Wednesday, June 10, 2009

“If you fight corruption, it fights you back"

Excellent article in NYT on limits of fighting corruption, especially in Africa, full of great quotes.
“Going after big fish hasn’t worked,” he said. “The fish will not fry themselves.”

"more than $1 trillion a year is paid in bribery globally."
A few years ago, I was tempted to shift my research into corruption--a pretty natural leap from ethnic conflict and civil war. I felt that corruption would be to IR and comparative politics in the 2000's (the aughts?) what ethnic conflict was in the 1990's. I may still do a bit of statistics on it, but I have a hard enough time figuring out what the rules of engagement are for the various contingents in Afghanistan. Trying to figure out what kinds of corruption exist in country x or y or across the planet would be tougher still. And starts to get into international political economy, which is not one of my areas of strength. So, I am in Paris now asking officers and civilians about the factors shaping shifts in France's military operations, rather than in Africa, asking why some anti-corruption folks live and others die.

Not a bad project for an ambitious grad student.

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