Top 10 Ways the US is the Most Corrupt Country in the World

Those ratings that castigate Afghanistan and some other poor countries as hopelessly “corrupt” always imply that the United States is not corrupt.

VOA reports :

While it is true that you don’t typically have to bribe your postman to deliver the mail in the US, in many key ways America’s political and financial practices make it in absolute terms far more corrupt than the usual global South suspects. After all, the US economy is worth over $16 trillion a year, so in our corruption a lot more money changes hands.

1. Instead of having short, publicly-funded political campaigns with limited and/or free advertising (as a number of Western European countries do), the US has long political campaigns in which candidates are dunned big bucks for advertising. They are therefore forced to spend much of their time fundraising, which is to say, seeking bribes. All American politicians are basically on the take, though many are honorable people. They are forced into it by the system. House Majority leader John Boehner has actually just handed out cash on the floor of the House from the tobacco industry to other representatives.

When French President Nicolas Sarkozy was defeated in 2012, soon thereafter French police actually went into his private residence searching for an alleged $50,000 in illicit campaign contributions from the L’Oreale heiress. I thought to myself, seriously? $50,000 in a presidential campaign? Our presidential campaigns cost a billion dollars each! $50,000 is a rounding error, not a basis for police action. Why, George W. Bush took millions from arms manufacturers and then ginned up a war for them, and the police haven’t been anywhere near his house.

American politicians don’t represent “the people.” With a few honorable exceptions, they represent the the 1%. American democracy is being corrupted out of existence.

2. That politicians can be bribed to reduce regulation of industries like banking (what is called “regulatory capture”) means that they will be so bribed. Billions were spent and 3,000 lobbyists employed by bankers to remove cumbersome rules in the zeroes. Thus, political corruption enabled financial corruption (in some cases legalizing it!) Without regulations and government auditing, the finance sector went wild and engaged in corrupt practices that caused the 2008 crash. Too bad the poor Afghans can’t just legislate their corruption out of existence by regularizing it, the way Wall street did.

3. That the chief villains of the 2008 meltdown (from which 90% of Americans have not recovered) have not been prosecuted is itself a form of corruption.

4. The US military budget is bloated and enormous, bigger than the military budgets of the next twelve major states. What isn’t usually realized is that perhaps half of it is spent on outsourced services, not on the military. It is corporate welfare on a cosmic scale. I’ve seen with my own eyes how officers in the military get out and then form companies to sell things to their former colleagues still on the inside.

5. The US has a vast gulag of 2.2 million prisoners in jail and penitentiary. There is an increasing tendency for prisons to be privatized, and this tendency is corrupting the system. It is wrong for people to profit from putting and keeping human beings behind bars. This troubling trend is made all the more troubling by the move to give extra-long sentences for minor crimes, to deny parole and to imprison people for life for e,g, three small thefts.

6. The rich are well placed to bribe our politicians to reduce taxes on the rich. This and other government policies has produced a situation where 400 American billionaires are worth $2 trillion, as much as the bottom 150 million Americans. That kind of wealth inequality hasn’t been seen in the US since the age of the robber barons in the nineteenth century. Both eras are marked by extreme corruption.

7. The National Security Agency’s domestic spying is a form of corruption in itself, and lends itself to corruption. With some 4 million government employees and private contractors engaged in this surveillance, it is highly unlikely that various forms of insider trading and other corrupt practices are not being committed. If you knew who Warren Buffett and George Soros were calling every day, that alone could make you a killing. The American political class wouldn’t be defending this indefensible invasion of citizens’ privacy so vigorously if someone somewhere weren’t making money on it.

8. As for insider trading, it turns out Congress undid much of the law it hastily passed forbidding members, rather belatedly, to engage in insider trading (buying and selling stock based on their privileged knowledge of future government policy). That this practice only became an issue recently is another sign of how corrupt the system is.

9. Asset forfeiture in the ‘drug war’ is corrupting police departments and the judiciary.

10. Money and corruption have seeped so far into our media system that people can with a straight face assert that scientists aren’t sure human carbon emissions are causing global warming. Fox Cable News is among the more corrupt institutions in American society, purveying outright lies for the benefit of the billionaire class. The US is so corrupt that it is resisting the obvious urgency to slash carbon production. Even our relatively progressive president talks about exploiting all sources of energy, as though hydrocarbons were just as valuable as green energy and as though hydrocarbons weren’t poisoning the earth.

Even Qatar, its economy based on natural gas, freely admits the challenge of human-induced climate change. American politicians like Jim Inhofe are openly ridiculed when they travel to Europe for their know-nothingism on climate.

So don’t tell the Philippines or the other victims of American corruption how corrupt they are for taking a few petty bribes. Americans are not seen as corrupt because we only deal in the big denominations. Steal $2 trillion and you aren’t corrupt, you’re respectable.

59 Responses

  1. Sadly, sadly all too true. I read quickly, did you even get into the incredible corruptions of local political elites? We have some publicity on national politics being bought-and-sold, unfortunately the average American would need to keep up a vigorous network of local journalism, in-person government board monitoring, and reliable local gossip to understand the bought-and-sold aspects of their local governance. And that’s not easy!

    • US blames 3rd world countries for corruption. At the end of the day, guess who’s #1. Borders open forever, and politicians complain??? Really,, Its business for the BIG GOV, and those private business, Billion $ Contracts, WOW no wonder our SS is scrapped when we retire. But lets bomb Middle East for Freedom and rebuilt again? (Sorry forgot the contractors again) I feel sadness for our children and their kids. Wish I was back in the 70s or before where life was normal.

  2. No. 7 states, “The National Security Agency’s domestic spying is a form of corruption in itself, and lends itself to corruption. With some 4 million government employees and private contractors engaged in this surveillance….”

    Four million US government employees and private contractors are not engaged in NSA “domestic surveillance.” There is an approximate total of four million employees who hold US Government security clearances, but they include all sorts of civilian and military personnel engaged in everything from analytical work to diplomats in our embassies. Far from four million employees, the NSA is estimated to have between 30,000 and 40,000 employees, and you can be sure that all of them are not engaged in “domestic surveillance” of the type you describe.

    • Yah, I feel much better with that correction in the air. Don’t all the rest of us too? It’s just overwhelming, all that “benevolence…”

      “We have established what you are madam. We are now just haggling over the price…”

      Yah, I feel much better with th

  3. Paying for government services that should be universal is called “bribery” in the third world but “privatization” in developed countries where it is widely practised and applauded. It is only bad in developing countries because it goes into the pockets of underpaid petty officials, rather than “transparent” corporations who pay shareholders dividends and large CEO salaries. I note that “Transparency International” who produce this index explicitly aim to express business viewpoints. The far greater systemic corruption ( should that be “destruction”) of meaningful democracy in the west – especially in US – is more serious, but not from a business viewpoint – which is all that counts. That is shy “business-friendly” corruption does not figure in these rankings.

  4. Seems some low-hanging frut was missed.

    TARP, bailouts of GM and banks, Affordable Care Act, ARRA were as corrupt as some stuff that made the list.

  5. Oh, come on now! I read here, and see endlessly on the TV how benevolent “the US” is! Bearing in mind that “the US” is just a clumsy and obscure personification that covers all the stuff done by nominal “US” corporations (actually and mostly completelly post-national, self-loyal greed and consumption machines) and the various organs and agencies of the Empire (largely the same set as those enormous, in all senses of that word, corporate blobs) that are funded and staffed by “our” populace…

    link to

    We clearly live in tough times, much tougher than most people want to face. Our species and many other species are on the chopping block. The crimes of humanity against our planetary supports may be fatal, and humanity is nowhere near making an effective corporate choice to change direction. The task of awakening the masses to these crises and rooting out conservative leaders is so huge that our existing movements of sanity are overwhelmed, and too often give up on pressing for changes adequate to the challenges we face.

    It is easy to lose hope in the face of impending environmental disaster. In this photo montage, burning oil storage tanks loom amid warming temperatures and rampant floods. Credit: Creative Commons/Jean Schweitzer.

    In this situation, a heresy with regard to Christian hope has arisen. I will call it “futilitarianism,” having stolen that name from one of its adherents. Futilitarianism is a fairly sober and comforting faith. It allows its believers to be honest about the current crises without having to think through how a positive outcome might be strategized and accomplished. These believers make a strong case for their peace of mind. They are correct about the futility of our liberal halfway measures. They are correct about the fact that we can never know the results of what we do. They are correct that no outward success can replace the importance of dealing with their own inner stress. They are correct in holding that even if the world around us is completely hopeless, we can still hope to live a productive and meaningful life, as the human species slides into the abyss.

    link to

    And the individuals who have figured out how to profitably sucker and kill the rest of us, wholesale and retail, will live their really Large lives and pass away free from any consequences…

    • “The task of awakening the masses….”

      Without commenting on the substance (such as it is!) of your comment, I would point out that the only people who use the term “awakening the masses” are those who used to work for “The Daily Worker” back in the 1950s and today’s dwindling, unreconstructed Marxists who still argue the virtues of Stalinism vs. Trotskyism. Back to the Future, Mr. McPhee!

      • Mr. McPhee’s phrase “And the individuals who have figured out how to profitably sucker and kill the rest of us, wholesale and retail, will live their really Large lives and pass away free from any consequences…” frankly carries more weight than all of your impressive but misguided command of facts and figures regarding foreign policy and modern history combined. Hard science tells us (as succinctly put in the energy graphic posted by Prof. Cole this morning, but much better put in physicist Saul Griffth’s lectures available online) that the U.S. is a bad actor, nay the worst, in terms of its consumption habits.

        “Kill the rest of us wholesale and retail” pretty well hits the nail on the head of where we are going. There is zero wrong with the term “awakening the masses” when it comes to global climate change and environmental catastrophe. A look at any number of studies concerning issues of national importance allows one to see how low on the list of priorities this is for most Americans. It is almost in direct proportion as apathetic to the situation as the scientific community’s alarm is great. And we are running out of time. I take Mr. McPhee’s comment to mean awaken them as to the severity of that crisis.

        I respect people such as yourself and Prof. Cole who have an impressive knowledge of particular areas. But the truth is that all of this nattering – and at this point that is what it is – about foreign policy is simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Collectively as a nation we are putting enormous pressure on the environment that cannot be sustained and asking others to bear the consequences. That a distracted populace now knows more about Paul Walker’s death than human driven environmental degradation stems in no small part from the system Prof. Cole has outlined this morning.

      • Serious Historians, those dedicated,irrepressible, implacable guardians and disseminators of the National Mythology and protectors of the Powers that Be, tell us the whole Cold War schtick was one of the High Points of US Civilization. My first memory of TV viewing was of one episode of the black-and-white McCarthy “reality TV show” in about 1952, on a friend’s early console TV. Scary crap for a little tyke in first grade, starting out in the process of trying to learn how to be a citizen… And of course it’s gotten a lot worse. Maybe it will be a relief to finally come to love Big Brother. And if I can also make myself useful to the Matrix, I’ll get to decline into senescence with some grace… Seems like past service in the older Imperial Army doesn’t count for much.

      • “So it’s down to almost calling you a “Communist sympathizer”. Shades of McCarthyism.”

        As usual, you missed the point. My comment about Mr. McPhee’s use of the term “awaken the masses” was not to suggest he was a “Communist sympathizer,” but to point out how outdated the term is. No one except aging Marxists (and Mr. McPhee) use the term “masses” anymore. It sounds so, well, 1950ish.

        • Sheer special pleading. We’re sorry Bill. Okay, we’ll ditch masses since it’s no longer stylish enough for you. How about “people”? “Popular consciousness”? “People at large”? “The majority”? Just let us know because god forbid we keep on point.

  6. An excellent article which covers this topic and calls out the need for a language and a politics to combat the slide into authoritarianism.

    “Hope in the Age of Looming Authoritarianism” by Henry Giroux

    link to

    As I read the article, almost every paragraph contained a useful point that could be listed here. What follows is only the last two paragraphs from the article. Here they are:

    Reform is necessary but not enough. Democracy is not in crisis; it is moribund, its ideals reduced to either Disney-inspired nostalgia or misappropriated to legitimate its opposite. The United States now lives under the weight of a mode of authoritarianism that needs to be resisted and dismantled. This means moving beyond the call for piecemeal reform. One starting point might be to invent a new language and understanding of politics so as to address the root of the problem Americans face. Rethinking the discourse of politics provides the groundwork for waging struggles to bring under democratic control those economic, political, social and cultural modes of power and politics that have defaulted on democracy and subjected the vast majority of Americans to an unimaginable amount of misery, hardship and suffering. Paraphrasing James Baldwin, the United States in its current form needs to be robbed of its tyrannical power and transformed. The fulfilment of that prophecy comes with a price – humiliation, jail, loss of employment – but the alternative is worse and points to a growing national security, corporate and surveillance state and species of authoritarianism that encourage a range of anti-democratic practices – profit-hungry monopolies; the ideology of faith-based certainty; the pursuit of ethno-racial purity; the militarization of everyday life; the destruction of civil liberties; the practice of torture; and the undermining of any vestige of critical education, responsible dissent, and public dialogue.
    What the American public needs to address is that the United States is no longer on the brink of authoritarianism – rather, it has moved; it is at the stage where every effort is made on the side of corporate, political imagination and financial elites to make sure that the current reign of tyranny is neither challenged nor held accountable. Being indignant is not enough. The time has come to define the possible in an entirely new way. At the very least, this suggests building new social movements, organizations and strategies rooted in the power of the radical imagination, one that is capable of generating new terrains of struggle, practices of freedom and forms of educated hope that make possible what Jacques Derrida once called “the promise of a democracy to come.”

  7. Re point 5, in a comment vastly different from my ordinary position, prison guard unions have had a devastating effect on legislatures as they have argued for longer and more punitive sentencing (enhancing the pay and security of the guards) clearly a form of corruption.

    • Not only prison guard unions but also prisons-for-profit corporations. That is another corruption of the already corrupt American soul.

  8. Jeff Crook

    Wonder if bombs kept depreciate, hitting budget, while bombs dropped are written off. Maybe accounting practices require war?

    • Milo Minderbinder’s “accounting practices?” They sure did in my experience. Under McNamara’s Really Smart Zero-Based Budgeting, artillery units in Vietnam had to expend all their rounds every month or risk getting fewer the next month. forget about the idiocy of the whole enterprise, this one little fillip led to end-of-month “fire missions” of lots of ordnance into the nearest “free-fire zones,” parts of Vietnam that were designated by the High Command as so irretrievably “gook” that anything in there was presumptively guilty of anti-US-Interest Activity, kind of like the thinking so artfully apologized for by some who post here. Since my unit’s tents were pitched just beneath the muzzles of a battery of 155 self-propelled guns, and since Marines have an “artful” sense of humor, once a month these dudes would yell out gleefully so we could anticipate it, “Fire Mission!,” level their pieces, out tompions, and fire for effect over us, the muzzle blasts tending to collapse our sun-rotted tents. Blowing who-knows-or-who-cares-who-or-what to flinders some 8 or 10 miles down range. If you read the desiccated Wiki entry, you either get a nice reinforcement of your pro-warlord belief structure, or a peek into the horror at the heart of what we humans do:

      link to

      Here’s one tiny example of what the global war marketing people trade in, every effing day:

      “The Market for Self-Propelled
      Artillery Systems ”
      link to

    • No but cashflow does.

      That anything on this (very abbreviated) list is news to anybody is a tribute to the power of the corporate media.

    • Steal some snicker bars on 3 separate occasions and that will get you life in some states. Destroy thousands of families future goals, 99 percent, you will get 6-8 months probation and a forgiveness speech. WOW!!!!

  9. Bravo Professor for documenting these facts. Most of us do not think about how our government is actually owned by “special interests”.

  10. ライス ジャーロ

    TI has to be taken for what it is, which is to say a group that relies mostly on the World Bank, regional financial blocks such as the ADB and various countries Chambers of Commerce for their rankings which are done as self-reported surveys i.e. perceptions of corruption as opposed to hard data. To be fair, they are right in saying that it would be impossible to quantify something as hidden, subjective and complicated as corruption. It’s a shame that TI owns ‘corruption’ to the degree that it does or for that matter, that any one group can publish a top 100 list that is then taken as irrefutable science. This is not to say the list is useless, far from it. It’s just not the whole picture and probably has much too much influence.

    I think of TI as answering a basic question: If I were an international businessman, which country would I most likely get ripped off in? I know that’s reductive and they factor in more than that, but that does seem to weigh the most. It would be interesting to have a different corruption scale that gave more emphasis to things like, in which countries does a citizen have to bribe a doctor, policeman, teacher etc. to be treated well. Depending on your definition of ‘bribe’, there may be a very different ranking, as Juan alludes to in his top ten list.

    • And if you were dealing with Wall Street in summer of 2007, you’d be very, very likely to be ripped off.

  11. “With a few honorable exceptions, they represent the the 1%. American democracy is being corrupted out of existence.” -J. Cole

    “The 1%” is a euphemism for the capitalist class. It seems important to accurately describe the perpetrators of the bribery.

    Marx wrote, ” The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.” A necessary first step in changing the capitalist world is understanding it. This involves accurate describing and analyzing capitalism as it really exists. Using “1%” allows capitalism and capitalists to avoid responsibility for the negative outcomes that are necessary consequences of it and it’s relationship to the political sphere. This includes the capitalist class bribing politicians and then providing them sinecures when they leave office in return for their subservience.

    • The 1 percent it is. Not calling it the 1 percent allows the capitalists to pit the 20% against the 80%, when really 19% out of the 20% are in the same boat – called lazy – not acknowledged to contribute anything.

  12. The post “Top 10 Ways the US is the Most Corrupt Country in the World” has a header and comment section but the actual content of the post is missing. Evidently it was there earlier since there are comments. I am using Chrome on a PC at the moment.

  13. Yet if a people know that their country is corrupt does it make it so? If corruption is “normal,” or acknowledged does that make it acceptable? Or just a start at a redeeming correction swing process?

  14. The 1 percent it is. Not calling it the 1 percent allows the capitalists to pit the 20% against the 80%, when really 19% out of the 20% are in the same boat – called lazy – not acknowledged to contribute anything.

  15. The rich create nothing, let alone jobs, and if they were charitable they would let us have our govt back so that we can have sensible policies so that we can survive.

  16. Corruption in the global south is less about personal gain and more about family/tribal/sectarian loyalties. In those societies, you’d be seen as a bad person if you didn’t do favors for your family, friends, family of friends, friends of family, guys from your hometown, coreligionists, etc.

    The American attitude that a commercial transaction between complete strangers with no other link or interest in each other is somehow more ethical is frankly alien to them. It makes us look like a nation of mercenaries.

    Also, even the selfish element of global south corruption is different, being more status-oriented than money-oriented. By being in a position to do favors for people, you are seen as a person of ability, influence, and honor. You’re not doing it simply for a short-term payback, but to pull them into your web of dependency and tribute, where they (and their relatives and posterity) will pay you back far more over time.

  17. 11. The US has a government agency accountable to no one, chartered to break international law. It sells drugs, commits murders and assassinations, bribes other countries, illegally spies, creates wars, sponsors terrorism and trains dictators.

    12. The US has a monetary system, accountable to no one, controlled by private banks which fleece the American public of their wealth and hard labor through artificial inflation and interest.

    • 13. The military-industrial complex can wage illegal and immoral wars with impunity, and it is supported by a pro-war populace with the complicity of our “good Americans” who will also go along with the transfer of national funds from the well-being of its people to more government waste. Cuts to food stamps helping children who already go hungry to bed and to school.

  18. I wouldn’t be surprised if future historians will regard the privatized penitentiary system as a similar abject institutionalized injustice comparable to the institution of slavery. Especially since it largely affects the same minority and often inmates are required to perform prison work.

  19. A key reason the commercial media perform in many of the pernicious ways they do (faux “balance,” passive re-echoing of lies, e.g.) is that the bribes that politicians collect (Professor Cole’s Point #1) are passed along in turn to those media, which thus have a vested interest in “long political campaigns in which candidates are dunned big bucks for advertising.” It is in fact the bottom line of American commercial media that the political system here is one in which “American politicians are [by and large] basically on the take.”
    Ask yourself what would happen to the stock value (and hence executive compensation) of “news and” entertainment corporations if their take from political advertisements were suddenly to evaporate from their quarterly reports.
    Such media will never lend themselves to being a medium through which a campaign to remedy this aspect of our political system gets the slightest traction.
    There may be ways around this. But none of them pass THROUGH the media. (In this respect we are, ironically, in virtually the same predicament as the people of, say, China.) The for-profit media are integrally part and parcel of the political corruption entrenched in this country.

  20. William Jennings Bryan, back in 1905, described the British rule in India as conducted by honorable people, yet nothing more than a system of legalized pillage.

    “…I do not mean to bring an indictment against the English people or to assert they are guilty of international wrongdoing. Neither do I mean to question the motives of those in authority. …. While he has boasted of bring peace to the living he has led millions to the peace of the grave; while he has dwelt upon order established between warring troops he has impoverished the country by legalized pillage. Pillage is a strong word, but no refinement of language can purge the present system of its iniquity.”

    If you examine Professor Cole’s indictment of US corruption, you will notice that very little of it runs afoul of the law. This seems to me, then, to be the genius of the Anglo-Saxon system. It legalizes what in other places would be considered corruption. Other countries fall into disorder because the corrupt are scoff-laws. In the US (and in the British Empire) the corrupt are upholders of the laws, of the system.

  21. I used to say that Switzerland is the most corrupt country in the world because ‘they drive the getaway car for all the bank robbers in the world’. In other words all the corrupt politicians, dictators, etc. stash their ill-gotten gains in Swiss bank accts. that are out of reach of the law of every country on earth. But in the end you’re right, it is America, the dominant nation/economy/military in the world which wins the prize.

  22. Those ratings that castigate Afghanistan and some other poor countries as hopelessly “corrupt” always imply that the United States is not corrupt.

    Um, no.

    link to

    Transparency international lists the United States as the 158th most corrupt country in the world. Out of 177.

    • “Transparency international lists the United States as the 158th most corrupt country in the world. Out of 177.”

      You are totally off the mark. Take another look at Transparency International’s list. the United States comes in tied for 19th with Uruguay. Three countries tie for your fabled 158th: the usual suspects of Burundi, Myanmar, and Zimbabwe. The United States is not even close to the level you mistakenly have assigned it.

      • No, Bill, the mistake is yours. You just failed your reading test.

        “The 158th most corrupt country in the world” and “19th” are the same thing.

        • Got it, Joe. Glad to see we agree on this one. It is beyond risible that there are those who call the United States the most corrupt country in the world. It must have something to do with parallel universes that do not intersect.

  23. Corruption is corruption is corruption…. It doesn’t matter which country has it, or how large the country is, or what form the corruption takes. It is bad, it is wrong, it is illegal, and it is pervasively harmful to the people. So comparing corruption in the U.S. with corruption in other countries just reeks of media sensationalism and misleads the readers from the truth. Corruption is everywhere in every country governed by humans and will remain so, because corruption is part of human nature. The only way to eliminate it is to govern a country completely by pure, incorruptible computers and robots.

    • The trick, from the standpoint of ordinary people who do the work that makes the wealth, and then suffer and bleed thanks to that corruption in all its ugly forms, is to figure out how to limit the inevitable to a tolerable level. In smaller social units, the vulnerability of the Grabbers to correction, from shunning to more violent forms, has a chance of limiting the predation and parasitism. Not so much as the structure gets bigger…

      Some students of humanity call it “slack.” There’s a small area of esoteric erudition where these folks discuss roots, causes, ranges, particular behavior sets and all that, along side some speculative suggestions about ways to control the tapeworms and tumors. link to

      Them robots and computers might not be bribe-able, might not demand their little mordidas, in any form one could anticipate presently. But until the Machine really becomes electronomechanical, without squishy and corrupt protoplasmic involvement, and develops its own ethics (which might, as some speculate, include killing off all that unpredictable anti-Collective protoplasm), the machines and positronic brains will be imagined, created and built in the first instance by the oh so corrupt and corruptible creatures that give us the NSA computers and bots, the “activities” of the CIA and other Mafias and supra-national corporations, the Global Interoperable Dominate The World Just Like The Commies Were Supposed To Plan To Do Network-centric Battlebabblespace,, complete with its core-value myth of “benevolent supremacy” fronting the reality of Krupp-and-Koch-land and the irrepressible impulses of the would-be and are-already Gilded Agers to own (and rent out and consume and shed externalities everywhere) EVERYTHING, with nice little profitable violent sideshows like Notagainistan and Syria and Angola and the CAR and all that.

      In the good-news column, here in FL a pod of 50-odd pilot whales stranded themselves down by the Everglades, apparently led onto the beach by a few diseased individuals. Now, 35 or more of them have turned about and swum back into deeper waters (albeit waters fouled by the whole system “capped” by the BP “Deepwater Horizon incident” with its enormous and growing — thanks to sloth and greed and other venial and mortal sins — burden of plastic crap — oil-based — and dropping pH).

      Anyone care to join them, in the quest for less fouled and healthier seas and survival?

  24. Reading all of these comments from people who couldn’t be bothered to click the first link is funny.

    Yep, the US sure is exceptional. Truly the most corrupt country in the world. lol

    • Corruption is one thing, destructive power another. When a single country with 4% of the population consumes roughly 20% of the planet’s resources on an unsustainable and destructive level with all of the attendant global environmental, political, and demographic pressures that entails, it is, de facto, the most destructive country on the globe. Its utter lack of political will in addressing its excessive consumerism when the environmental consequences are at this late date self-evident, is virtually sui generis, and itself a form of corruption, perhaps the worst.

    • Yah, it’s all a matter of categories and definitions, isn’t it? The Exceptional US and its subsidiaries and affiliates, as pointed out by some of the sneered-at comments, and of course the main post, is run by people who so respect the rule of law and so fear the consequences of its application to them that they went to the trouble of suborning the institutions of legislation, interpretation and enforcement. Defining corruption, that great Leviathan of greed and abuse, out of existence for huge swathes of what people would generally agree, whether or not they click the first link, is the essence of deadly corruption, and criminalizing the trivial, is such a wonderfully Calvinist and hypocritical way of doing business.

      And I bet, naw, I’m SURE, it’s profitable, under some theories of value, to be flacking for the folks who have figured out how to scam the shibboleths that move the masses…

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