Category: Corruption

War and Drugs in Afghanistan

by Vanda Felbab-Brown

Since 2001, Afghanistan has become synonymous with the term “narcostate” and the associated spread of crime and illegality. Though the Afghan drug economy peaked in 2007 and 2008, cultivation this year still amounted to 325,000 acres, and the potential production of opium reached 6,400 tons (.pdf). Narcotics production and counternarcotics policies in Afghanistan are of critical importance not only for drug control there and worldwide, but also for the security, reconstruction and rule of law efforts in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, many of the counternarcotics policies adopted during most of the past decade not only failed to reduce the size and scope of the illicit economy in Afghanistan, but also had serious counterproductive effects on the other objectives of peace, state-building and economic reconstruction.

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Case Studies of Reform

by Bob Carr

 

Speaking toCanberra public servants this week I discussed three case studies of reform from 1995-2005 in NSW state government. They were: turning the NSW police force from a poorly performing, corruption-prone police force into a professionally-performing, corruption-resistant police force; wiping out the rorts of plaintiff lawyers in tort law to increase payments to the injured; and restructuring forestry to secure jobs in a reformed timber industry but also declare 350 new National Parks.

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The new middle classes rise up – Marx’s revolutionary bourgeoisie finds its voice again?

THE past four years have seen a sharp contrast between recession-hit rich countries and buoyant emerging giants. This year the rich countries’ economic woes have spilled over to their politics, too: European governments are bogged down in the euro crisis while America brought upon itself a sovereign-debt downgrade. But the woe is not all on one side. Despite their economic achievements, the likes of China, India, Indonesia and Brazil—to say nothing of the Middle East—are suffering discontent almost as profound as the malaise in the West.

In India the Congress-led government of Manmohan Singh has faced its biggest challenge so far from mass demonstrations by supporters of Anna Hazare, a veteran anti-corruption campaigner who went on hunger strike in Delhi. This week Mr Hazare halted his strike with a cup of honeyed coconut water after the government agreed to pass tougher laws against graft. The protests were the culmination of a sequence of huge corruption scandals, from last year’s Commonwealth games in Delhi to the distribution of 2G mobile-telecoms spectrum licences. “What you are seeing on the street is a middle-class rebellion,” says Mohan Guruswamy, a former official at the finance ministry.

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Why the U.K. riots have more to do with austerity than criminality

by Dr Greg Martin

Can references by the media and politicians to “feral youth”, “mindless thuggery” and “sheer criminality” in relation to the U.K. riots be justified in the context of austerity measures, policing practices and a pernicious culture of consumption?

Criminologists reject the idea of “pure criminality”, preferring instead to focus on the social origins of crime. While pure criminality implies crime is a consequence of individual pathology, criminological research continues to recognise the enduring link between crime and relative deprivation. The root cause of much of the riotous behavior lies in young peoples’ exclusion from consumer culture coupled with over-policing and police harassment of particular groups in neighborhoods blighted by entrenched social and economic disadvantage.

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Fail, Britannia – How did the country that taught the world good governance become so corrupt?

by Chandrashekhar Krishnan

The British are hardly the only ones who have long thought that Britain — birthplace of modern finance, law enforcement, the most widely imitated democratic system in the world, and even the very notion of “fair play” — is in a position to advise everyone else on corruption and governance. Indeed, the country ranks 20th out of 178 countries — two spots ahead of the United States — on Transparency International’s 2010 Corruption Perception Index. Its stable governance and generally robust institutions and democratic traditions make it the envy of many other countries.

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