Universality of Corruption
Randy Black writes: "I am in total agreement with Christopher Jones regarding the need for good leadership as a condition of a working democracy. Russia’s President Putin as a leader is certainly an improvement of the man who personally picked and appointed Putin for the job, former President Yeltsin. Certainly, Mr. Jones is correct to point out the dangers of too much wealth in the possession of too few, in Russia. That said, I must point to Mr. Jones a tiny error in his otherwise very interesting post. Ken Lay is not on trial (yet).
Further, Mr. Jones’ attacks on the US corporate system (freedom to rob banks and pillage the company), without pointing out similar problems with the corporate systems of European conglomerates seems a bit over the top on Mr. Jones’ part. The leaders of mega world conglomerates from Britain, to Norway, to Belgium to France to Italy have had experiences similar to that of Mr. Lay. In short, stealing and mismanagement is not unique to the United States. These European corporate scandals come to mind:
France: The near-collapse and subsequent bailouts (there were at least four) of Credit Lyonnais in the 1990s. The bank was eventually put on its feet and privatized, but only after over $15 billion in taxpayer dollars was used to bail out its management for bad loans and investments it had made.
Germany: Philipp Holtzmann (that nation’s second largest construction company), the construction company Chancellor Schroeder arranged a bailout for in 1999, failed. The scandal coincided with an admission by a senior Christian Democrat that the party put funds into secret accounts when it was in power in the early 1990s. Speaking on German radio, Heiner Geissler - who was number two in the CDU hierarchy under the former Chancellor, Helmut Kohl - confirmed that the accounts had been used to channel cash secretly to local party chiefs. Illegal arms dealers were also involved.
Belgium: The bazaar collapse of their national airline, Sabena, that involved criminal mismanagement involving the Swiss, Belgium and others over many years. It was allowed due to the lack of transparency of accounting methods and the lack of government oversight. The final straw may have been the illegal methods employed by European manufacturer Airbus to get rid of Boeing airplanes, coupled with the questionable code-sharing agreements with Britain’s Virgin Express.
Italy: The scandal at Parmalat SpA comes to mind.
Norway: Ship owning conglomerate OVDS figures prominently in the local crime scene. The company was found guilty of swindling the state out of excessive subsidies, and hit with heavy fines. Many company officers went to prison.
Britain: BCCI is still having a negative impact in England due to its criminal activity. Billions of pounds of depositors were lost. The Bank of England may have been involved.
My point is that mismanagement, bribery, accounting fraud and other illegal activities are not monopolized by any nation or group".
RH: It is little consolation to know that corruption is universal. The problem is to prevent corrupt individuals from obtaining power.
Ronald Hilton -