In an effort to get back into a daily writing routine, I'm going to jot something out this morning before I leave for work. Evidently, when I get home, I'm too zonked to want to do much more than eat, cruise the net and then sleep. Cruise E-bay: who am I kidding?
Anyway, yesterday I was listening to Marketplace on my drive out to meet my professor. I was only halfway listening, so you'll have to click on this link to find out how accurate what i'm about to tell you is. Here's what caught my ear: some sociologist/economist/somebody or other wanted to know how corrupt members of a generally corrupt society were. How do you measure that? On the micro level people always claim to be more morally upright than their governments. He decided to see how people abuse - or don't - diplomatic immunity. He tracked parking tickets of ambassadors and their staff to the UN. What he found was that over an 8 year period, ambassadors to places like Bangladesh and Chad and other countries that have poor human rights records and whom the international community generally agree are corrupt governments, there were thousands of outstanding parking tickets which went unpaid because of diplomatic immunity. However, in the whole of the Scandinavian countries - countries generally who have good human rights records, etc - he found a mere twelve, over 8 years. And most of those were from the guy from Finland. Damn Fins.
Granted, the biggest problem with that fun little exercise is that those individuals represent the corrupt governments, so we'd have to presume they are in fact corrupt individuals. It still doesn't tell us much about the regular folk on the ground. Though, if I were a betting person, I'd bet that many if not most of the people on the ground live corrupt lives as well, simply because that's what you have to do to stay alive. ... in other news, I heard on the radio yesterday - though not a news station, so I can't account for its accuracy - that 12% of the GDP of Mexico is from bribes. Way to go, my peeps. Keep up the embarassment for your American cousins.