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Legalised bribery – an American opinion with relevance for Queensland

January 27th, 2015

Legalised bribery – “Corruption exists when institutions and officials charged with serving the public serve their own ends. Under current law, campaign contributions are illegal if there is an explicit quid pro quo, and legal if there isn’t. But legal campaign contributions can be as bad as bribes in creating obligations. The corruption that hides in plain sight is the real threat to our democracy. Think of campaign contributions as the gateway drug to bribes. In our private financing system, candidates are trained to respond to campaign cash and serve donors’ interests. Politicians are expected to spend half their time talking to funders and to keep them happy. Given this context, it’s not hard to see how a bribery charge can feel like a technical argument instead of a moral one.”

2015-01-27_productivity

  • Productivity of High-Income Countries in the Long-Run – “No matter how you slice it, productivity growth is low all around.”
  • Scientists Just Found a Way to Make GMOs Much Safer – “Biotech researchers think they’ve found a way to keep modified genes from escaping into other organisms.”
  • Ending Greece’s Nightmare – “So now that Mr. Tsipras has won, and won big, European officials would be well advised to skip the lectures calling on him to act responsibly and to go along with their program. The fact is they have no credibility; the program they imposed on Greece never made sense. It had no chance of working. If anything, the problem with Syriza’s plans may be that they’re not radical enough. Debt relief and an easing of austerity would reduce the economic pain, but it’s doubtful whether they are sufficient to produce a strong recovery.”
  • Defying the Assassin’s Veto – “The massacre of Charlie Hebdo journalists in Paris on January 7 was an attempt to impose the assassin’s veto. Where the heckler’s veto says merely ‘I will shout you down,’ the assassin’s version is ‘dare to express that and we will kill you.’ Instead of the academic’s metaphorical ‘publish or perish’ we have the Kouachi brothers’ ‘publish and perish.’ In the quarter-century since the fatwa on Salman Rushdie, this has become one of the largest threats to free speech in the West, and certainly the most extreme.”

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