We are living in a time when money has eclipsed all other values as a measure of social worth.  Wisdom, devotion to others, the appreciation of beauty, get lip-service, but we are not rewarding them.  It is a bedevilment that has haunted human society since the dawn of history.  Folk stories and religious teachings are full of repeated warnings about the cataclysm that can ensue when lust for lucre dominates a society.  

This is such a time.

Today, money is the dominant measure of social achievement no matter where it comes from or how it is obtained.  It's not about need; it's about winning.  To compete in this race -- for zeroes, in bank accounts -- elites in countries rich and poor are rewriting the rules in their favor.  They are rigging the system.  That is what ordinary people mean by "corruption."  And it is the existential threat facing our generation.

My intent is to combat it, and to help restore to their place of honor other values without which our society can not endure. 

Many people see corruption as a victimless crime.  But it’s not.  Opioid addicts – whose numbers piled up when Big Pharma was disabling DEA enforcement against the companies that shipped millions of pills to village drug stores – are victims of corruption.  The people who lost their homes in the Great Recession, caused by systemic fraud that has never been punished, are the victims of corruption.  Those of you who have been through chemical spills, or the seizure of your property for fracking that benefits no one but a few fat-cat shareholders, are the victims of corruption. Read more here

This Is How Kleptocracies Work

The Atlantic
February 23, 2020,

Sarah Chayes


Trump’s pardons were shocking to some, but to me they were eerily familiar—straight out of the kleptocratic playbook I’ve studied in a dozen other countries.

Read More

Look Out, Corruption Ahead

The Atlantic
April 17, 2020,

Sarah Chayes

As the country mobilizes resources to address the pandemic, politicians and corporations may attempt to exploit the crisis to enrich themselves.



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© 2018 by Sarah Chayes