Kleptocracy

Kleptocracy

Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, (from Ancient Greek: κλέπτης (thief) and κράτος (rule), "rule by thieves") is a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often without pretense of honest service. This type of government corruption is often achieved by the embezzlement of state funds.

Contents

Characteristics

Kleptocracies are generally associated with corrupt forms of authoritarian governments, particularly dictatorships, oligarchies, military juntas, or some other forms of autocratic and nepotist government in which no outside oversight is possible, due to the ability of the kleptocrat(s) to personally control both the supply of public funds and the means of determining their disbursal. Kleptocratic rulers typically treat their country's treasury as though it were their own personal bank account, spending the funds on luxury goods as they see fit. Many kleptocratic rulers also secretly transfer public funds into secret personal numbered bank accounts in foreign countries in order to provide them with continued luxury if/when they are eventually removed from power and forced to flee the country.

Kleptocracy is most common in third-world countries where the economy (often as a legacy of colonialism) is dominated by resource extraction. Such incomes constitute a form of economic rent and are therefore easier to siphon off without causing the income itself to decrease (for example, due to capital flight as investors pull out to escape the high taxes levied by the kleptocrats).

An early phase of this is driven by tenderpreneur elites who seek to capture resources for personal benefit.[1]

Effects

The effects of a kleptocratic regime or government on a nation are typically adverse in regards to the faring of the state's economy, political affairs and civil rights. Kleptocracy in government often vitiates prospects of foreign investment and drastically weakens the domestic market and cross-border trade. As the kleptocracy normally embezzles money from its citizens by misusing funds derived from tax payments, or money laundering schemes, a kleptocratically structured political system tends to degrade nearly everyone's quality of life.

In addition, the money that kleptocrats steal is often taken from funds that were earmarked for public amenities, such as the building of hospitals, schools, roads, parks and the like - which has further adverse effects on the quality of life of the citizens living under a kleptocracy.[2] The quasi-oligarchy that results from a kleptocratic elite also subverts democracy (or any other political format the state is ostensibly under).[3]

Examples

International ranking

In early 2004, the anti-corruption Germany-based NGO Transparency International released a list of what it believes to be the ten most self-enriching leaders in recent years.[4]

In order of amount allegedly stolen (in USD), they were:

  1. Former Indonesian President Suharto ($15 billion – $35 billion)
  2. Former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos ($5 billion – $10 billion)
  3. Former Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko ($5 billion)
  4. Former Nigerian Head of State Sani Abacha ($2 billion – $5 billion)
  5. Former Yugoslav and Serbian President Slobodan Milošević ($1 billion)
  6. Former Haitian President Jean-Claude Duvalier ($300 million – $800 million)
  7. Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori ($600 million)
  8. Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko ($114 million – $200 million)
  9. Former Nicaraguan President Arnoldo Alemán ($100 million)
  10. Former Philippine President Joseph Estrada ($78 million – $80 million)

In addition, other sources have listed former PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat as having stolen $1 billion to $10 billion. [5][6][7][8][9]

Narcokleptocracy

A narcokleptocracy is a society ruled by "thieves" involved in the trade of narcotics.

The term has its origin in a report prepared by a subcommittee of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.[10] The term was used specifically to describe the regime of Manuel Noriega in Panama.

See also

References

  1. ^ Turton, A.R. 2010. Shaking Hands with Billy. Durban: Just Done Publications. http://www.shakinghandswithbilly.com
  2. ^ "Combating Kleptocracy". http://usinfo.state.gov/journals/itdhr/1206/ijde/kleptocracy.htm. Retrieved 8 August 2008. 
  3. ^ "National Strategy Against High-Level Corruption: Coordinating International Efforts to Combat Kleptocracy". Archived from the original on 10 July 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080710105943/http://www.state.gov/r/pa/scp/2006/70236.htm. Retrieved 8 August 2008. 
  4. ^ "Plundering politicians and bribing multinationals undermine economic development, says TI" (pdf). Transparency International. 2004. http://www.transparency.org/content/download/4450/26759/file/GCR_2004_press_release_FINAL.pdf. Retrieved October 16, 2006. 
  5. ^ Alon, Gideon; Amira Hass (2002-08-14). "MI chief: terror groups trying hard to pull off mega-attack". Haaretz. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=197188&contrassID=1&subContrassID=0&sbSubContrassID=0. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  6. ^ Nashashibi, Karim; Adam Bennett (2003-09-20). "Business & Economy: IMF audit reveals Arafat diverted $900 million to account under his personal control". The Electronic Intifada. http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article1958.shtml. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  7. ^ For a general overview of the crucial importance of foreign funding in the peace process, and the PNA's use of such aid, see Rex Brynen, A Very Political Economy: Peacebuilding and Foreign Aid in the West Bank and Gaza, United States Institute of Peace Press, 2000
  8. ^ Stahl, Lesley (2003-11-09). "Arafat's Billions, One Man's Quest To Track Down Unaccounted-For Public Funds". CBS News. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/11/07/60minutes/main582487.shtml. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  9. ^ Backgrounder: Corruption in the PLO’s Financial Empire
  10. ^ Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, December 1988

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • kleptocracy — (n.) rule by a class of thieves, 1819, originally in reference to Spain; see KLEPTOMANIA (Cf. kleptomania) + CRACY (Cf. cracy) …   Etymology dictionary

  • kleptocracy — [klep täk′rə sē] n. pl. kleptocracies [< klept (see KLEPTOMANIA + O + CRACY] a political regime whose members make flagrantly dishonest use of their official position for personal gain kleptocrat [klep′tə krat΄] n. kleptocratic adj …   English World dictionary

  • kleptocracy — noun (plural cies) Date: 1819 government by those who seek chiefly status and personal gain at the expense of the governed; also a particular government of this kind • kleptocrat noun • kleptocratic adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • kleptocracy — kleptocratic /klep teuh krat ik/, adj. /klep tok reuh see/, n., pl. kleptocracies. a government or state in which those in power exploit national resources and steal; rule by a thief or thieves. [1815 20; klepto (comb. form of Gk kléptes thief) + …   Universalium

  • kleptocracy — noun A corrupt and dishonest government characterised by greed. Syn: kleptarchy …   Wiktionary

  • kleptocracy — government by thieves Forms of Government …   Phrontistery dictionary

  • kleptocracy — n. corrupt government that takes a exorbitant amount of tax money from its citizens …   English contemporary dictionary

  • kleptocracy — klep·toc·ra·cy …   English syllables

  • kleptocracy — klep•toc•ra•cy [[t]klɛpˈtɒk rə si[/t]] n. pl. cies. cvb a government or state in which those in power exploit national resources and steal; rule by a thief or thieves • Etymology: 1815–20; < Gk klépt(ēs) thief + o + cracy klep•to•crat•ic ˌklɛp …   From formal English to slang

  • kleptocracy — /klɛpˈtɒkrəsi/ (say klep tokruhsee) noun a governing group who steal from the population as a whole to increase their own wealth or power. {Greek kleptēs thief + cracy} –kleptocrat, noun –kleptocratic, adjective …   Australian English dictionary

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