Review: Corruption and Anti-Corruption–An Applied Philosophical Approach

6 Star Top 10%, Corruption

5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Six Stars: Superb Foundation Work–Should Be Translated, May 5, 2010

Seumas Miller, Peter Roberts, Edward Spence

Corruption is the pervasive, pernicious, pathological, preemptory, and predatory commonality within the ten high level threats to humanity as identified by the United Nations High-Level Threat Panel and published in 2004 in A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility–Report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change; and is also responsible for between 20% and 40% of the lost resources of all kinds across the twelve core policy areas as inspired by the UN but identified by the Earth Intelligence Network (501c3) dedicated to creating public intelligence in the public interest-and especially “true cost” intelligence.  (E.g. Exxon did not make $40 billion in profit in its recent high year–that was stolen from current and future generations because Exxon externalized $12 in costs for every gallon of gas that it sells for $4). See INTELLIGENCE for EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability and also, for the underlying hope factor, Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace.

This book is beyond six stars–it is righteously constructive, useful, concise, focused, relevant, and despite some heavy trails in the middle, a joy to read for anyone who believes that there is plenty of wealth for all, we just need to stop corruption in all its forms. Lawrence Lessig, I have been told, is committing the rest of his life to eradicating corruption–his latest book Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy is particularly recommended because I am discovering, as he has, that HYBRID is going to be the core concept for the 21st Century. To take a very specific example, the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) has helped the Government of Guatemala put more people in jail (over 130) in relation to corruption and illegal armed groups, in four years, than the rest of the UN and I suspect INTERPOL and EUROPOL as well. It is a HYBRID organization with uniquely effective capabilities, a “son” of the United Nations but not part of “the” United Nations. I personally believe that it represents the future of multi-layered multi-stakeholder governance, still respecting the national government as the core actor, but bringing to bear transnational resources, autonomous investigative and analytic capabilities, and ultimately engaging all of the stakeholders including the oligarchs and the labor unions, so as to address the totality of a nation’s problems starting with poverty–what the UN is now calling “Deliver As One” integrated holistic mission analysis.

Here is my summary of this extraordinary book and I repeat, this needs to be translated into Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and ideally Malay, Turkish, and several other languages as well. It is a completely different book from Overcoming Corruption [ISBN 0956478808 and strangely not coming up in the Link Feature.] I venture to suggest these two books as a starting point for a new wave of regionalization and transnationalization of anti-corruption campaigns.

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Review: Complex Adaptive Systems–An Introduction to Computational Models of Social Life (Princeton Studies in Complexity)

5 Star, Complexity & Catastrophe, Information Society, Information Technology

Complex AdaptiveBest in Class, Very Technical, Saluting and Moving On, May 31, 2008

John H. Miller

Sometime I encounter books that are extremely important, that give me an appreciation for a knowledge domain I do not know enough about, and that I simply cannot read and review.

This book, and Generative Social Science: Studies in Agent-Based Computational Modeling (Princeton Studies in Complexity) are two such books. I got half-way through this one, did the introduction to the other, from which I was immediately grabbed by the concept of:

“instead of explaining it, can you grow it?”

Howard Bloom, in Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century teaches us that the only way to create a sustainable peace in the Palestine region is to provide absolute security for an entire generation, and raise two whole generations, one on each side, from kindergarten on us, generations that do not consider “the other” to be “pigs and monkeys” by the age of five.

Similarly, the literature on wealth of networks and the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid is growing, and I am convinced that public intelligence (decision support, full disclosure, end of information asymmetries) is going to accomplish two things in the next twenty years:

1) Eradicate corruption and enforce the triple-bottom line

2) Elevate five billion poor by teaching them one cell call at a time so that they can create infinite stabilizing wealth.

See for example:
Infinite Wealth: A New World of Collaboration and Abundance in the Knowledge Era
The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
Revolutionary Wealth: How it will be created and how it will change our lives
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (Wharton School Publishing Paperbacks)

So the very best thing I can say about this book is that I am glad I bought it, I am very glad to have a sense, however weak, of this important exploratory area, and now I know that I need a team of generative social scientists that can do complex modeling for peace and prosperity solutions.

See also, just published at Amazon and free online at Earth Intelligence Network, Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace

I urge one and all to become familiar with World Index of Social and Environmental Responsibility (WISER), as best I can tell that is the center of gravity for empowering individuals with deep knowledge of the true costs and many human rights abuses and other crimes that we support today for lack of knowledge. I also recommend the pioneering EarthGame work of Medard Gabel, at BigPictureSmallWorld.

Review: Blood Money–Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq

5 Star, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Insurgency & Revolution, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Iraq, War & Face of Battle

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Shocking, Read with “Squandered Victory”,

September 8, 2006
T. Christian Miller
This is a definite five star piece of work that approaches our failures in Iraq from a different perspective, and hence should be read with, Squandered Victory: The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq. It goes beyond Squandered Victory, which creates outrage over incompetence, and actually turns one’s stomach with disgust toward the end.

The book starts with a very useful timeline of events, and the opening premise that Paul Wolfowitz was wrong on virtually every promise and claim made to Congress.

The author’s strategic view, threaded throughout the book, is that the U.S. effort in Iraq never had coherent “supreme commander” type leadership, that virtually all elements (U.S. Army and U.S. Marines excepted) lacked both intelligence and integrity, and that this was one of the most incompetent, ignorant occupations in the history of mankind. He does seem to avoid pointing out that Rumsfeld demanded complete military control of the country, relegated the diplomats to the back room, and did not even tell Bremer for a year that there was a diplomatic plan for nation-building. This is on Rumsfeld and Bremer. History will judge them harshly.

The author documents that the US Government knew in advance that there was no plan for the peace (the State Department efforts not-withstanding) and no way of creating an effective plan.

The author is powerful in showing that “shock and awe” warfare made the transition to peace virtually impossible. 17 out of 21 Ministry headquarters buildings were completely destroyed (and then the occupying force allowed for the looting of all offices, all museums, all universities, and all stockpiles of ammunition and explosives needed for the Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) that have killed so many of our troops. The oil infrastructure was not protected, was completely looted, and this lost the chance for paying anything with oil in the early years.

Immortal quote on page 40: “…a circus, a Looney Tunes version of government, hatched on the fly, delivered at random, and operating without instruction.”

Reconstruction cost estimate: $2.4 billion. Actual cost: $30 billion and rising. Results after several years: less than 10% of the needed work. Money unaccounted for: $18 billion.

The author differs from those who supported sanctions in pointing out that the sanctions virtually destroyed Iraq’s health system.

Psychologically, the author suggests that the months of lip service to freedom and reconstruction raised hopes that were then dashed. One is reminded of the Davies J-Curve from the 1970’s–revolutions occur not among the oppressed, but among those who have been shown the prospect of freedom and prosperity, and then had it taken out of their grasp.

On contracting, one’s stomach turns with every page. Cost plus, no incentive to save; U.S. companies doing for millions what Iraqi companies would do for tens of thousands; U.S. contractors earning $60K and more, foreign laborers imported for $3000 a year. The author specifically quotes contractors as saying they knew they could steal the process blind in the first year, which would be “open season.”

I consider this book to be the eventual final nail in the coffin of the Private Military Contractors. The author documents how the military’s very unwise reliance on private contractors for combat zone logistics led to a need for private contractors to provide security, to the point that 22% of the reconstruction dollars are going toward Private Military Corporations (PMC).

My global reading program suggests that the Bush-Cheney Administration will go down in history as having pulled off the most blatant program of planned lies to the public, Congress, and the United Nations, and the most blatant slight of hand in switching the burden from a properly staffed military command to a war-profiteering mélange of PMCs. There is no question in my mind but that we need to eliminate PMCs along with Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) in the future, and we need to properly fund four forces after next: big war force, small war and gendarme force, peace force, and homeland security force. The US military today is a Cadillac built for the superhighway, when we need 10 jeeps, 100 motorcycles, and 1000 bicycles.

The author condemns both the U.S. Government in all its parts, and the PMCs in all their parts, for issuing frantic and confused orders and never really getting their act together. This book is the obituary for Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Paul Bremmer, among others.

EDIT of 10 Dec 07: Since then war crimes of contractors have become an issue, see Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror and varied media stories.

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Commerce Archive on Public Intelligence (1992-2006)

Commerce
Archive 1992-2006
Archive 1992-2006

2004

SE

Commerce Bjore Commercial Intelligence

2003

SE

Commerce Bjore Reinventing Commercial Intelligence

2002

US

Commerce Klavans Identifying Commercial Opportunities from Emerging Science

2000

US

Commerce Technology Intelligence from Patents

2000

US

Commerce Sullivan Business Perspective on Essential Overseas Information

1999

FR

Commerce Baumlin Espionage or Business Intelligence: Nuances of Gray

1999

UK

Commerce Collier Overview of New Horizons in OSINT Sources, Softwares, Services

1999

US

Commerce Miller The Year the Information Industry Hit Bottom

1999

US

Commerce Robinson How Mobil Uses Open Sources & Services

1998

FR

Commerce Baumlin Black, White, Gray, Realities of the Investigative Marketplace

1998

US

Commerce Boyer Assessing US and Other Space Imaging Options for European Needs

1998

GE

Commerce Bruckner Information and Knowledge Management in Intelligence Situations

1998

US

Commerce Burwell Commercial Online Source Validation Methods

1998

UK

Commerce Collier The Pricing of Electronic Information

1998

US

Commerce Dunn Confronting the Future of the Information Industry

1998

Israel

Commerce Feiler Open and Personal: Economic Intelligence in the Middle East

1998

US

Commerce Horowitz Economic Espionage and OSINT: Legal and Security Implications

1998

US

Commerce Stara Valuing Competitive Intelligence

1998

US

Commerce Yankeelov Pushing the Assets of Time and Knowledge

1997

BE

Commerce Borry & Sohl Electronic Sources & Methods: A Belgian Business Perspective

1997

US

Commerce Suggs International Trade & Commerce Intelligence Search Strategies (Slides)

1997

US

Commerce Suggs International Trade & Commerce Intelligence Search Strategies (Text)

1996

US

Commerce Bates Recent and Emerging Trends in Information Brokering

1996

US

Commerce Call Realities & Myths Regarding Financial Research Using Open Sources

1996

US

Commerce Kolb (SCIP) Sales Pitch for the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals

1996

US

Commerce Sibbit Emerging Business Models for Commercial Remote Sensing

1996

US

Commerce Steele Concise Directory of Selected International Open Sources & Services

1996

US

Commerce Steele Open Source Intelligence Handbook, Chapter 1, Overview

1995

US

Commerce Herring Business Intelligence in Japan and Sweden: Lessons for the US

1995

US

Commerce Herring Intelligence to Enhance American Companies’ Competitiveness

1995

US

Commerce Herring Using the Intelligence Process to Create Competitive Global Advantage

1995

US

Commerce Simon & Blixt Emerging Issues in Competitive Intelligence

1994

US

Commerce Basch Secrets of the Super-Searchers: A Personal and Practical Perspective

1994

Switz

Commerce Bernhardt Tailoring Competitive Intelligence to Executive Needs

1994

UK

Commerce Collier Global Information Industry and a New Information Paradigm

1994

US

Commerce Himelfarb Introduction to Competitive and Business Intelligence

1994

US

Commerce Kelly ASIDIC Perspectives & Its Contributions to National Competitiveness (S)

1994

US

Commerce Kelly ASIDIC Perspectives & Its Contributions to National Competitiveness (T)

1994

US

Commerce Marcinko Association of Information and Dissemination Centers, Case Studies

1994

US

Commerce Shaker Beating the Competition: From Boardroom to War Room

1994

US

Commerce Shaker & Rice From War Room to Board Room

1994

US

Commerce Sharp How to Identify Changes that Threaten Your Business Activity, In Advance

1994

US

Commerce Stanat The Power of Global Business Information

1994

US

Commerce Steele Germany: ACCESS:  Theory and Practice of Competitor Intelligence

1994?

US

Commerce Steele ASIDIC: Intelligence Community as a New Market

1993

US

Commerce Caldwell International Investigative Market (Slides)

1993

US

Commerce Caldwell International Investigative Market (Text)

1993

SE

Commerce Dedijer Europe’s To BI or not to BE: Inventory of a New Business Innovation

1993

US

Commerce Elias An Overview of the Information Industry in 1993

1993

AU

Commerce Fraumann Business is War

1993

US

Commerce Herring Business Intelligence: Some Have It, Some Don’t–How They Do It

1993

US

Commerce Himelfarb Intelligence Requirements for Executives

1993

US

Commerce Monaco & Gerliczy Economic Intelligence and Open Source Information

1993

JP

Commerce Shima Overview of Japanese Media and Information Systems

1993

US

Commerce Splitt The U.S. Information Industry: Changing the 21st Century

1993

US

Commerce Steele Corporate Role in National Competitiveness

1993

US

Commerce Steele The Intelligence Community as a New Market

1992

US

Commerce Hlava Information Industry Corporations (Partial Listing)

1992

US

Commerce Hlava Selected Professional and Trade Associations in Information

1992

US

Commerce Hlava The Information Industry: Impact of Globalization

1992

US

Commerce Meyer Business Intelligence at the Cutting Edge

1992

US

Commerce Nobel From A to Z: What We’ve Done with Open Sources

1992

US

Commerce Shaker & Kardulias Intelligence Support to U.S. Business

1992

US

Commerce Williams OSINT to Create Intelligence in a Commercial Environment

Review: The Two Percent Solution–Fixing America’s Problems in Ways Liberals and Conservatives Can Love

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Congress (Failure, Reform), Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Future, Intelligence (Public), Justice (Failure, Reform), Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Survival & Sustainment

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Re-Opens the Door to a Bright Future for America,

September 24, 2003
Matthew Miller
Edit of 21 Dec 07 to add links.

This book is politically and economically *explosive*. It joins The Radical Center: The Future of American Politics (Halstead & Lind) and The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World (Ray & Anderson) as one of my “top three” in domestic US political economics, and it *also* joins The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy (William Greider) and Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions (Clyde Prestowitz) is my “top three” for international political economics.

This is a cross-over, transformative book that should be meaningful to everyone in the world, but especially to those Americans who wish to break out of the vicious downward spiral caused by partisan politics and voodoo economics–by elected politicians corrupted by special interests and consistently selecting short-term fraudulent “solutions” at the expense of long-term *sustainable” solutions.

By “2% solution” the author means 2 cents of every dollar in the national budget, or roughly what we have already wasted or committed to waste on the misbegotten Iraq invasion and occupation. The author crafts a viable proposition for thinking really big and coming to grips, in time to avert the looming disaster of the baby boomer pensions and the collapse of health care and education, with the four biggest issues threatening the national security and prosperity of the United States of America: universal health care; equal education for all, a living wage for all, and sustainable reliable pensions for all.

He sums it up in a gripping fashion: if we don’t fund smart well-educated kids across the entire country, then we will not have the productivity we need to expand our pension funds and care for the boomers when they hit retirement. Smart kids now, safe retirement for today’s adults. Any questions?

He is candidly (but politely) blunt when he states, and then documents, that both the Republican and Democratic party leaders (less Howard Dean) are lying to us about the answers that are possible (Prologue, page xiii). His book is an earnest–and in my judgement, hugely successful–attempt to create what the author calls an “ideologically androgynous” agenda for achieving social and economic justice in America with a commitment of just two cents on the tax-revenue dollar.

On the issue of teaching, he documents the “teacher gap” as one of the primary reasons for varying levels of performance–a gap that is more important than genetics or environment, and that is also resolvable by sound educational policy and funding. He brutally undresses both the Bush Administration, which is leaving every child behind, and the Democrats, who are “more symbol than cure.” Republican hypocrisy and Democratic timidity receive an equal thrashing.

On living wages, he documents the 25 million that are not covered; on pensions he documents the coming collapse of Social Security and other “off budget” and unprotected funds.

He provides four reasons why we have a dysfunctional debate (and one can surmise: why we need to change the Presidential election process in order to achieve truly open and substantive debates): 1) paralysis from political party parity; 2) old mind-sets and habits shared by *both* Republican and Democratic leaders (less Governor Dean); 3) the failure of the national press to be serious and critical and to contribute to the debates; and 4) the tyranny of charades funded by political contributions.

The book includes an excellent and understandable review of both economic and social justice theory. Of special interest is the author’s discussion of the Rawls Rule for social justice, which is to imagine everyone in an “original position” behind a veil of ignorance where no one knows what their luck will be in the future–the design of the social safety net should provide for the amelioration of any injustice that might befall anyone, and a social promotion system that prevents wealth concentrations that are not beneficial to the larger society–to wit, we must “set some limits on the power of luck to deform human lives.”

The author concludes the book by suggesting that the public is ready for a revolution in U.S. political economic affairs, and in so doing points out how ill-served the U.S. public is by surveys that confuse myopia with honesty–surveys that ask generic questions without revealing the scope of the problem (40 million affected, etc.) with the result that the public is not informed of the depth of the problem–or, as the author suggests–they would *want to do something about it.”

This is a sensible, heartening book. It is a book that gives hope for the future and that displays a proper respect for the good intentions and ability to think of the average citizen. It is a book that, if adopted by any Presidential candidate–or by all of them–could radically alter the public debates that lie before the public in the period leading up to the 2004 election. Every American should read this book and the four books cited above. If Thomas Jefferson was correct when he said, “A Nation’s best defense is an educated citizenry,” then Matthew Miller just became the first tutor to the new Nation.

New Comment: Between a Tobin tax on every Federal Reserve transaction, an end of income taxes on individuals, and this author’s idea, I am quite certain that we can find and apply a trillion a year against global and domestic high-level threats from poverty to transnational crime, while winding down the military, secret intelligence, prison, and hospital complexes. This is one of the books I would recommend the next President read sooner than later.

See also, with reviews:
One from Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World’s Last Dictators by 2025
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (Wharton School Publishing Paperbacks)
The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
Revolutionary Wealth: How it will be created and how it will change our lives

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