Skip to content
Home » Peter Eigen: How to Expose the Corrupt (Transcript)

Peter Eigen: How to Expose the Corrupt (Transcript)

Peter Eigen – TED Talk TRANSCRIPT

I am going to speak about corruption, but I would like to juxtapose two different things.

One is the large global economy, the large globalized economy, and the other one is the small, and very limited, capacity of our traditional governments and their international institutions to govern, to shape, this economy.

Because there is this asymmetry, which creates, basically, failing governance. Failing governance in many areas: in the area of corruption and the area of destruction of the environment, in the area of exploitation of women and children, in the area of climate change, in all the areas in which we really need a capacity to reintroduce the primacy of politics into the economy, which is operating in a worldwide arena.

And I think corruption, and the fight against corruption, and the impact of corruption, is probably one of the most interesting ways to illustrate what I mean with this failure of governance.

Let me talk about my own experience. I used to work as the director of the World Bank office in Nairobi for East Africa. At that time, I noticed that corruption, that grand corruption, that systematic corruption, was undermining everything we were trying to do.

And therefore, I began to not only try to protect the work of the World Bank, our own projects, our own programs against corruption, but in general, I thought, “We need a system to protect the people in this part of the world from the ravages of corruption.”

And as soon as I started this work, I received a memorandum from the World Bank, from the legal department first, in which they said, “You are not allowed to do this. You are meddling in the internal affairs of our partner countries. This is forbidden by the charter of the World Bank, so I want you to stop your doings.”

In the meantime, I was chairing donor meetings, for instance, in which the various donors, and many of them like to be in Nairobi — it is true, it is one of the unsafest cities of the world, but they like to be there because the other cities are even less comfortable.

And in these donor meetings, I noticed that many of the worst projects — which were put forward by our clients, by the governments, by promoters, many of them representing suppliers from the North — that the worst projects were realized first.

Pages: First |1 | ... | Next → | Last | View Full Transcript