Corruption in Developed Societies

  • Robin Theobald


In the wake of the Irangate hearings in June 1987 a senior Washington Post journalist, David Ignatius, bemoaned the ‘Lebanization’ of American foreign policy. Ignatius was referring to the ‘tawdry Third World’ character of Lt. Colonel Oliver North’s covert operations to supply arms to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. One important indicator of this tawdriness was the apparent inability of North’s ‘slapstick militiamen’ to distinguish between public and private funds (Ignatius, 1987). It is a little surprising that one of the world’s top journalists writing for a newspaper that played a central role in exposing the Watergate scandal should blithely attribute the well-attested and longstanding low level of public morality in the USA to some third world contagion. Reading Ignatius’ hypothesis one cannot help recalling Yankee zealot Elizabeth H. Tilton’s phobia about ‘protestant America’ being overwhelmed by the ‘Big City Tammany Masses’; or the widespread W.A.S.P conviction that the ‘newer races’ are the chief carriers of corruption (see Handy, 1971; Wilson, 1978).


Civil Servant Public Prosecution Royal Commission Metropolitan Police Senior Civil Servant 
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Copyright information

© Robin Theobald 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin Theobald
    • 1
  1. 1.Polytechnic of Central LondonUK

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