Friday, May 21, 2010

Is Corruption the Cause? The Poverty Trap

By Walden Bello, ZNet, May 20, 2010
Source: Counterpunch
Change Text Size a- | A+ Walden Bello’s ZSpace Page

The “corruption-causes-poverty” narrative has become a standard tool in the hegemonic discourse kit for leaders in some developing countries – where in fact, Waldon Bello argues, it is neoliberal economic policies that are really to blame for poverty. Thailand’s “Red Shirts” are not, however, being distracted by the “corruption” line the World Bank and IMF are pushing, choosing instead to keep their eyes on the prize – the real answer to poverty – replacing neoliberalism with pro-people economic policies.

The issue of corruption resonates in developing countries. In the Philippines, for instance, the slogan of the coalition that is likely to win the 2010 presidential elections is “Without corrupt officials, there are no poor people.”

Not surprisingly, the international financial institutions have weighed in. The World Bank has made “good governance” a major thrust of its work, asserting that the “World Bank Group focus on governance and anticorruption (GAC) follows from its mandate to reduce poverty — a capable and accountable state creates opportunities for poor people, provides better services, and improves development outcomes.”

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