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16 April, 2007

More Corruption at the World Bank

So Paul Wolfowitz, former US deputy defence secretary and now president of the World Bank, seems to have been caught with his fingers in the till. He appears to have personally arranged a US$200,000 salary deal for his girlfriend, a bank employee. She seems to have accepted it too, which would make her just as bad as he is. No doubt the pair is well suited to one another. Or is this just what we're supposed to believe?

Of course, this kind of seedy corruption is so commonplace among senior managers that it barely seems odd that one of them should be found out now and then. And, equally commonplace, is the notion that roles like president of the World Bank would go to an ex-politician. After all, aren't little perks like this one of the main reasons why people go into politics? If the big corporations weren't greasing the palms of senior politicians, how would they ever get preferential treatment? If top jobs in multinational organisations weren't being handed out to former defence secretaries and the like, what would be their incentive to serve their countries?

The scandal of it all is that Wolfowitz got caught and somehow it wasn't all hushed up. Maybe he'd made too many enemies. Maybe someone more sly and devious is after his job – or after his girlfriend, or just after him. Who knows. The fact is that the odd scandal of this nature is merely a reminder that this kind of sleazy corruption is rife in the corporate world and the world of politics. (Hello? Did someone mention Haliburton? Jeez. Aren't these neo-cons supposed to be upright, religious types?) It goes hand-in-hand with the idea that you need capitalism to give people an incentive to make a success of an economy. After all, that's why communism failed in the USSR, isn't it?

Or was that something to do with the demoralising, divisive, degrading, grinding-down of a whole society by rampant greed and corruption?

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