For me this article, if the allegations are true, proves a lot on things.
Boeing ‘selling used parts as new to the Pentagon’ means not only that the the lust for money is strong as ever but that it has reached a new dimension: it seems that consequences don’t matter anymore.
After all it is one thing for Lockheed to bribe some foreign officials – who might had abused their positions – to buy something of an otherwise excellent quality and quite a different one to overburden the defense budget of your own country, to say the least – assuming that the used parts were of the same quality and reliability as the news ones would have been.
American companies – supposedly operating in the freest and most transparent market in the world – perpetrating such practices cast a dark shadow on the future of the whole planet. In the light of these happenings one can only wonder about what is going on in the more ‘opaque’ areas of the Earth….
Legislation without social consent is akin to window-dressing. After the Lockheed scandal the whole world supposedly ‘tightened the spigots of corruption’. So what? Nowadays people question some of the President of the US ‘s actions while on the international arena Siemens, for example, has attracted the lime-lights.
The notion that corruption is something that has to do exclusively with the public employees is half backed. While I may accept the idea that maybe the Japanese officials involved in the Lockheed scandal asked for kick-backs themselves – a practice revived nowadays in some ex-communist countries – I am convinced that nobody from the Pentagon is guilty of anything more than, at most, having too much trust in Boeing. In fewer words it becomes clearer that in quite a lot of instances the active corruption comes from the private sector, specially so in countries were it has the upper hand – precisely the civilized democracies that the most parts of the Earth try to emulate. Maybe these people should exercise more discretion about what attitudes to adopt and what to have second thoughts about – the most important of the latter being the indiscriminate lust for money that has been the first western ‘obsession’ to have been globalized.
I need to end this in a more optimist key. Traian Basescu, the current Romanian President – who is not above suspicion himself – puts it very clearly: “‘Corruption rests with two sides. I do not want to change responsibility, but it must be shared and assumed. A corrupt civil servant cannot be corrupt if they do not have a partner to put money into their hands, a ministry cannot pay by 50 percent more if there is not a consultant to sustain what the constructor says: Yes, we’ll raise the bill’.” and “‘I believe we must, first and foremost, leave hypocrisy behind. The state alone cannot be corrupt, it has a partner, if there is corruption. The state alone cannot be non-performing, it has a partner. Let us together assume what we have to do. The easiest thing for the private sector to do is to criticise the state and the easiest thing for the state to do is to show indifference to the problems facing the business environment.”
Now even if the translation is not very good the message is indeed clear. Swim or sink together. Either we all understand that we cannot go on this path much further – every step in the wrong direction will provoke additional pain on the return trip – or we’ll have to face really dire straits at the end of it.
But the direction we chose depends on nobody but US.