Corruption, The American Way

So apparently an Ambassadorship costs $1.8 million per post in the US.

In virtually any other country, even where the situation with corruption is quite dismal, such arrangements would be seen as unquestionably corrupt. And yet the US scores an entirely respectable 73/100 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), leagues above say Italy which gets 42/100.

The reason I mention Italy is that I was once discussing the question of corruption in different countries with an Italian. He said that what in the US is known as “political lobbying” would be treated as a criminal activity in Italy, and indeed in most of the rest of Europe. Hence why in the Med countries you get far more cases of corruption in the form of cash in envelopes. In the US that’s against the law, but that’s not such a big deal, because the law – or rather the absence of it – allows for the same thing, just in indirect formats (expensive dinners, contributions, astronomic speaking fees, stock performances superior to those of corporate insiders, etc). But that kind of corruption is “deniable” and hence respectable, whereas the direct kind is crude and distasteful, a defining feature of disorganized Third World countries.

In Italy, regulations against corruption and weaselly dealings in general are stringent. Now because Italians tend to corruption in general, either by nature or nurture, this means that the high incidence of such endlessly knocks against their corruption ratings. In the US, however, the factual “legalization” of much of what passes for corruption in Europe allows it to remain relatively unscathed in such international assessments.

There are many other such examples. Saudi Arabia, for instance, is insanely corrupt if you think rulers siphoning off billions of dollars off the oil budget is fundamentally illegitimate (as is alleged but never evidenced for Russia’s “mafia state” and Putin’s Swiss bank accounts). But it’s all quite legal there, which is why – hard as it is to believe – Saudi Arabia scores higher than not only Russia, but even Italy in the CPI.

So the solution is simple. Just legalize your corruption, and move up to the top in both the World Bank’s Doing Business ratings and soon enough in the Corruption Perceptions Index. Don’t forget to be slavishly pro-American in your foreign policy. Investors will love you for it. Well, maybe not, at least once said investors get to know you a bit better, but at least you’ll get glowing reviews from the Wall Street Journal and Transparency International. That’s how you become a made country in Davos World.

GCB2013 Released

Here it is. Or just skip the graphics and download the data in Excel here.

I can’t say I care much about most of it. Of course most people everything think corruption is “increasing,” because they are a grumpy lot.

What does matter is the number of people who report paying a bribe in the past 12 months. It is as close to objective measurement as you can get in a sphere of life as indefinite and necessarily opaque as “corruption.”

Below is a quick table summarizing the results from the most notable countries (no comment where it’s pretty much “as expected”).

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Review of “The Otherness Of Self” by Xin Liu

“The Otherness of Self” by Xin Liu, published in 2002. Rating: 1/5.

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I don’t want to sound overly demanding, but really, unless a writer is the next Kant or Heidegger, he owes it to his readers to make his prose at least minimally engaging. With this book on too many occasions I was under the impression that I was reading something from the Postmodern Essay Generator. Here is a totally random quote I just pulled from [easyazon_link asin="0472068091" locale="US" new_window="default" tag="httpakarcom-20" add_to_cart="default" cloaking="default" localization="default" nofollow="default" popups="default"]THE OTHERNESS OF SELF[/easyazon_link]: “As Carr argues, a solution to the problem of experience is provided by the Husserlian idea of retention-protention as a horizon from which the experience of being experienced at the present moment stands out.

Come again, amigo? About 80% of this book is PoMo-babble, as verbose as it is apparently meaningless – one is under the distinct impression that Xin Liu is padding out a thesis paper with references to thinkers who are not really at all relevant to the putative object of his studies, the Beihai Star Group and South Chinese business culture. It is with this in mind that we come to the actual content, unearthing which expends no small time of energy and sanity.

In this book, the anthropologist Xin Liu argues that “the human experience itself is narrative in character… time is the life of narrative.” By extension, social life is centered around the perception of time as it relates to the past, present, and future, as well as to the sense of “before” and “after”. He analyzes China’s changing society through the prism of its changing conceptions of temporarily as described in three contemporaneous books representative of the time periods in which they were written, as well as his own observations of business life in Beihai.

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The Fraud Of America’s “Rape Culture”

In my previous post about the real incidence of rape (it is in massive decline! contrary to the claims of the campus rape industry), I said there was a discrepancy in the National Crime Victimization Survey statistics about its prevalence in the past several years. Steven Pinker writes that it was at 50/100,000 in 2008, whereas the only data I was able to access showed it to be at about 94/100,000 in 2011. Since it’s rather unlikely that the incidence of rape has doubled in the past three years, I suggested that either Pinker made a mistake or the NCVS has changed its definitions.

I was pleased to receive a reply from Steven Pinker on this and it seems that the second option is the likely one. The first one is certainly wrong, because he attached a spreadsheet showing the NCVS figures on rape for 1973-2008, and they do indeed show it declining from around 250/100,000 in the 1970’s to just 50/100,000 in recent years.

On the basis of that data I made the following telling chart.

rape-rates-usa-ncvs

It shows that a generation ago there really was something of a “rape culture” in that your average rape was very unlikely to be reported to police. Ironically, it was at precisely the time in history that reports of rape to police started to converge with the number of people who said they were raped in that year that all this rape culture rigmarole got going.

But as we can see, by that point the train had long departed. With reported rapes drawing close to the anonymously reported general incidence of rape*, plus the inherent ambiguity and fluidity around what actually constitutes rape, it is practically impossible to continue to imagine in good faith that a large number of innocent men aren’t getting tangled up in the narrow space between those two converging lines.

(Finally, even within just the modern US, there will be significant differences in rape prevalence between different regions and socio-economic groups. For instance, “rape culture” is considered by feminists to be more prevalent on the nation’s campuses. But considering that the average college student is one S.D. higher in IQ than the national average, and the close correlation between IQ and crime rates, it is in fact quite likely that modern US college towns are some of the very safest places for women in history. Then again it’s much safer to rant about “campus rape culture” from an actual campus than from within some inner city ghetto).

That is why I think that the higher-end (i.e. 25%+) estimates for false rape accusations, far from being the products of MRM chauvinist hysteria, are in fact the most credible ones today.

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I Don’t Care About Bradley Manning

No matter how you look at it, he is a traitor. He violated the UCMJ. Although he is free to make ethical arguments as to why he leaked Collateral Murder and the US Embassy cables, the US is fully within its rights to prosecute him.

I’m quite consistent about this: Treason is a punishable offense, no matter where and why it happens. I do not have an issue with the US executing the Rosenbergs or the USSR executing Western spies during the Cold War either. It’s part of the risk you take when you choose to sell out your country for a few shekels. This likewise applies when you do it not for money but for “idealistic” reasons.

I agree that in a perfect world, the fact of Manning (1) releasing it out of ethical, not monetary convictions and (2) giving the entire world access to it, as opposed to foreign hostile intelligence services – unlike, for instance, the Russian KGB traitor, Vasily Mitrokhin – should be a mitigating factor. However, as a sovereign nation, the US has no obligation to take that or international left/liberal opinion into account.

The Assange case is completely different. Here the US is trying to extend its jurisdiction to the entire world, so that an Australian citizen can now be found guilty of “espionage” against the US even if he’d never stepped foot inside it. This is called imperialism, and we are opposed to it. What’s more, the methods used to do it are particularly nauseating and underhanded. The probable plan is to extradite Assange to Sweden, from whence he can be quietly renditioned to the US. All based on incredible and patently false rape accusations, questioning which is going to get you blacklisted and smeared by legions of Guardianistas, PC brigades, concern trolls, and sundry useful idiots of imperialism. It would be infinitely more respectable for the US to just whack him.

That is why I support Assange to the hilt, but don’t care for Manning. It’s a very logical and consistent position, I think, but many don’t see it that way. They view it as anti-American, misogynist, and reactionary. I think it is pro-American, anti-imperialist, and pro-rule of law.

Much Ado About Rape: Quantifying A Big Taboo

The past two days I had the pleasure of observing the blowout over a post by blogger Matt Forney about rape – or more precisely, about “how to rape women and get away with it.” It’s completely satirical, quite funny, and one can’t help but by impressed by the size of the balls (no homo) needed to write that shit in a culture where rape is far more of a taboo than murder. Not very logical that, is it? But it’s true. You can assault people with reckless abandon or even shoot up civilians at a Russian airport in any number of FPS games, but rape is a no-no (so is even normal sex, for that matter). Unless you’re in Japan, but I digress…

Anyhow, I don’t know what set off the tripwire – Mr. Forney had published the article in question months ago – but within a few hours he was getting a flood of Internet hate from assorted Tumblr feminists and their angry beta male orbiters. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s “Director for International Freedom of Expression” expressed the hope he’d get fired; others called for him to be raped and/or killed. The Anonymous brigade also joined in. After a couple of days, they blackmailed him into taking the post down. You can still read the original here at this blog (which is ironically enough dedicated to PUA hate).

As anyone can quite clearly see, the real issue Mr. Forney was addressing was false rape, and more specifically the campus rape industry that has sprung up in recent decades to employ the new legions of Gender Studies majors. According to those moonbats, something like 25% of female university students were raped in the course of their studies (suffice to say pulling down your panties after having had too much to drink and regretting it afterwards qualifies as “rape” in their bizarro-world). One almost can’t refrain from making jokes at their expense, but since that doesn’t tend to turn out so well, I will focus on statistics as is my wont anyway. After all, facts and data are much more difficult to censor out of existence than articles that can be construed – however tendentiously – as “promoting” rape.

The National Crime Victimization Survey is a dataset of interviews with a vast and representative sample of the US population that aims to get an objective picture of the true incidence of crime in America. The graph below is from the book The Better Angels of our Nature by Steven Pinker, a dyed-in-the-wool end-of-history type liberal: “It shows that in 35 years the rate has fallen by an astonishing 80 percent, from 250 per 100,000 people over the age of twelve in 1973 to 50 per 100,000 in 2008.” Now one has to give the feminists their fair due; if not for their anti-rape campaigns, the rate of decline would have likely been slower. Nonetheless, it is ironic that the public panic over rape and sexual assault has risen to fever pitch at precisely the moment in history when the real lifetime risk of becoming a victim of rape has never been lower.

incidence-of-rape-us-pinker

Now to be honest again, I do not know if the 50 per 100,000 figure is entirely accurate. Checking the data directly gives 243,800 rapes for an over-twelve population of 257,542,240 in 2011, which translates to a rate of 94 per 100,000 for 2011. Whence the discrepancy? I don’t know. Maybe Pinker made a mistake in his calculations. Or maybe it’s a semantic difference; whereas Pinker refers to just “rape”, the NCVS study linked to above calls it “rape / sexual assault.” Maybe they are treated as distinct crimes? Regardless, it is not even in the same ballpark as the 25% victimization rates – during four years of college – cited by the campus rape industry. It is, in reality, as gauged by a representative sample of the population of whom half will be women, much less than 1%, and probably around 0.1% or 0.2%.

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