Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Democracy or Honesty?

Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2004

TI estimates that the amount lost due to bribery in government procurement is at least US$ 400 billion per year worldwide.
Finland is the least corrupt country, US shows up at 17, Japan 24, China 71, India and Russia 90, Haiti and Bangledesh tie for last at 145.

Maybe it is jut me, but I think the US is putting too much emphasis on democracy and not enough on lack of corruption. I would rather live in an honest non-corrupt dictatorship than a corrupt democracy. Democracy allows you to have input into who the leader is, but I would rather not have input and have a good honest leader, then the ability to choose between two incompentant corrupt leaders.

Where would you rather live today, in Communist China or the kleptocracy known as Russia? Russia maybe a democracy, but it is more corrupt than China and has less economic opportunity. And who has better leaders these days?

Or how about would you rather live in China or India? India is a democracy but has higher corruption on the TI scale.

Should the US be spreading democracy or should we instead focus on fighting corruption and spreading good governence and transparency? In Iraq maybe we should be focusing more on transparency and less on democracy.
“The future of Iraq depends on transparency in the oil sector,” added Eigen. “The urgent need to fund postwar construction heightens the importance of stringent transparency requirements in all procurement contracts,” he continued. “Without strict anti-bribery measures, the reconstruction of Iraq will be wrecked by a wasteful diversion of resources to corrupt elites.”
The study also shows the oil often goes hand and hand with corruption. Think a developing country would be better off if it found oil? Think again.
As the Corruption Perceptions Index 2004 shows, oil-rich Angola, Azerbaijan, Chad, Ecuador, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Libya, Nigeria, Russia, Sudan, Venezuela and Yemen all have extremely low scores. In these countries, public contracting in the oil sector is plagued by revenues vanishing into the pockets of western oil executives, middlemen and local officials.

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