Bruce Bueno de Mesquita
Professor of Politics, NYU and Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institution
00:42

Power Corrupts, Corruption Empowers

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In The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita nakedly examines the (often ugly) means by which people are able to gain and keep power.

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Silver Professor of Politics at New York University. He is an expert on international conflict, foreign policy formation, and nation building. His current research focuses on the links between political institutions, economic growth, and political change. He is also investigating the causes and consequences of international conflict as well as national security policy forecasting and analysis.

Using a proprietary mathematical formula that takes into account the self-interests of and alliances among actors in key business and political questions (i.e. whether Iran will build nuclear weapons), de Mesquita predicts the future for businesses and organizations such as the CIA.

His most recent books include The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics (PublicAffairs, 2011) and The Predictioneer's Game: Using the Logic of Brazen Self-Interest to See and Shape the Future (Random House, Inc., 2009)Additionally, he has authored more than one hundred articles and fourteen books on politics, as well as one published novel, The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge (Ohio State University Press, 2001).

Transcript

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita: There is an interesting interplay between power corrupting and corruption empowering.  The causality does not go one way.  It is not that power leads people to be corrupt, but rather, people who are prepared to be corrupt are more likely to come to and hold onto power because, after all, to hold onto power you need to keep the loyalty of the folks who keep you in office,and if that happens to be a small group of people such as in a dictatorship the efficient way to govern is to allow those people to be corrupt so that they make lots of money by being loyal to you, and that keeps you in power.

Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd

 

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