Monday, September 14, 2009

Sparkast 3: "Corruption and Poverty: Barking Up the Wrong Tree?"

This podcast has me reading some salient points from Walden Bello's 2009 edition of The Anti-Development State: The Political Economy of Permanent Crisis in the Philippines.

From Chapter Seven entitled Corruption and Poverty: Barking Up the Wrong Tree?:
Corruption discourse becomes very handy for elite factions wishing to discredit the ruling faction and to present themselves as the alternative. Implicit in this discourse is that all will be well if only the voters remove those who are corrupt and replace them with other elite factions. All that is needed is a replacement of personnel, not the arrangement in place.

If anything, the prevalence of the corruption discourse, or what one author calls "scandal politics" only serves to underscore the deliberate shutting off from public discourse discussions on any other real political and economic alternatives. The ease by which politicians rattle off corruption charge against their enemies only highlights the lack of any real meaningful difference among political and economic programs of the competing parties and personalities.

The more convincing explanation for the country's poverty and underdevelopment lies more with the ruling elite factions' control over people, production, markets and resources and the successful subordination of the state to their interests. The country has failed to develop and so many of its people are mired in poverty because the state, strangled as it is by competing factions' demands, has been rendered too powerless to even chart the country's direction, mcuh less subordinate ruling elites under its control.
The podcast is 30 minutes long. Download here. Listen to the stream here.

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