Tag Archives: Obtaining income through the government – rent seeking – corruption

Various terms have been used to describe obtaining income through the government that does not provide a good or service.  One of them is corruption.  This typically refers to acts that people consider corrupt, such as government officials taking government money that is not theirs.  People or firms not in the government can also obtain favorable treatment from the government.  Taxes can be avoided, for example.  This is sometimes called corruption and sometimes not.  Rent-seeking is a more neutral term used by standard economics.

Corruption Perceptions Index 2018 shows anti-corruption efforts stalled in most countries

Transparency International January 29, 2019

The 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released today by Transparency International reveals that the continued failure of most countries to significantly control corruption is contributing to a crisis of democracy around the world.

“With many democratic institutions under threat across the globe – often by leaders with authoritarian or populist tendencies – we need to do more to strengthen checks and balances and protect citizens’ rights,” said Patricia Moreira, Managing Director of Transparency International. “Corruption chips away at democracy to produce a vicious cycle, where corruption undermines democratic institutions and, in turn, weak institutions are less able to control corruption.”

The 2018 CPI draws on 13 surveys and expert assessments to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, giving each a score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). To view the results, visit: www.transparency.org/cpi2018   

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Photo: Dollar bills. Credit Kim Dombrowski

The power that the dollar brings to U.S. foreign policy

This outstanding article shows how the need to use dollars in international trade and finance gives the United States great foreign policy power. European countries, for example, do not agree with the U.S. policy of sanctioning Iran, but are forced to go along, so as not to lose access to U.S financial and other markets. Venezuela owns CITGO, but sanctions are preventing it from receiving money from CITGO’s sale of oil to the United States, Venezuela’s major source of money for imports.

The dollar is still king. How (in the world) did that happen? Peter S. Goodman New York Times February 22, 2019

Photo: Dollar bills. Credit Kim Dombrowski

Cover of Moneyland by Oliver Bullogh

Moneyland by Oliver Bullogh

Moneyland: Why Thieves and Crooks Now Rule the World and How to Take It Back – review Tim Adams The Guardian September 9, 2018
Oliver Bullough follows the trail of the filthy rich in this compelling, though not hopeful, study of global wealth and corruption.

Obtaining income through the government 2019

United States

Tainted pork, ill consumers and an investigation thwarted Matt Richtel New York Times August 4, 2019
Drug-resistant infections from food are growing. But powerful industry interests are blocking scientists and investigators from getting information they need to combat the problem.

Trump’s proposed H-2A rules would harm, not help, U.S. farm workers and reduce protections for both domestic and foreign field laborers Jocelyn Sherman United Farm Workers July 26, 2019

Bosses pocket Trump tax windfall as workers see job promises vanish, AT&T, General Motors and Wells Fargo vowed to use tax cuts to create jobs. In fact, they did the opposite. Michael Sainto The Guardian June 16, 2019

If those who work for Uber are classified as employees of Uber and not as independent contractors, Uber (and other employers similarly situated) will have costs rise significantly because of greater protections and benefits that employees are due. Thus Uber and other companies are working to keep their workers classified as independent contractors by government agencies.
Is gig work a job? Uber and others are maneuvering to shape the answer. Noam Scheiber New York Times March 26, 2019

Scientists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that two of three widely used pesticides were so toxic that they jeopardized the existence of more than 1200 endangered species, which could have led to restrictions on their use. However release of the report was blocked by political appointees.
Interior nominee intervened to block report on endangered species Eric Lipton New York Times March 26, 2019

There is a constitutional right to a fair trial. Thus people are harmed when the relevant government does not provide sufficient resources to enable people to have a fair trial.
One lawyer, 194 felony cases, and no time Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Jugal K. Patel New York Times January 31, 2019

How cities make money by fining the poor Matthew Shaer New York Times January 8, 2019
“In many parts of America, like Corinth, Miss., judges are locking up defendants who can’t pay — sometimes for months at a time.”

Other Countries

The Trump-Russia Investigation and the Mafia state Masha Gessen The New Yorker January 31, 2019
“Magyar describes the Mafia state as one run by a “patron” and his “court”—put another way, the boss and his clan—who appropriate public resources and the institutions of the state for their private use and profit.”