Money and the Erosion of the Moral Fiber of American Politics and Business

Governmental and private sector corruption is one of the most fundamental yet underappreciated threats to efficacious and democratic governance, transparency and the rule of law. The founders themselves understood the constant danger of power and wealth seeking by elected officials and the importance of limiting this obstruction of healthy democracy. Today, questions are raised about the nauseating and seemingly never ending injection of money into political campaigns as a means to alter public opinion and the subsequent effects on the integrity of the American democracy.

Since the late 19th century, campaign financing has been a hotbutton issue. Just as it was then, now perhaps more than ever, it is evident that money makes a difference in politics. As understood (and perhaps taken for granted) as that may seem, what is not so obvious is the following: exactly how substantial is that difference (especially on the functioning of our political system and on the formation of our opinions about politics)? Does money help to exaggerate partisan animosity among the populace? How important is disclosure? How financially “dark” is the current presidential race with respect to others in the past, why does this matter and what are the implications for the future of American democracy?

Despite past congressional action being taken in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 as a result of a series of corruption scandals (the Watergate scandal and subsequent resignation of President Richard Nixon) which then illuminated the political ills of corporate corruption and bribery and incensed national ire, the United States anti-corruption regime (with respect to businesses and bribery to overseas entities) has only in the past decade come to life as FCPA prosecutions have skyrocketed and devastating fines and penalties have been doled out. What role does international business play in domestic American politics and vice versa?

The United States Congress in tandem with the Department of Justice and SEC has increasingly cast a scathing eye on those engaged in private-to-public corruption in accordance with the augmentation of international business transactions and the phenomenon of globalization. It has allied with other nations worldwide in an effort to stem corruption with the purpose of promulgating democracy, legitimate governance and civil confidence. What does the United States led effort to address corruption in other states private-to-public matters (such as in Russia in the Sergei Magnitsky bills currently disputed in congress) say about our feelings towards corruption and government? More importantly, are such sentiments reflected in the handling of corruption here at home?

My paper strives to answer some of the questions raised above and to examine the origins of the global American anti-corruption regime, reasons for its recent and constant expansion, and its effects on politics, society and (international and domestic) private enterprise. I am planning to also explore the controversy in the current presidential race with respect to historic amounts of money being injected into campaigns by private entities (and whether or not this private actions corrodes democracy), recent efforts in campaign finance reform and public perceptions on corporate influence in politics.

I really hope that you all are having a fantastic semester thus far. I plan to go through each of your proposals and so as to see if I can be of any assistance in direction or clarity. I am very much in the beginning stages of my paper and any help or opinions would be very much appreciated!

Leonard Horne ’13
International Studies and Spanish
Morehouse College

This entry was posted in 2012-2013 General. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Money and the Erosion of the Moral Fiber of American Politics and Business

  1. mkellerman says:

    Leonard,

    Great topic, and a huge topic. I would be particularly interested in reading about the role of non-American investors in U.S. Presidential campaigns. Is this positive? In contemporary international finance, is a foreign entity (or a global entity) justified in attempting to influence fiscal policy? Interest-rate regimes?

    Good luck!

  2. Hey Leonard, I’m very interested to learn more about your paper in November. If you haven’t already considered it, you might want to look into the implications of campaign financing on aggregate levels of inequality and provision of public services. In Joseph Stiglitz latest book (The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future, W. W. Norton & Company, 2012), he discusses this in depth. Here’s an excerpt of the book, printed in the New York Times article, “Separate and Unequal” (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/books/review/the-price-of-inequality-by-joseph-e-stiglitz.html?pagewanted=all):

    “Inequality leads to lower growth and less efficiency. Lack of opportunity means that its most valuable asset — its people — is not being fully used. Many at the bottom, or even in the middle, are not living up to their potential, because the rich, needing few public services and worried that a strong government might redistribute income, use their political influence to cut taxes and curtail government spending. This leads to underinvestment in infrastructure, education and technology, impeding the engines of growth. . . . Most importantly, America’s inequality is undermining its values and identity. With inequality reaching such extremes, it is not surprising that its effects are manifest in every public decision, from the conduct of monetary policy to budgetary allocations. America has become a country not ‘with justice for all,’ but rather with favoritism for the rich and justice for those who can afford it — so evident in the foreclosure crisis, in which the big banks believed that they were too big not only to fail, but also to be held accountable.”

    I look forward to hearing more!

  3. jdaskonas says:

    Leonard,

    Fantastic topic. One of the things I discovered last year while working with some Foreign Commerical Service (FCS) Officers is that foreign (in this case Russian) businessmen are somewhat baffled by FCPA enforcement abroad. They initially can’t believe that American law could apply to them (until their American partners threaten to cut off ties to avoid FCPA prosecution!). In your research, have you come across any other truly global anti-corruption regimes similar to FCPA?

    Best,
    Jon Askonas

  4. Relevant work experience, training, and certification in nursing makes it easy to
    operate this business, but an entrepreneur lacking in these can compensate by reading
    operations manuals and books, or attending training programs.
    Tax allowances are often added by governments to encourage savings and investments.
    If it is family health insurance you are after, it is best to go for
    something that is affordable and encompasses all the members of your family.

  5. Michael says:

    * Coconut oil – for hair and skin care, stress relief, maintaining
    cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity,
    proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problem, heart diseases, high blood
    pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental and bone strength.
    According to the law, middle-class people who don’t have health insurance through their jobs will be able to buy private insurance. Whichever type of policy you opt for, make sure it offers the kind of coverage you need.

  6. * Kicking bad habits like smoking and beginning new habits such as exercising regularly.
    As a result of this, a healthy alkaline balance is obtained creating several health benefits and elimination of problems.
    Many insurance service providers offer various forms of health insurance plans.

  7. Erin says:

    Financial effects of health risk and, by growing use of care, make possible some
    improvement from the risks to health which may be assisted
    directly through the Health insurance. This will
    take less time for processing the policy, as the company has all the documents recorded with them.
    Point-of-Service or POP plans let you choose your main caregiver, and he’s able to refer you to any doctor he chooses.

  8. The cheapest source of the health insurance plans are obviously the
    government health care institutes and the employers insurance package, however for those peoples
    who want the private health insurance as a supplement and for those who don’t have the employers health insurance, this article can give some help to find figure out the right amount of private health insurance plans. Patients rely on the counter medicine because they cannot at all be able to see the experienced doctors. On the website, you’ll find a map that shows whether or not your state is covered federally
    or by your state.

  9. Millions of people have put their trust in Aetna health insurance over the years.
    I remember our first conversation was about Stage 1 Colon Cancer.
    There are other factors to consider prior to
    your purchase of any individual health insurance coverage.

  10. adults, or 84 million people, have been confronted with the prospect of crippling medical
    bills in 2012 because they have had little or no health insurance.

    Unbelievably, private health insurance plans are what these
    hucksters offer. You will have a more objective idea by asking people whom
    you actually trust and know who have also invested in the potential company.

  11. Many seniors will find such services beneficial to their long-term health and comfort.
    And thus, you will be able to encounter the numerous
    benefits and coverage of the plans. Some people have
    very strong preferences one way or the other.

  12. This is subjective in nature; careful scrutiny is advised.
    To tackle the challenge of finding the best visitor health insurance policy, one
    needs to know what is priced reasonably and sensibly.
    If you don’t have a Medicare Advantage Plan, Medigap Insurance can cover the expenses not covered by traditional Medicare There is an open enrollment period for Medigap Insurance during the first six months after you turn age 65.

  13. Alfonso says:

    I am actually thankful to the holder of this site who has shared this impressive piece of writing at here.

  14. One of the most common scenarios is the woman
    who is facing divorce and finds it necessary to consult professionals to help her deal with the emotional consequences inherent to
    end of a marriage. It is important that we know the pros and cons of this bill.
    For healthy people who don’t smoke and aren’t over a certain age, private insurance is easily available.

  15. I’ve been surfing online greater than 3 hours as of late, but I never found any attention-grabbing article like yours. It is beautiful value sufficient for me. Personally, if all website owners and bloggers made excellent content material as you did, the web will probably be much more useful than ever before.

  16. I am really grateful to the holder of this web site who has
    shared this fantastic paragraph at here.

  17. Camilla says:

    It’s difficult to find educated people in this particular topic, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about!
    Thanks

  18. Hola! I’ve been reading your weblog for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the fantastic work!

  19. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on insurance health. Regards

  20. More info: Changes to California Health Insurance Rate Calculation.
    There are certain parameters on basis of which this comparative study should be
    made. Sometimes there is truly nothing the insurance company can do under the
    terms of the contract.

  21. Medical insurance is no longer restricted to government run programs, private health insurance providers have made it possible for people to get the most of their health insurance without paying exorbitant fees.
    Georgia residents are bit lucky as they have wide variety of
    health insurance plans available. A very basic health insurance
    provided by many employers may not be sufficient.

  22. Whether you are looking for quotes or even , you can get
    the quotes you need right online. There are indeed several insurance providers who
    are read with their schemes and plans for investment.

    Coverages Included in the Classic Motorcycle Insurance Quote.

  23. There are several top insurance companies that offer mental health and behavioral services to members based
    on the type of coverage they have. On the other hand, some might find it good to pay higher premiums since they will have to pay lower deductibles and copays.
    Moreover, efficient and experienced people will be ready to take
    up posts in your business.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s