Why Using Foreign Contractors Helps Prolong Foreign Wars

Farming Out Work to Non-U.S. Employees Fosters Corruption, Hampers Logistical Oversight, and Keeps the American Public Disengaged 

First it was sacks of rice. Then frozen chicken. Later, even a television. The goods were wrapped tightly in plastic bags and thrown in with the other trash in a truck. “It was simple,” Raj, a former employee, told me. “They were buying supplies and then just throwing them out.” Outside the American base in Afghanistan where Raj worked, the bags were offloaded in the market and sold to local Afghans. A piece of the profit went to the head of the kitchen staff, who organized the operation.

While we …

Should California Corruption Be Forgot, and Never Thought Upon?

If the Golden State Is to Right Its Biggest Wrongs in the New Year, We'll Have to Embrace Some Dirty Deals

Grab a glass of champagne. Then bend your mind around this New Year’s resolution for Californians: In 2017, let’s become more tolerant of political corruption.

Yes, bigotry against political skullduggery is …

How an Idyllic Italian Village Was Crippled by Family-Centrism

A Watershed Study Connects Nepotism to Poverty, Distrust, and Neglect of the Public Good

More than 60 years ago, an American family arrived in a seemingly idyllic town in Southern Italy. Stone buildings resembled “a white beehive against the top of a mountain.” Donkeys …

Russia Goes for Gold in Hooliganism

The Future World Cup Host’s Latest International Sporting Event Antics Only Deepen the Kremlin’s Sense of Isolation

In authoritarian political systems, sports take on outsized importance. After all, national greatness is part of the bargain. A measure of democratic freedom is traded for strength and victory, whether …

Why Early 20th-Century Muckraker Lincoln Steffens Is a Man For Our Times

The New York Political Reporter Understood Political Corruption Was About a Warped System, Not Just Immoral Politicians

Voters are in a bad mood. Again. We are routinely (and justifiably) frustrated with our politicians, but “throwing the bums out” doesn’t seem to change much. And we are all …