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Cover of Predatory Value Extraction by William Lazonick and Jang-Sup Shin

Predatory Value Extraction by William Lazonick and Jang-Sup Shin

The economist who put stock buybacks in Washington’s crosshairs Sheelah Kolhatkar New Yorker June 20, 2019

Predatory value extraction James McRitchie Corporate Governance April 29, 2020 Comments William Lazonick Corporate Governance May 7, 2020 Comments Jang-Sup Shin May 5, 2020

Cover of Predatory Value Extraction by William Lazonick and Jang-Sup Shin

Image: Corruption Perceptions Index 2019. Credit Transparency International

Corruption Perceptions Index 2019

Berlin, 23 January 2020 – More than two-thirds of countries – along with many of the world’s most advanced economies – are stagnating or showing signs of backsliding in their anti-corruption efforts, according to the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released today by Transparency International.

Countries in which elections and political party financing are open to undue influence from vested interests are less able to combat corruption, analysis of the results finds.
“Frustration with government corruption and lack of trust in institutions speaks to a need for greater political integrity,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International. “Governments must urgently address the corrupting role of big money in political party financing and the undue influence it exerts on our political systems.”

CPI Highlights

The CPI ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, drawing on 13 expert assessments and surveys of business executives. It uses a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

[Transparency International defines corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. This definition encompasses corrupt practices in both the public and private sectors. The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks countries according to the perception of corruption in the public sector. ]

More than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of only 43. Since 2012, only 22 countries have significantly improved their scores, including Estonia, Greece and Guyana. Twenty-one have significantly declined, including Australia, Canada and Nicaragua.

Our research shows several of the most advanced economies cannot afford to be complacent if they are to keep up their anti-corruption momentum. Four G7 countries score lower than last year: Canada (-4), France (-3), the UK (-3) and the US (-2). Germany and Japan have seen no improvement, while Italy gained one point.

Corruption and Political Integrity

Analysis shows that countries that perform well on the CPI also have stronger enforcement of campaign finance regulations and broader range of political consultation.

Countries where campaign finance regulations are comprehensive and systematically enforced have an average score of 70 on the CPI, whereas countries where such regulations either don’t exist or are poorly enforced score an average of just 34 and 35 respectively.

Sixty per cent of the countries that significantly improved their CPI scores since 2012 also strengthened regulations around campaign donations.

“The lack of real progress against corruption in most countries is disappointing and has profound negative effects on citizens around the world,” said Patricia Moreira, Managing Director of Transparency International. “To have any chance of ending corruption and improving peoples’ lives, we must tackle the relationship between politics and big money. All citizens must be represented in decision making.”

Countries with broader and more open consultation processes score an average of 61 on the CPI. By contrast, where there is little to no consultation, the average score is just 32.

A vast majority of countries that significantly decreased their CPI scores since 2012 do not engage the most relevant political, social and business actors in political decision-making.

Recommendations

To reduce corruption and restore trust in politics, Transparency International recommends that governments:

  • Reinforce checks and balances and promote separation of powers.
  • Tackle preferential treatment to ensure budgets and public services aren’t driven by personal connections or biased towards special interests;
  • Control political financing to prevent excessive money and influence in politics;
  • Manage conflicts of interest and address “revolving doors”;
  • Regulate lobbying activities by promoting open and meaningful access to decision-making;
  • Strengthen electoral integrity and prevent and sanction misinformation campaigns;
  • Empower citizens and protect activists, whistleblowers and journalists;

For a full list of recommendations, go to: www.transparency.org/cpi2019

Image: Corruption Perceptions Index 2019. Credit Transparency International

Cover of 'Unworthy Republic' by Claudio Saunt Credit: W.W. Norton

Unworthy Republic: The dispossession of Native Americans and the road to Indian territory by Claudio Saunt

‘Unworthy Republic’ takes an unflinching look at Indian removal in the 1830s Jennifer Szalai New York Times March 24, 2020
Saunt’s book traces the expulsion of 80,000 Native Americans over the course of the 1830s, from their homes in the eastern United States to territories west of the Mississippi River….Saunt argues that Indian Removal was truly “unprecedented”; it was a “formal, state-administered process” designed to eliminate every native person to the east of the Mississippi — a systematic expulsion that would later serve as an ignominious model for other regimes around the world.

Cover of Unworthy Republic by Claudio Saunt. Credit W.W. Norton

Cover of The Hidden Wealth of Nations Credit: University of Chicago Press

The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The scourge of tax havens by Gabriel Zucman

Trillions of dollars have sloshed into offshore tax havens. Here’s how to get it back David Scharfenberg Boston Globe January 20, 2018

See this page The Hidden Wealth of Nations for further book reviews and informative slide presentations by Zucman.

Cover of The Hidden Wealth of Nations Credit: University of Chicago Press