Friday, November 24, 2006

African Offers Presidents Cash

To Fight Corruption, One African Offers Presidents Cash - New York Times: "Corruption is tamed when government agencies are set up to make corrupt behavior difficult. Two examples of how far the world is from this goal: Many government agencies in poor countries cut costs by paying workers a pittance or even nothing, expecting them to live off bribes. Before Mexico reformed its customs posts as part of its bid for the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexico City’s airport effectively kept no registry of what came in on 100 planes a day.

There are lots of examples of how to do this right. Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore, now all among the very cleanest countries, used to be corruption cesspools. Political leaders talk about fighting corruption because voters care about it. They also like to prosecute corrupt past officials — even though this does very little to fight present graft — because it is showy, and those officials tend to be adversaries."

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