Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Big City

I don't think there's any way to judge the winner of the corruption olympics, but I do reject the easy assumption that corruption in the "big cities" is necessarily and always worse than elsewhere. Sure big cities are big, so in absolute dollars there's more to take, but the truth is there just aren't a lot of people shining the light on corruption elsewhere, especially now that small papers have folded.

My personal take is that some degree of local corruption is inevitable, and the line between "corrupt" and "the way things are done" is not always as clear as people think. But once we pay the inevitable corruption tax, do things actually work? It's one thing to have 30% going out the door if your roads get built, and your trash gets picked up, and your bus system runs reasonably well. Its another thing if the corruption is so bad that things don't work as they're supposed to.