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Competition as a regulatory governor in Economics, Business and Finance? Yes, it may work over time, but in the process leaves behind a field of desolation. Extremely wasteful in terms of resources; both material, financial and human. Which we have seen time and time again. Hence, the desire and need for Regulation - even if it can become stultifying. But then, that can be remedied and as such is not as wasteful or destructive.

Anand Manikutty

Dear Prof. Becker:

Just a few thoughts:

1. With due respect, I think that an overall/overarching economists' view of corruption is not very useful. A broad overview from empirical economics may. however, be of some (limited) theoretical value

2. Sectoral analysis seems to be far more useful (and within sectoral analysis, analysis of job types). For instance, there is said to be more 'corruption' among used car salesman in the car dealership industry as opposed to among doctors in the healthcare industry in America. (One may quibble a bit about what is moral and what is not but even for somebody like me who was not born in America, the same conclusions that other people have come to regarding the level of 'corruption' is in accordance with what I have seen.)

3. Transparency is one of the chief factors in controlling corruption. In general, the greater the transparency in a particular industrial sector, the lower the level of corruption. e.g. there is much transparency in software startups and there is low levels of corruption there -- there is no place for the corrupt to hide.

> Much more important, it is not proof that unethical behavior is more common in business
> than in say government or universities.
With due respect, there is usually much more unethical behavior in business as compared to universities. Professors are sometimes extremely nasty. Some of them play sick mindgames (L.O.F). Still others misrepresent the value of their research. Worse than that, and trust me, this is not a leap of faith, some even lie about research results. Still, due to high levels of transparency in academia, such practices are usually exposed before long.


Anand Manikutty

The first order bit, as it were, is that corruption is primarily a governance issue. Not all the analysis of economists seems to have done much for corruption in countries such as Mexico over the past several decades. Once governance mechanisms are corrupted, it doesn't seem like it has ever been very easy to get things back to Normal. The Normal state of affairs of Humankind, it appears, has always been to be poor and starving, not wealthy and well-supplied. It takes an extraordinary Impetus to get out of this state of affairs.

Further comments to be posted here:


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