Shifting Obsessions: Three Essays on the Politics of Anticorruption

Shifting Obsessions: Three Essays on the Politics of Anticorruption

Shifting Obsessions: Three Essays on the Politics of Anticorruption

Shifting Obsessions: Three Essays on the Politics of Anticorruption

Synopsis

This book is not a study of anti-corruption policies. Instead, it looks at the politics of anti-corruption. Policies are what institutions do. But in analyzing politics, this book seeks to discover why institutions do what they do. The author delves into political motivations at a time when "combating corruption" is the fashion among the academic community. Krastev argues that anti-corruption sentiments are not driven by the actual level of corruption but by general disappointment with liberal reforms that cause rising social inequality. In this collection of essays, the author makes the provocative argument that the current corruption-focused policies are doomed.

Excerpt

In the course of a little more than a decade, the issue of corruption has become a leading focus of pubic policy-making worldwide. Previously, corruption was looked upon as an unfortunate but more or less inevitable by-product of human cunning, malevolence and frailty. It was the stuff of scandal. From time to time, it became the target of populist political campaigns but it was not previously regarded as the proper object of the deliberations and programs of important institutions. Today, however, corruption figures significantly in the policies and programs of a host of international bodies such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization; it is a topic to be addressed seriously when world leaders gather, as at G-8 meetings; it is a growing factor in bilateral relations between states and special programs, such as America’s Millennium Challenge Account, are explicitly designed to reward governments that have designed and implemented effective anticorruption strategies; a great many nongovernmental organizations operating internationally, or on a national or local basis in all parts of the world . . .

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