Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Corruption: the great blind spot

The American economist Paul Krugman once remarked on how blind spots come about because economists often do not see what they cannot fit into models. TJN has identified a gigantic blind spot. If the field of corruption can be likened to a room, then this blind spot is hiding an elephant sitting in the corner, which most of the world's development institutions do not yet seem able to see. One reason for the existence of this blind spot is Berlin-based Transparency International, which is peddling a narrow ideology of corruption that almost entirely excludes one of the most fundamental reasons why poor countries stay poor. The time is coming for a revolution in international debates about corruption, and for the start of what Eva Joly, the former investigating magistrate who broke open the "Elf Affair" in Paris (and who won Transparency International's Integrity in 2001), calls "Phase Two" in the fight against corruption. TJN has just launched a new section on its website, called "Corruption and the Offshore Interface." Read it, and see what the World Bank can't.

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