I have a personal purpose, but here is my public interest purpose: Democracy inevitably degenerates into wealth-consuming kleptocracy, liberty-stripping fascism, and dignity-eroding central planning when the citizens of a nation do not have accurate information about the actions and intentions of their government. As you can learn from the deep research and analysis reflected throughout this website, the actions and intentions that are publicly declared by the U.S. Government are often inconsistent with the actions, intentions, personal ambitions, and paternalistic hubris of the tiny group of elected and unelected humans who control the U.S. Government.
While attempting to represent the interests of their constituents, politicians must also do everything possible to satisfy their special interest benefactors. This dynamic creates significant conflicts interest, opportunities for waste and abuse of taxpayer resources, institutional dysfunction, and a constant gravitational pull toward systemic corruption. For all these reasons, the information I provide on this website is a small but meaningful contribution to restoring trust in American Democracy and Capitalism.
The concept of corruption is a major theme in discussions of comparative political economy; so it’s important that we all have the same definition in mind. As we explore the concept of corruption in many contexts throughout this website, please remember that the kind of corruption we’re discussing should not be amplified with gratuitous emotional commentary. We should be primarily focused on the corruption of institutional and economic systems and processes that result in widespread human pain and suffering, not the subjective and culturally-biased moralizing of individual victims and perpetrators within these systems.
With that in mind, I define “corruption” precisely as follows:
Corruption: any significant deviation from, or malfunction of, the intended purpose, spirit, structure, or character of an individual or process within an institutional, political, or economic system.
There are many investigative journalists who already do a fine job of exposing corrupt corporate and political officials. In contrast, I’m focused on exploring and empirically quantifying how corporate, economic, and governmental stewardship impacts the long-term quality of life of human societies. The day-to-day soap opera of “politics” and the corporate propaganda that dominates the news cycle in the media is usually irrelevant to the broader historical trends and rhythms that determine the economic, political, and cultural fate of human civilizations. From this perspective, the names of the politicians and talking heads that rise and fall during each election cycle are almost completely irrelevant.
What really matters is the institutional positions that senior governmental and corporate officials control within a society and the institutional incentive structures that govern their behavior. This is their “position power,” not their “personality power” (although sometimes personality power can corrupt the institutional integrity of governments and corporations, which I’ve written about elsewhere). We can more effectively analyze their behavior, policies, and corresponding consequences in the world by ignoring the distractions associated with all the personality-driven political drama that generally conveys no substance or insight into the long-term impact of their policies. Demonizing, indicting, and antagonizing people personally only triggers irrational, ego-driven counter-attacks, which adds no value to this nonpartisan process. For a deeper understanding of this philosophy, read my article about Political Redemption & Reconciliation.