How Corrupt Are American Companies Overseas?
Despite recent cases involving Walmart and JP Morgan, government regulation has kept business abroad relatively clean. Rather than loosen those regulations, other countries should follow suit.
What's the Latest Development?
Last month, Walmart was accused of bribing Mexican officials to let the company expand faster than the process of securing permits would allow. Prior to that, JP Morgan and several Hollywood film studios were implicating in paying bribes to open up the Chinese real-estate and movie markets, respectively. But despite these high-profile cases, American business abroad has never been cleaner, says James Surowiecki. That's thanks to the Bush and Obama administrations who have sought tougher enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which banned the bribery of foreign public officials in 1977.
What's the Big Idea?
For countries like India, which have no anti-bribery laws, or Russia and China, which do not enforce theirs, greasing the palms of foreign officials is considered a cost of doing international business. Some American academics, notably Samuel Huntington, agree. In developing countries with "hypertrophied bureaucracies", might bribes be an acceptable way to encourage commerce? It might be in the short-run, says Surowiecki, but in the long-run, bribes create financial incentives for bureaucracies to create more red tape. Rather than loosen regulation against corruption, the US should persuade others to fight against it.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
Jonathan Zimmerman explains why teachers should invite, not censor, tough classroom debates.
- During times of war or national crisis in the U.S., school boards and officials are much more wary about allowing teachers and kids to say what they think.
- If our teachers avoid controversial questions in the classroom, kids won't get the experience they need to know how to engage with difficult questions and with criticism.
- Jonathan Zimmerman argues that controversial issues should be taught in schools as they naturally arise. Otherwise kids will learn from TV news what politics looks like – which is more often a rant than a healthy debate.
Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
- Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
- This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
- The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
It marks another milestone in SpaceX's long-standing effort to make spaceflight cheaper.
- SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy into space early Tuesday morning.
- A part of its nosecone – known as a fairing – descended back to Earth using special parachutes.
- A net-outfitted boat in the Atlantic Ocean successfully caught the reusable fairing, likely saving the company millions of dollars.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.