Values File

But centralization of power inevitably opens the door

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Unformatted text preview: harm done even by non-authoritarian governments. Individuals in power become kleptocrats: corruption demolishes the common good Peter A. Zuckerman; President, Human Progress Network, HUMAN PROGRESS NETWORK HOMEPAGE, 2003, http://www.hpn.org/publications/commongood.html, downloaded July 23, 2003, p.np While the development of human societies was strongly facilitated by the creation of centralized states, a negative condition emerged in parallel with these developments: "Considerations of conflict resolution, decision making, economics and space thus converge in requiring large societies to be centralized. But centralization of power inevitably opens the door -- for those who hold the power, are privy to information, make the decisions, and redistribute the goods -- to exploit the resulting opportunities to reward themselves and their supporters." Taken to an extreme, this condition converts many societies into "complex kleptocracies." Kleptocracy: A government characterized by rampant greed and corruption. Kleptocratic governments are very common in authoritative societies. But even in democracies politicians and other powerholders are corrupted by their desire to obtain power and maintain it. Their need to gain and hold office (and power) requires contributions from special interests. These in turn expect and receive favorable legislation, government contracts and other economic and financial benefits. This excessive shifting of resources to the well-to-do ensures that many social and economic problems remain unresolved. In effect, a form of mild kleptocracy comes into existence, based on the human weaknesses of greed and hunger for power. The current Enron scandal disclosed that even the highly democratic political system of the United States can be tainted by this weakness. SLHS Value File Culture Harming cultural practice creates a "collective death wish" in the oppressed Ngugi Wa Thiongo, Decolonising the Mind, James Currey Ltd, 1986, p. 3. The oppressed and the exploited of the earth maintain their defiance: liberty fro...
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