You see, the thing about what i would like to call “smartly corrupt” is that you can be corrupt without anyone being able to call you corrupt. Forget those petty politicians who hire a bunch of fancy lawyers or PR apple polishers to protect them against corruption charges, the REALLY smart fellas are the ones who never get charged in the first place. The truly genius amongst this elite bunch are those who people not only see as not corrupt, but even admirable!
There are many ways to hide your “badness”. Want to chop down a forest ala Taib Mahmud? Fund a bunch of environmental scientists (through various proxy-owned NGOs of course) to say that global warming has nothing to do with deforestation. For a little bit extra, you might even get those same scientists to tell the world that global warming is a fairytale!
Want to avoid paying taxes? Here’s a nifty little trick for tax evasion: hire a bunch of economists to write papers about how tax cuts for the rich will actually boost the economy. It can’t be that hard. The Republicans in America were doing exactly that for years!
Or even want to get rich by selling more guns and bullets. Or perhaps want to make a power grab for oil rich fields. No problem. Get the President of the United States to start a war. Presto. Instant billionaire.
Paul Krugman, says it so much better than me:
Arguably, this shouldn’t be surprising. Modern American conservatism is, in large part, a movement shaped by billionaires and their bank accounts, and assured paychecks for the ideologically loyal are an important part of the system. Scientists willing to deny the existence of man-made climate change, economists willing to declare that tax cuts for the rich are essential to growth, strategic thinkers willing to provide rationales for wars of choice, lawyers willing to provide defenses of torture, all can count on support from a network of organizations that may seem independent on the surface but are largely financed by a handful of ultrawealthy families.
By eliminating the stupidly corrupt in our own country, are we just cleaning up the landscape for the brilliantly corrupt to come in and make a killing? Less competition, more spoils.
A nugget of thought for you and you and you this bright Tuesday morning.
- Krugman: What happens when Fox buys politicians (americablog.com)
- The Tea Party: Bought and paid for…. (tagg-lines.com)
- Krugman: ‘Our political culture has become … deeply corrupt’ (americablog.com)