Wednesday, November 8, 2017

On The Side

But [Attorney General] Sessions also voiced a concern expressed by many business leaders and politicians over the years: "You just simply can't have a situation in which your competitors pay bribes and you don't."
Trump Used To Disparage An Anti-Bribery Law; Will He Enforce It Now?
On the one hand, I get it. Following a rule that one's competitors don't follow is a voluntary disadvantage. No one likes to compete at a disadvantage when they feel that the stakes are high, and no one likes to feel that they're placing themselves at a disadvantage and not gaining anything for it. But on the other hand, there are no principles of good governance that countenance bribery and other forms of official corruption as a desirable thing.

And so this perhaps feeds into a common critique of the United States; that its businesses are concerned with profitability, and its citizens are concerned with cheap consumer goods, to the exclusion of other considerations. While the United States is thought of as a rich nation, there is the lingering understanding that it got there by screwing over other people. And being more concerned with a little more material wealth than taking a stand against corruption doesn't help that.

There is a feeling in the United States of poverty, and President Trump rode a wave of that feeling into the White House. And in much the same way that a stereotypical Trump supporter is seen to view the prosperity of others as an unwarranted threat to themselves, the Trump Administration seems to view the health of foreign governments as something that unjustly impoverishes the United States. But then again, who ever said that the perception of poverty and ethics were natural bedfellows?

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