Friday 17 November 2017

What is an "anti-corruption" drive?

In looking a little wider whilst we wait, comatose, for the next round of Brexit talks. It is certainly an interesting world in 2017.

First up, the Government revolution in Saudi Arabia. The new young prince has certainly decided to shake-things up. The most ironic thing I have read in years is his detainment of various cousins and wealthy Sheikhs in Saudi Arabia on an 'anti-corruption drive'.... Ha, well, I guess he would know about it from his past.

This is a pet peeve of mine recently, why do the media always repeat these Government lines. Every time a non-democratic Government arrests the opposition or tries to get its own mafia in power, they label it an anti-corruption drive. What they really mean is a pro-corruption drive in their favour.

Only this week in Zimbabwe we can see this in action again. Afraid that Mugabe will gift all his wealth and power to his missus, the army have stepped in to get rid of her....and install their own puppet. There is no chance of an election or real democracy or hope that the people will get a look in. No, the deal is to bring back an exile who will turns the taps on their way.

China is perhaps the most important victim of this kind of approach too. There are seven mafia groups in China within the Communist party who operate broadly on family lines. President Xi has not only made his the most prominent, but has set about dismantling tow of these groups totally and reducing the influence of the others. Where once upon a time after him another group would get its turn, now instead the idea is his team stays in power. All the while, for years now, the media in the West faithfully reports this as an anti-corruption drive.

The list goes on and on, perhaps only Brazil of late had a real anti-corruption drive that was labelled accurately as such.


Electro-Kevin said...

In Britain we have a pro-corruption drive.

The introduction of different nationalities of gangster to liven up our dull country.

The latest being a Romanian mafia power struggle.

Just what is the point of the UK Parliament ? Especially if it doesn't deliver Brexit and stop all this ?

Nick Drew said...

In Britain we have a pro-corruption drive

Agreed. Notwithstanding the odd Poulson or three, and *problems* in Scotland Yard, the UK in the C20th was never characterised by corruption - one occasionally hears people saying that's naive but usually only lefties wanting to portray the whole of society as a public-school ramp

nobody was routinely expected to slip the magistrate a bung to get off a burglary charge etc etc etc

during my 5-year foray into the software game, we had the usual substantial proportion of (excellent) Indian engineers, the stories they would tell cured any naïveté about what real corruption is

(also trying to sell the software in Italy)

and living in Russia ... (where you'd even get receipts for the bungs, so as to be able to claim them on expenses)

but the times are a-changing in Blighty

Electro-Kevin said...

Nick - I could cry.

I do know what real corruption is.

We are making Britain third world bent when our only marketable strength is our trustworthiness.

AndrewZ said...

Brexit doesn't "stop all this". It removes a barrier that prevents any meaningful reform in this country, but once the obstacle has been removed the reform won't happen unless people fight for it. Brexit should be seen as the start of a process rather than as a single decisive event.

On the issue of corruption, the thinly-disguised purge in China raises an interesting question. We know that endemic corruption is immensely damaging to society and to the economy. But is it more damaging to have one political faction holding a monopoly on corruption or to have lots of different factions competing for the loot? I suspect it's probably the latter, because in the first case the situation is more predictable and people can at least plan for who they have to pay off and how much. If that's correct then Xi's "anti-corruption drive" might still reduce the harm that corruption does to China even if the real motive is simply to eliminate political rivals.