Monday, August 03, 2009


In the Wikipedia entry on Kleptocracy

I am currently listening to The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and one of the main themes is the ruling of the Dominican Republic by Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina. Trujillo was the dictator (though not necessarily president) from 1930 - 1961. At one point, the author describes the regime as a kleptocracy.

Not entirely sure what that meant, I googled it on my crackberry. It took me to the wiki page referenced above. Basically, it's a pejorative term which refers to the rulers as "thieves". Embezzling from their people to fund their own lifestyles. Ok, make sense.

Then I scroll down and see the entry "Narcokleptocracy". At first, I think I misunderstood it to say "Necrokelptocracy" so I thought maybe it was the dead stealing from the public? Then I realized it was "Narco" and thought, um...they try to embezzle from the country and fall asleep?

No, it would seem that it was a phrase coined to describe Manuel Noriega, who was never reported to have suffered from narcolepsy. It means a government of thieves involved in drug trafficking.

Now, I have a bit of an issue with this. The narcotics trade may be a scourge and it may have its corruption, but it IS a trade. It's a business. It's not about stealing, it's about buying and selling a product. It's a complicated issue, but it's pretty classic supply/demand thing. So, my only point is that one can have a kleptocracy and one can have the narcotics trade, but they seem kind of complimentary, not really parts of the same political theory. That's all I'm saying.

For browsing, there is a lot of interesting reading on the Forms of Government of Wikipedia. It's a time suck if you like that sort of thing.

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