This is a flawed posture in that the very good democracy of the Philippines is clearly and routinely responsible for delivering its weak central government. Expanding the voter pool to include those who no longer reside there will change nothing fundamental. It might only prolong the current state of affairs and delay a real fix if anyone should take it seriously. We are undergoing a constitutional process that might lead to a more parliamentary government. We'll need to see if this helps. Politics-as-usual have a way of trumping structure.

Our (Philippine) economy needs to create wealth within the context of closed systems (not dealing openly with strangers) while assuming little reliance on central government to enforce its laws of property and contracts through the courts.

Such financial security needs to flow through the transactions themselves and it must be disciplined by the banks. Not the foreign banks. Our own banks.

We must downsize the relevant capitalistic phenomena so that our entire nation need not be brought under control. We should manage only one deal at a time and build robust, competitive business entities on measurable success. Thousands of them.

Singapore did not attempt to bring Malaysia under control. Singapore only disciplines its own behavior.

The Philippines will grow rapidly over the next 20-30 years...because the economy must expand. Finally. That 60 year old inevitability is now low hanging fruit.

How this happens and what the capitalistic paradigm will look like, of course, depends on those of us who actually live there and those of us who make it happen.

Then it will look easy.

Philippines have a good democracy?
Since when?

Filipinos seem to support government control of many institutions that should be private.

Even in the USA, most Filipinos vote for the democrats and like big government.

"I am a representative of Bayan, the national alliance of people’s organizations in the Philippines that serves as the political center for the national democratic movement for genuine freedom and sovereignty with a socialist perspective. "

http://www.workers.org/2006/us/bayan-0601/

Coercion
"Democratic socialism and social democracy possess the set of theoretical tools that Philippine society needed—a comprehensive humanistic worldview, an inspiring vision, concrete societal economic, political, and cultural models, and a set of strategy and tactics developed through decades of sociopolitical struggle."

http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2007/jan/18/yehey/top_stories/20070118top7.html

One thing so many forget about Christ, he did not force anyone to believe him or force them into heaven.

The 'state' has the monopoly on force. If the state uses its force redistribute wealth and not protect private property, then that is a socialist state.

Eliminate the World Bank and IMF
"Indeed, for a half century foreign aid has more often worsened the problem of Third World poverty. Institutions such as the World Bank consistently subsidized the most authoritarian and statist regimes on earth. By enriching incumbent political elites, aid enabled governments to stave off pressure for far-reaching economic reform. If international "assistance" is no longer quite so obvious a hindrance to economic development, it is only because many of the worst Third World regimes have fallen into the great wastebasket of history. But there is no reason to believe that slightly less corrupt governments today, whether democracies or dictatorships, will use additional foreign funds more productively.

Recognition that "assistance" often proves to be a hindrance has slowly grown; today the traditional case for foreign aid is dead. Most obviously, there is no correlation between aid levels and wealth or growth. The factor that matters, according to two comprehensive annual global economic surveys, one undertaken by a consortium of international think tanks led by Canada's Fraser Institute (Economic Freedom of the World), the other by the Heritage Foundation (Index of Economic Freedom), is the degree of economic liberty. Even aid advocates today acknowledge that no amount of aid can overcome the impact of bad economic policies.

The research is overwhelming in finding that Western financial transfers do not generate Third World prosperity. For instance, Peter Boone of the London School of Economics surveyed developing economies, reporting that "[p]overty is not caused by capital shortage, and it is not optimal for politicians to adjust distortionary policies when they receive aid flows."

http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=11311

It is a waste of resource to perpetuate corrupt and ineffective institutions.

But that is what governments do, don't they?

Foreign aid myths
Just how much money do you think we give away in foreign aid? Isn't it the case that before 9/11, it was only about ten billion each year? And of that, didn't three billion go just to Israel, with a nearly equal amount going to Egypt?

Much of the money called "foreign aid" in budget line items is actually military expenses, where we equip foreign armies to either do our military's own work for us, or pay them to oppress their own people. We sponsor, for instance, Colombia's war against its own peasants, calling it foreign aid.

Much other funding takes the form of loans and loan guarantees. I trust you know the difference between money lent and money spent.

Interestingly, foreign aid amounts hit a low under Bill Clinton, and are now on the rise again.

Read this tutorial on the actual nature of foreign aid programs.

http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/31987.pdf

Defaults
A few years ago, the liberals were demanding that all loans to the third world be forgiven.

That's a grant.

So give some success stories of how the WB or the IMF have raised the per capita GNP of any country.

roy's willing to advance any lie that advances his ideology
You really should read up on a subject before making pronouncements roy. For once.

You can't even get the charge right. Wolfowitz's lover was not fast tracked to to a top position. She was given a large settlement in order to leave the World Bank.

The facts of what happened are available to those who care. It's obvious that you don't care. Nothing unusual there.

When he joined the WB, Wolfowitz offered to recuse himself from all decisions regarding the lady. The WB ethics committee reviewed the situation and decided that even with the recusal, the appearance of impropriety was too great, and that the lady could no longer work for the WB. The ethics committee also decided that such a firing would have a negative affect on her career and that she was entitled to compensation for this hit.

The ethics committee decided that Wolfowitz would have to sign off on the decision. Which he did.

The facts don't support your histerical claims, but when have they ever?

the only rampant corruption here is the corruption of your brain cells.
To a lefty, the definition of corruption is someone who refuses to follow the leftist line.

Excellent
The whole media affair with Wolfowitz's girlfriend is a simplistic attempt at character assassination for the equally simplistic reason of Wolfowitz's connection to GWB. Nothing more, nothing less.

Anyone who has looked into his acheivements and goals would see what an outstanding person he is. The fact that he is shaking up the World Bank should be taken as a badge of honor. Instead, people such as Roy would have us believe that Wolfowitz has brought the evils of Bush Corruption to the World Bank.

Another case where dogma trumps fact.

Debt forgiveness
The first wave of extravagantly considered loans to the developing world-- that's the wave you are all upset about-- was intended to put their governments in our pocket, once they had become ensnared into earning money just to pay back our easy loans of mountains of cash.

But the plan backfired. What we did, instead of lending to promising democratically elected governments, was to lend to corrupt autocracies led by jerks motivated only to skim off the wealth for themselves and their cronies. So they took the money, screwed up the development schemes and retired with Swiss bank accounts, leaving their nations (a) broke and (b) on the hook for the repayment of billions of dollars plus interest.

A generation after the fact many of us have noticed that the money is now GONE. It's not coming back again. And the burden of having repayment hanging over their heads is crippling these countries, preventing them from ever being able to invest a dime into their own economies-- the creditors must be paid first.

So we have a situation where prosperity cannot begin before the debts are paid. And the debts can't be repaid until those nations become prosperous. There's really nothing anyone can do with such a status quo that doesn't begin with debt forgiveness.

I would note in passing that one of the few current governments that are faithfully repaying the burdens thrust on them by the corrupt governments of previous decades is that of Venezuela-- currently a debtor in good standing.

Two different versions
Your sources give a very different version than the Washington Post.

"World Bank President Paul D. Wolfowitz personally dictated the terms under which the bank gave what it called his "domestic partner" substantial pay raises and promotions in exchange for temporarily leaving her job there during his tenure, according to documents released by the bank's executive board yesterday."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/13/AR2007041300788_pf.html

She ended up getting paid more in her new job than Condi Rice gets paid in hers.

But that's just the scandal. The main reason Europe wants him out of there is that they provide 60 percent of the funding for the International Development Association, while the US and Japan combined only provide 26 percent. And Wolfowitz has had the primary say in how the money is being directed.

Excellent points marjon
Thats what I was looking for. I couldn't answer the question of WHY something is immoral if it doesn't harm anyone else. I know its generally accepted that gambling is immoral, but there is no logical reason to define it as so. I still don't. Your point is right on that, as long as one is taking care of their family, or meeting their obligations otherwise, there is nothing wrong with gambling as a recreational activity.

"Some of what is considered immoral are crimes against yourself."

By that logic I agree using drugs is immoral. Its still a shaky argument on its own, but its a start. How else do you define it? What are other explanations?

I still wouldn't determine gambling and prostitution are immoral. They don't harm oneself.

Surely, if one is married thats another story. But even the prostitute herself/himself, I don't think thats an immoral profesion. It certainly should not be illegal.

As to general religious reasons to call these activities immoral, I don't buy it. In other words, you can't tell me its immoral on the basis that religion says so. There has to be a real reason, a pragmatic reason.

Another thought I have with gambling: it can be addictive, but thats not enough to call it immoral. Everything can be addictive, I think thats called obsessive-compulsive. Heck, food is addictive. I would more readily accept that over-eating is immoral moreso than gambling.

I'm with you marjon also in that i think its better to just shun immoral behavior versus making a law against it.

I hope jonathanswift sees this, I wonder what his determinations are for a declaration of an activity as immoral.

One is wrong, the other is right
Oh no, the Washington Post has a different story!

However, the fact remains that Wolfowitz disclosed his relationship to the board of the Word Bank before taking the post.

It is also a fact that Riza is not some Lewinsky-type character who got a big deal by getting down on her knees. Riza had built her career by working for democracy in the Muslim world, at various institutions, in supporting civil-society activists in the Palestinian territories, in Iran, in the Gulf, and elsewhere. She deserves to get compensation for the hit to her career and being dragged through the mud by those of your mindset.

Wolfowitz merely spoke up for her getting what was due as person who was being released from her position for having an inconvenient relationship in the eyes of the board. The board agreed and put the matter behind them. The bank's ethics czar, Ad Melkert, wrote that "because the outcome is consistent with the Committee's findings and advice above, the Committee concurs with your view that this matter can be treated as closed."

>"But that's just the scandal."

A very contrived, dishonest scandal.

>"The main reason Europe wants him out of there is that they provide 60 percent of the funding for the International Development Association, while the US and Japan combined only provide 26 percent."

Now they know how the US feels about NATO, the UN, funding AIDS relief in Africa, etc.

>"And Wolfowitz has had the primary say in how the money is being directed."

Considering how our economy operates in contrast the the European model I would say this is a good thing for the IDA.

thats about as poor an argument as has ever been seen
I would also point out, a corrupt mind does not a corrupt person make.

two things wrong
First off, you called Wolfowitz an outstanding person. He was an architect of the Iraq War, he was out front misleading the country and was absolutely wrong about his estimations for the duration and cost of the invasion. At the very least thats reason to demote him below "outstanding person". I'll give him some credit though too, he was first among the neocons to figure out, America's subservience to the Middle East in the form of our demand for oil, is a security issue. Yes, higher CAFE standards will contribute to our security, to our very independence. Talk about dogma trumping fact. Our government deems the need to spy on citizens without oversight as essential to our security, but not ending our subserviance to the Middle East??


"Instead, people such as Roy would have us believe that Wolfowitz has brought the evils of Bush Corruption to the World Bank."

Indeed. Heres some dogma that happens to be fact: how about Wolfowitz's aides changing verbiage of WB reports to remove or diminish references to family planning beyond absstinence, and removing or diminishing references to global warming. The fact is Wolfowitz did bring the evils of Bush Corruption to the World Bank. It begins with their ideology.

And I like the idea he went there to shake things up, hold the WB officers and members accountable, etc. But he has to have integrity and credibility to make it a positive. Any good he has done is tainted because of the evils of Bush Corruption he brought with him.

Prosperity
As the studies show, prosperity requires liberty.

If any country needs capital, let them get on the free market. NO goverment back loans. They can issue bonds where the risk will be reflected in the interest rates.

Chaves is repaying its debts with stolen property.

Immorality of gambling
I would say gambling is immoral.

Even if addiction does not occur and even if you and your family are financially protected, the concept of 'easy' money is corrosive.

People will focus on getting lucky instead of working hard to create your own luck.

I doubt it was his connection with Bush
More likely they didn't like his anti-corruption campaign.

Given the quality of the what I was responding to, nothing more was necessary
Nobody claimed that your corrupted mind caused you to be a corrupted person.

Please try to keep on topic.

in your corrupted opinion, being wrong on the war is enough to make Wolfowitz corrupt?
...

I'm going by WB documents,
You're going by a paper with an anti-Bush agenda.

Which is more likely to be accurate.

So you think that the country that supplies the largest funding should run the organization?

Does that apply to the UN as well?

Or does it only apply when the largest funder is not the US?

Workers.org...don't take any such basura seriously...
Democracy in the Philippines is so effective that almost anyone who appeals to the voters could get himself elected. Even someone like Joseph Estrada who enjoyed virtually no support from the major party players.

You said "Filipinos seem to support government control of many institutions that should be private."

Great! Let's discuss your examples.

You also said "Even in the USA, most Filipinos vote for the democrats and like big government."

Well, Cripes. There goes your proof. Everyone knows that Democrat is another word for Socialist. What was I thinking?

oh, I get it, you're not making an argument at all, just blabbing
as usual.

>>"Nobody claimed that your corrupted mind caused you to be a corrupted person."

Thats good.

I'm not sure how Jesus got involved in this...
Nevertheless, there has been no such "land reform" in the Philippines that I know about. My wealthy friends still have all their properties.

Nevertheless, you said "If the state uses its force [to] redistribute wealth and not protect private property, then that is a socialist state."

What are you talking about? The Philippines?

The fact that the socialist parties in the Philippines are free to have an opinion (and some opportunity to get their people elected) is yet another characteristic of pure democracy.

By the way, by that measure, the United States enjoys precious little democracy...Oh, yeah...We already knew that.

No, and
if you'll learn to read sentences in the context they're presented, you won't be so confused all the time.

Wolfowitz being wrong on the war, among other things, is reason to demote him from "outstanding person". As I explained.

It also greatly dilutes his integrity and credibility.

Which are very important qualities to have if one is going to try and shake things up and fight corruption in an organization.

The indications that Wolfowitz brought "the evils of Bush Corruption to the World Bank" stem from giving his girlfriend a huge payraise, the exhorbitant salaries his aides make and the fact they try to change WB reports to suit their ideology.

Rice
Rice is subsidized.

Fuel prices are regulated.

Jeepney rates are regulated.

Estrada had NO support from the Marcos family?

Philippines are run by families. Cojuangco family, Marcos family and maybe a few others.

Democrat's policies and the socialist party policies intesect in many places.

motive matters

"Even if addiction does not occur and even if you and your family are financially protected, the concept of 'easy' money is corrosive."

"People will focus on getting lucky instead of working hard to create your own luck."


I don't see this the same way, 2 reasons. One, this concept of 'easy' money. I think of buying stocks the same way- 'easy' money. Not exactly the same, but very, very similar. You can do your homework and try to make a smart purchase in stocks, but its still a risk, a gamble. By the same measure, a professional gambler can study his game and have a high level skill at gambling, but its going to come down to luck in the bottom line. I think if the concept of 'easy' money is corrosive, its corrosive for both activities. So, is buying stock immoral?

The second reason, and more applicable, because I see your answer as a reference to motive, more than an actual activity, as immoral. Gambling is also an activity for purely recreational purposes. My wife for example, she enjoys playing slots, she has little expectation to win any money, she plays because she thinks its fun, when her $20 runs out she leaves. I see it as she is spending $20 to be entertained for a couple hours. So if motive matters, I don't think its viable to say gambling is immoral, because sometimes it isn't, depending on motive.

This raises a thought, the idea that it becomes immoral when money is involved. Playing slots for the reason my wife does is no different than playing a game of cribbage with her (Certainly thats not immoral). Except money is involved. But I don't see how money being involved necessarily turns it immoral.
It boils down to stakes. If you put stakes on the line, does that make it immoral? I don't think so, but I need to contemplate it more.

The USA is a republic, if you didn't know.
There is a reason the USA is NOT a democracy.

I only got two? You beat me on the count.
Let's see where we can figure out what your issue is:

>"He was an architect of the Iraq War, he was out front misleading the country and was absolutely wrong about his estimations for the duration and cost of the invasion."

He never misled the country on Iraq and neither has Bush. How many investigations and commitees do you need to confirm this? Just because you repeat a lie does not make it truth.

Mistakes in estimates? Sure. But the overall reason for the invasion and the need to fight our enemies where they live are not in that category.

>"Our government deems the need to spy on citizens without oversight as essential to our security, but not ending our subserviance to the Middle East??"

Please cite a specific example of surveillance being misused. Another lie since oversight does exist. Boy, Bob, you seem to love being a mere tool of the Democrat propaganda machine.

>"Heres some dogma that happens to be fact: how about Wolfowitz's aides changing verbiage of WB reports to remove or diminish references to family planning beyond absstinence, and removing or diminishing references to global warming. The fact is Wolfowitz did bring the evils of Bush Corruption to the World Bank. It begins with their ideology."

That's liberal dogma all right.

I actually thought he heightened the need to actually discuss abstinence instead of leaving it completely out of the discourse on AIDS. Prove me wrong and I will change my tune. The fact is that liberals hate any consideration outside of condoms.

As for removing references to AGW: Good! Why does the World Bank have to refer to it at all? Since when do they have to concern themselves to an unproven theory? In other words, why cripple economies with impossible environmental regulations, that don't even work in first world countries BTW, before they are even given the chance to be born?

So yes, bring on those evils Bobby. It just shows you really have no understanding of what the real purpose of the WB is.

>"Any good he has done is tainted because of the evils of Bush Corruption he brought with him."

Truly an open-minded statement. I am sure you have judged his performance on the merits of the outcome. Not just because you are a rabid Bush-hater.

Stocks
Stocks are an investment, maybe a risky one, but the money is generally put to productive use.

I see old ladies, with Coke botttle glasses, with an O2 bottle pulling on a slot machine in Vegas. OK, its their money.

But the only thing I would make illegal about any gambling is for the state to tax it.

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