Lobbying: Corruption in the USA Under Another Name.

Kuh-Loo-John Artwork by Alan B. Nagy

“Lobbying is not only much more prevalent in developing countries than previously thought but also much more effective than corruption as a means of influencing public policy and supporting enterprise growth.” – Nauro F. Campos 2008

When it comes to criticizing developing nations for their rampant corruption practices, I am afraid the west is like the hypocrite in Jesus’ Mote and Beam parable. Lobbying is the beam in our eye, blinding us to the realities of how caustic this practice is for the proper function of a good government. Corruption is the mote in tinpot dictatorships’ eyes.

We often hear that the corruption that’s endemic in developing countries is a fundamental barrier to economic development. One could be excused for thinking that corruption is not just one way to influence policy in poor or developing countries, but it is the only way. Are there any other means? Are these other means more or less effective than corruption? Recent research raises the possibility that one alternative, lobbying, is not only much more prevalent in developing countries than previously thought, but also that it is more effective than corruption as a means of influencing public policy and in supporting the performance of business firms (in terms of sales growth.)

So there you have it “lobbying is more pervasive and influential than corruption,” and the west is more corrupt than any banana republic in orders of magnitude. No wonder things are so screwed up in America at the moment.

Time to take out the Beam in our eye and get rid of Citizens’ United, and unbridled corporate Lobbying in Washington. And when we can see clearly again, only then will we be able to help remove the mote from the eyes of all those corrupt yes men, tinpot dictators and puppet governments we’ve propped up everywhere to do our bidding.

The proud peoples in developing countries don’t need our pity or condescension, or “western style democracy”, all they want is a level playing field, where the poor, the weak and disenfranchised can live with Dignity, Justice and Peace.

Artwork "Sharing the Wealth" by Mark Henson

Artwork “Sharing the Wealth” by Mark Henson

Jesus’ Mote and Beam parable

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Collusion

An often secret agreement or action taken by two or more parties to achieve an illegal cooperation or conspiracy, especially in order to cheat or deceive others especially for fraudulent or treacherous purposes.

Plutocracy

A country or society governed by the wealthy. An elite or ruling class of people whose power derives from their wealth.

Capitalism and Equality

As an economic system based on private enterprise and markets, capitalism has been widely interpreted both as creative and productive for the way it produces wealth and well-being, and as a supporter of economic and political freedom. Others have argued that capitalism is a system of exploitation for  the  way  it generates significant benefits for  some at  the  expense of  others, and thus curtails individual freedom for  those at  the  bottom of  the  distribution of  wealth and income. Are these alternative positions equally convincing?

Is a new liberal/conservative coalition the only hope for America’s tattered democracy?

Whether you’re Green Party or Democratic Socialist, Ralph Nader’s Unstoppable (review below) is compulsory reading for those engaged in charting a new political future for America. Ralph Nader is a working class hero, a man of the people, by the people and for the people. He has never wavered; he is a true fighter for justice and a tireless promoter of the Golden Rule. He is a political giant who will never be appreciated, understood nor celebrated in his own time.

The bipartisan premise of the ‘Nader Think Tank’ provides the argument that together progressive republicans and democrats (disenchanted with the two-party duopoly) need to join forces to build a new party for the next election cycle that will take on the challenge of turning America into the true beacon of hope, justice and democracy in the world. For if America; the zenith of what’s best the west can offer in terms of legal traditions, governance, civil liberties and rule of law can’t pull this off, then may Goodness help us all. America will then have to admit its failure and cede the responsibility (of pulling the world back from the precipice) to the Chinese, Russians or even the European Union, and we might all wonder how well that’s going to go.

unstoppable-ralph-nader

Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State – by Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader has fought for over fifty years on behalf of American citizens against the reckless influence of corporations and their government patrons on our society. Now he ramps up the fight and makes a persuasive case that Americans are not powerless. In Unstoppable, he explores the emerging political alignment of the Left and the Right against converging corporate-government tyranny.

Large segments from the progressive, conservative, and libertarian political camps find themselves aligned in opposition to the destruction of civil liberties, the economically draining corporate welfare state, the relentless perpetuation of America’s wars, sovereignty-shredding trade agreements, and the unpunished crimes of Wall Street against Main Street. Nader shows how Left-Right coalitions can prevail over the corporate state and crony capitalism.

Ralph draws on his extensive experience working with grassroots organizations in Washington and reveals the many surprising victories by united progressive and conservative forces. As a participator in, and keen observer of, these budding alliances, he breaks new ground in showing how such coalitions can overcome specific obstacles that divide them, and how they can expand their power on Capitol Hill, in the courts, and in the decisive arena of public opinion.

Americans can reclaim their right to consume safe foods and drugs, live in healthy environments, receive fair rewards for their work, resist empire, regain control of taxpayer assets, strengthen investor rights, and make bureaucrats more efficient and accountable. Nader argues it is in the interest of citizens of different political labels to join in the struggle against the corporate state that will, if left unchecked, ruin the Republic, override our constitution, and shred the basic rights of the American people.

Featured art Kuh-loo-John – by Alan B. Nagy

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