Regarding the April 6 article “Can China’s new government end corruption?“: China’s corruption can be solved by simply taking a page from the United States and legalizing it.
Politicians in the U.S. like to point their collective finger at China for corruption problems while they sanction a legalized system. In the U.S., politicians receive untold millions legally funneled to them by political action committees. The PACs assure that Congress votes the way that those who provide the money want it to.
Developing countries haven’t quite reached such a sophisticated level of graft. There are no third-party lobbyists to do the dirty work; you need to get up close and personal if you want to get things done. And slipping the right person some money will grease the bureaucratic wheels and get things moving. In addition, civil servants in developing countries are paid little. Government jobs are coveted because of their stability and earnings opportunities.
Criticism of Chinese corruption in the West is actually just a diversion. Typically, in developing countries, a lot of money goes under the table to support people doing the work; but with the PAC system, all the bribe money goes directly to the seat of power. Another difference is that, in the West, civil servants are paid a comfortable wage as a result of runaway borrowing.
This system cheats Americans twice — once when the PACs decide how the people’s representatives will vote, and again when taxes needed to repay rising debt get ever higher.
In China, people who use services pay for them, and taxes are lower. Not that President Xi Jinping cares what the U.S. thinks, because in reality, the U.S. depends on China. If China stopped lending money to the U.S., the financial crisis of 2008 would seem mild. While leaders in the U.S. tout that they are a nation of laws, the question is, who is making the laws and for whose benefit?
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.