To Address Inequality and Poverty, Start By Tackling Corruption

To Address Inequality and Poverty, Start By Tackling Corruption
A protester holds the scales of justice outside the District Court during a hearing in then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial, in Jerusalem, Feb. 8, 2021 (AP photo by Maya Alleruzzo).

Opposing corruption is not “easy” nor is doing so a “convenient distraction” from addressing “the world’s most persistent ills and injustices,” as Gabriella Cook Francis and Christopher Sabatini argued in a recent World Politics Review article titled, “The Corruption Obsession is a Convenient Distraction.” To the contrary, we insist that the “ills and injustices” to which the authors refer will never be properly addressed while endemic serious corruption, kleptocracy and state capture are allowed to persist in modern states.

Our interest in the topic and our desire to correct what we consider to be the misconceptions in their article stem from our involvement in Integrity Initiatives International, or III, a Boston-based international civil society organization. III is best known for its advocacy for the establishment of an International Anti-Corruption Court—a court of last resort for corruption cases that, like the International Criminal Court, would operate on the basis of complementarity, meaning in cases where national courts cannot or will not take action.

While our role makes us interested parties to this debate, it also affords us a unique perspective based on lived experience in the field of anti-corruption work. The fact that III has worked very hard in its advocacy of the establishment of the IACC, as the proposed court is known, ought to tell objective observers that there is indeed a problem with addressing kleptocracy, state capture and serious corruption in the world today.

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