Monday, February 07, 2022

The Corruption Tango (Part 4 The World's Lawyer)

Part 4 of The Corruption Tango (see previously)

IV. The World's Lawyer

My dear uncle, of blessed memory, used to work at the World Bank
He had a seat at the table, he'd risen to a high rank

With world movers and shakers, many said to be covered in glory
From his vantage point, up close and personal, he saw the backstory

Of many of the headlines that we would later read in the daily news
He was intimately familiar with the ways in which due process was abused

The haste with which the bounds of propriety
   would be promptly set aside
And the board's directors would say the magic words: let's override

It often happened to coincide happily
   with what the American president wants
The fig leaves of accountability
   that were forsaken in light of such demands

A lawyer, he rose in the profession
   to become the bank's top legal counsel
Jokingly, he referred to his job as the restraint of the world's scoundrels

For even though he constantly sided "with the ninety nine percent"
His very salary and position placed him firmly in the one percent

He saw through those demanding structural adjustment and reforms
Shifting the blame to Third World cultural traditions and lax norms

For much of the impetus came from these selfsame First World rogues
Who would emphasize whatever fine words happened to be in vogue

The hubris of people in glass houses and all that
He chose his moments to bring up inconvenient facts

What with his work on matters of compliance in the banking sector
Conversations with him were always revelatory chapters

He was quite jaded, if not cynical, about human fallibility
Hard-boiled even, such are the wages of observing venality

I imagine it was like shooting the breeze with a vice cop
He'd seen it all, try as I could, there was nothing that could shock

The media accounts always focus on
   the weak country and the bribe taker
Scapegoats: the low trust culture, and the willingly suborned insider

Thus it was written, that huhudious drama of the cease and desist
Almost always turned out in practice to amount to a mere slap on the wrist

It makes you wonder who is writing the script
About these scandals and dirty politics

While there would later be an almanac of political corruption
His contribution was to write the book on combating corruption

Human beings were not too far removed from the garden of Eden
When it became second nature for some to deceive and scheme

Lying for money is akin to original sin
Envy, greed, all these can pave the way to embezzling

There's always the other side to these affairs and imbroglios
Recall the old song, it takes two to do the corruption tango

combatting corruption

The Corruption Tango: A Playlist

A soundtrack for this note. (spotify version)

The Corruption Tango

A dance in four movements.
  1. A Touch of Sleaze
  2. Cease and Desist
  3. The Temptation of Black Gold
  4. The World's Lawyer
I nominate this internal displacement for The Things Fall Apart series. It's a family tradition to call out Fallen Angels.

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Writing log: Concept: July 7, 2005; March 11, 2021

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