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Corruption Threatens China

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  • Corruption Threatens China

    The biggest single issue facing the world in the next fifty years is not radical Islamic jihad, renewed great-power rivalries, third world poverty and collapsing health, or the environment.

    It is corruption.

    All of the problems I mention above are tractable; there are solutions available to them, but a good plan and the resources necessary to carry it through are not enough. If the local institutions upon which we rely to make the end product work are corrupt, all our efforts may be for naught. We see this now in Afghanistan if the central government in Kabul were not riddled with corruption, this fight might not be a slam dunk, but its outcome would be a good deal more predictable.

    Nowhere is this looming problem with corruption more apparent than in China. China is poised to explode onto the world scene as the economic superpower of the Twenty-First Century. As standards of living rise, a more pluralistic form of governance if not exactly a liberal western democracy is likely. But all of that is at risk from rampant governmental corruption.

    China has traditionally had problems with corruption. In the last ten years at least some members of the central government have recognized the problem and taken steps to address it. China has an impressive array of anti-corruption laws on the books. Enforcement is a different matter. Despite some highly-publicized prosecutions and convictions, the rate of government corruption has grown in the last ten years, not declined. By some estimates it has ...


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