Wolfie’s honey

Is corruption mandatory for neocons? It sometimes seems that way.

Generally, I believe that corruption is more or less independent of ideology. But neocons do seem to have a penchant for getting caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Paul Wolfowitz, having helped get us into the Iraqi quagmire, is now the President of the World Bank, where he’s installed a bunch of his clueless neocon cronies in senior positions.

On the bright side, Wolfowitz has been campaigning against corruption; as Bob Klitgaard’s Tropical Gangsters recounts, though World Bank officials aren’t usually on the take (or need to be, given how well-paid they are) but there’s substantial corruption among the consultants and developing-country officials who benefit from the Bank’s largess. And of course there are senior Bank officials who are basically some dictator’s nephew. I could forgive a lot to a World Bank president who insisted on cleaning up the organization’s act.

However, if you’re going to be an anti-corruption crusader, you probably shouldn’t arrange for your girlfriend (who can’t, by World Bank rules, report to you directly) to get a detail to the State Department with a huge raise (bringing her pay to $193,000 a year, tax-free, which is a lot more than the Secretary of State makes on an after-tax basis) still being paid by the bank.

Wolfowitz is now no-commenting. Glass house, meet stone.

Update Or maybe not. Ruth Wedgwood says the whole thing is a crock.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com