Thursday, February 06, 2014

Corruption: A bigger picture

...Corruption in the form of bribery and theft by government officials, the main target of the UN Convention, costs developing countries between $20bn and $40bn each year. That's a lot of money. But it's an extremely small proportion - only about 3 percent - of the total illicit flows that leak out of public coffers.

Tax avoidance, on the other hand, accounts for more than $900bn each year, money that multinational corporations steal from developing countries through practices such as trade mispricing...This is a massive - indeed, fundamental - cause of poverty in the developing world, yet it does not register in the mainstream definition of corruption...

...During the 1980s and 1990s, the policies that these institutions [the IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation] foisted on the Global South, following the Washington Consensus, caused per capita income growth rates to collapse by almost 50 percent...Western corporations have benefitted tremendously from this process, gaining access to new markets, cheaper labour and raw materials, and fresh avenues for capital flight.

...Voting power in the IMF and World Bank is apportioned so that developing countries - the vast majority of the world's population - together hold less than 50 percent of the vote, while the US Treasury wields de facto veto power.

Read more: Flipping the corruption myth by Jason Hickel

Here are some directions to follow without delay:
- Require corporate interests, including multinationals, to contribute more to the public good of their host countries/communities and less to the bad (income inequality, environmental degradation, ...)  More immediately, structure tax payments so that they lead to development not to further fattening a fat central government.

- Evaluate the most modern financial market, accounting, and trading practices.  Categorize those that are clearly criminal, merely experimental, and so on and understand their risks and benefits in various scenarios.  Understand how the world of work has changed, and guide a global adjustment to lowered factory/office employment rates for instance.  

- Not tokenism, but a drastic shift in the way people of the world are represented in international bodies. In population, the world is roughly 1/6 Chinese, 1/6 Indian, 1/6 African, 1/6 American, 1/6 European, 1/6 Pacific. 
Notes on the regions/sixths
African: African and Arab/Middle Eastern || American: North, Central, South American  ||  European: with Turkey, Iran, and every -stan  ||  Pacific: South East Asia, with Japan, Bangladesh, Korea, Australia,

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