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Post The Scourge of Corruption is Nearly Universal
Created by John Eipper on 11/06/19 3:40 AM

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The Scourge of Corruption is Nearly Universal (Paul Preston, UK, 11/06/19 3:40 am)

I think that corruption has always existed almost everywhere. The sort of corruption satirised in picaresque novels in Spain, England and France was a product of poverty. The corruption associated with buccaneering capitalists--the Spanish example being Juan March--is more familiar in the USA (I think...here I bow to more expert WAISers).

Institutional corruption or kleptocracy in Spain was found in the dictatorships of Primo de Rivera and Franco but is common in most dictatorships. Then there is money-laundering and insider trading, which are to be found in virtually every country that permits foreign investment and has a stock exchange.

So, back to my first sentence. I don't think that Spain is worse as a nation but it has suffered more than many.

JE comments:  Sir Paul, your words are wise.  You divide corruption into three categories:  picaresque poverty, robber-baron capitalism, and government kleptocracy.  This is a useful framework for our further discussions, although the three often form noxious alliances:  as just one example, Colombia in the 1980s.

One question I've never seen answered to my satisfaction:  why are some societies more corrupt than others?

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