Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, (from Greek: κλέπτης - kleptēs, "thief" and κράτος - kratos, "power, rule", hence "rule by thieves") is a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often with pretense of honest service. This type of government corruption is often achieved by the embezzlement of state funds.This blog does not focus, directly or indirectly on kelptocracy issues. I guess they could be related in some way to U.S. tax noncompliance. But it is not clear that this one was.
Rather, I post this entry because of the role the U.S. and foreign financial institutions played in assisting the former dictator and his associates in hiding the money. Hiding the money is what the IRS offshore account initiative for U.S. taxpayers has been all about. Solutions to the tax issues (for all countries, not just the U.S.) require transparency. Those solutions will make it harder for kleptocrats to hide their ill-gotten gains. Joe Louis, the famous boxer, is reputed to have said: "He can run, but he can't hide." We are moving into a brave new world for a whole host of people who have an incentive to hide and will be constrained in doing so.
Of course, the human race is communal. If not, we would not have a human race today. Throughout most of our history, wealth was transparent to the community -- maybe not in the sense of finite bottom-line net worth, but the trappings of wealth were physical. We knew who the guys with wealth were and, in a sense, we knew how wealthy they were. And we could assess the community's coherence and bonding by how people contributed to the community and were rewarded for doing so. With secret financial institutions for hiding wealth, we lose that ability to assess and, as a community, demand what is best for the community.
So, as readers who have read this far, will know. I think transparency is a good thing. FATCA is a good thing. And the global initiatives it and the U,S. spotlight on tax havens have spawned are good things.
We are all in this together.