Sunday, August 13, 2023


As I may have mentioned before, widespread corruption represents the ascendancy of incompetence, because all the incentives start to point away from excellence.

Or to put it another way, as Bertrand Russell did in the 1930s, when several forms of autocratic government threatened to devour Europe's freedoms…

Talent, specifically of the kind which might lead to positive developments, is always stifled. "since it is the nature of bureaucrats to object to all change except increase in their own power," And note, corruption is not even a prerequisite for this to occur.


Russell added: "All serious innovation is only rendered possible by some accident enabling unpopular people to survive." And unpopular people inevitably struggle to survive in autocratic societies. 

The one positive we have in our own moment, is that the autocracies of the early twenty first century, at least in this part of the world, are not really putting in a full shift. Unlike the prepackaged despotisms which cast a shadow over Russell's generation, they are not expending the time and effort required to mould the population in line with their own preconceived patterns. 

They love power and simply assume that the rest of us will grow to love watching them hoard it and abuse it.*

Corruption has become such an end in itself that incompetence has swelled up from the bottom to the top and one is even less likely to come across a would-be dictator with any basic talent for administration or persuasion.



* So-called called plazas fantasmas could be said to represent incompetence in its purest, almost transcendent form.

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