Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Getting rid of the bandits

This interesting post on the Belmot Club details the problems New Zealand and Australia have had getting rid of the bandits who ruled the Solomon Islands.

The Solomon Islands were ruled by a corrupt elite that enriched themselves and maintained power through a web of patroange and graft. When they were finally removed, the patronage and graft went too, to be replaced by markets. As happens so often in South East Asia, it was the enterprising ethnic Chinese inhabitants who prospered under markets, and the ethnic Islanders found the easy government money drying up. So three years later they are rioting.

While folks in countries riven with corruption often complain about it, it seems that they are not too happy when that culture of favoritism ends, because they were the beneficiaries of at least some special consideration some of the time. Sounds a little like the American tax code to me.


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