Stealing Govt funds - The lesser evil

Stealing Govt funds - The lesser evil

Pragmatist
Pragmatist

December 7th, 2011, 8:34 am #1

There were robber barons in the US in the 19th Century who built great wealth through corrupt means but what they built were great enterprises that drove America’s industrial development e.g. Standard Oil that is the forefather of Exxon, Chevron, Texaco. The methods used were not right but the outcomes set America to be this great country that we now know.

There has been a lot of misappropriation of funds from the government coffers. That is wrong. However, I am pragmatic enough to know that it will not be stamped out overnight.

However, I do want to say that, for those who steal the money, it would be better for them to start up commercial enterprises that employ a lot of people in PNG. That is contributing to development because opportunity is given to people who would otherwise be unemployed. They can then send their kids to school or can look after their extended family and increase the cash flow within the economy.

Stealing the money and investing it overseas is a poor allocation of capital from a development point of view. You reduce the opportunities available for your people.
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PNG Reality-Running away from PNG
PNG Reality-Running away from PNG

December 7th, 2011, 9:05 am #2

Pragmatist, I don't know about those Americans you talk about but obviously what they did isn't going to happen here. Reason being that Americans were nationalistic and proud of being American, whereas in PNG, we applaud and encourage Papua New Guineans whose loyalties bend with the wind and take the first opportunity to escape PNG for overseas, whether it be jobs, escape from prosecution, or political retirement. So why would they ever invest in PNG?

You're talking about a time before globalisation and a very huge country that was rich in unexploited resources. In PNG, the unexploited resources are locked up by foreigners, where is the opportunity for a Papua New Guinean to get richer still in PNG?

Sorry, but you're not a pragmatist. You're an unrealistic dreamer. You can't compare a small island country in the age of globalisation, a place where most people think 'outside ways' are better, with a giant country 100 years ago.

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Mangi Nating
Mangi Nating

December 7th, 2011, 9:33 am #3

I can see the logic in your view, but two problems scream out at me.

1) It is immoral to steal from the poor (the public) to give to the rich (the cronies).

I won't go into the practical reasons why it is better to have an honest system that rewards hard work to a system that condones theft and how this misaligns incentives to work, reduces productivity and results in less wealth overall.

2) The second reason as pointed out by the poster above is that capital flows are now global. Money is mobile and heads to those places where returns are highest and where risk is low or acceptable. The money that is stolen will be spirited away to Australia to "invest" in real estate. There is no pragmatic reason why these people should invest in PNG. Why should they? Where is the political stability? Where is the ease of doing business? How will they enjoy their wealth if there is a lot of violence and crime?

I didn't mean to rain on your parade, but we must not encourage this type of thinking, for the sake of us all.



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Pragmatist
Pragmatist

December 8th, 2011, 6:08 am #4

you are both right in that America in the 19th century is different from PNG and money flow is global now and that those who steal will want to enjoy their ill gotten gains.

HOWEVER

1) history has a funny way of repeating itself. There is nothing new under the sun that man has not done before. What we are doing now has been done before in history and continues to repeat itself - hence those who are wise learn from those who went before.

2) if the money will be stolen anyway and it looks highly unlikely that the governement will recover more than 10% of the lost money, wouldn't it be better that the money is used within the PNG economy in a constuctive manner rather than directly transferring the money overseas or buying cars and drinking beer which goes to foriegn owned companies who transfer the profits overseas?





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Grand Thief
Grand Thief

December 8th, 2011, 7:56 am #5

If I were one of these thieves, I'm certain I wouldn't give a hoot about helping my country. All I would be looking for is the comfortable life and for certain, I'd have a more comfortable, risk free life if I settled overseas after I had stolen my millions.

No wantoks would come demanding money from me once I was out of their reach. Now thats a real plus!

I would invest overseas all that money because the risk is clearly less.

I wouldn't care about my legacy because once I moved overseas, I wouldn't even hear anything about the country known as Papua New Guinea, much less what anyone thought of me.

Because I had developed into a nice ripe coconut, all the foreigners would look up to me as a very educated and accomplished PNGean and would actually rush to be my friend.

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Mangi Nating
Mangi Nating

December 12th, 2011, 8:50 am #6

Hi,

I don't see how you expect these people to think of the greater good of Papua New Guinea when they steal from it in the first place. Appeals to their sense of nationalism will not work because they have no regard for it; if they did, they would not steal from the public coffers.

Now since these people are selfish and one would assume smarter than your average bear, they are not likely to keep their money in PNG if they can find more secure investments abroad. Just recently there was a Sydney-based real estate company here in the country looking for property investors for example.

There are ways that we can limit the theft of public funds; one being the proper resourcing of the internal audit capabilities within the various government departments, with independent reporting lines to a credible body outside of the department in question.

More fundamentally it means that we as the voters vote in people based on their policies and (gasp) character and not (double gasp) the money that we believe they can give us immediately.

To get back to the point of this discussion. We must not condone theft. The end never justifies the means.



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