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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

 

Kleptocracy

In our Power & Prosperity reading for this week I ran across the word kleptocracy, which I had to look up in a dictionary. Then, by some wierd fluke, I googled the word and discovered that President Bush has a kleptocracy policy
Today, The President Unveiled His National Strategy To Internationalize Efforts Against Kleptocracy, Pledging To Confront High-Level, Large-Scale Corruption By Public Officials And Target The Proceeds Of Their Corrupt Acts. This Strategy Is A New Component Of His Plan To Fight Corruption Around The World. Public corruption erodes democracy, rule of law, and economic well-being by undermining public financial management and accountability, discouraging foreign investment, and stifling economic growth and sustainable development.

Comments:
Very interesting post Mr. Eubanks. I’m sure glad I stumbled upon your Eminent Domain blog, which in turn had a link to this blog. Absolutely wonderful blogs. Very insightful, full of knowledge, and thought provoking. I Love it!

Anyhow, I can’t help but think that this post and your previous post “Today’s Wars” are somehow connected.

From the previous post: “In all these countries, civil war is the main cause of conflict. The usual trigger is a dispute over scarce resources, or territory that has changed hands in the past.” and “Africa is awash in warlords, with armed groups controlling turf all over the continent.”

From the current post: “Public corruption erodes democracy, rule of law, and economic well-being by undermining public financial management and accountability, discouraging foreign investment, and stifling economic growth and sustainable development.”

Now, it seems to me Africa is a prime example of Kleptocracies. All the countries of Africa listed in the “Today’s Wars” post have been, will be, or are currently engaged in civil wars. Why? Because they are run by Kleptocrats. What ensues when a kleptocrat seizes power is it erodes democracy, rule of law, and economic well-being by undermining public financial management and accountability, discouraging foreign investment, and stifling economic growth and sustainable development. All of which is taking place in Africa, and all of which lead to civil war!

The big question really is - Will President Bush’s policy make a difference?

Personally I feel the policy a decent start, but I have doubts about other G-8 members, and to a larger extent the U.N. implementing it. Whether it be ideological differences between the member states, or just plain lack of will, it’s never going to happen.

European nations have been a major part/cause of the problems within Africa. Yet the only thing the EU is ever willing to do about it, is to throw more money at the problem. Money that always lands in the lap of Kleptocrats!

The next big question is - What else can be done besides what President Bush has outlined in his policy? Could the use of force be deemed an alternative option to restore stability to these countries as well?
 
Thanks for your comment. I agree the two posts are connected. Actually, at this point in the semester my class is now reading and discussion Mancur Olson's Power and Prosperity. Both of my posts you point to were meant to provide some application of the theory presented in Olson's book. If you are interested in Olson's book, then maybe you would want to return to your questions with his book in mind. And, I'm going to ask the students in my class if they would tackle your questions as well.
 
Mr. Eubanks -

Thanks for the book suggestion. I've placed it in my Amazon list and am waiting till I have the funds to purchase. On normal occasions I'd just check the book out of my local library, but I'm currently stationed overseas with my wife. Our little NATO library doesn't have much of a selection.

At the moment, I'm young and monetarily poor. Since the book is a want and not a need, it's just going to have to wait. I'm trying to keep more money in than whats going out.

Again, Thanks for the suggestion. I look forward to the day I get to read it!
 
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