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Corruption as Power

Criminal Governance in Peru during the Fujimori Era (1990-2000)

Alfredo Schulte-Bockholt

This book deals with the political corruption which infested Peru during the Fujimori years (1990-2000). The work is not about petty corruption, the small bribe paid to the underpaid police officer to avoid being booked for a minor traffic violation, but addresses the corruption of the powerful. Elites rely on corruption, and particularly in repressive regimes the practice is the most important tool of ‘criminal governance’. The author utilizes the concept of the protection racket developed by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno from the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory to explain the links between political, economic, and societal elites in Fujimori’s Peru such as the military, political parties, multinational corporations, or conservative groups within the Catholic Church.


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Chapter 3: Criminal Governance, Corruption and Power - 59


Chapter 3 Criminal Governance, Corruption and Power Corruption is authority plus monopoly minus transparency. (Unknown) 1. Introduction In the 1990s the United Nations (UN) introduced the concept of good governance as a guiding principle “to ensure sustainable human deve- lopment” (UNESCAP, 2006). The good governance agenda, as noted earlier, emphasizes political accountability, the independence of the courts, anticorruption programs, participatory as well as transparent decision-making processes. The agenda also stresses civil society, the rule of law, and the safeguarding of human rights and of the environ- ment, etc., (Ibid). Good governance was brought in by the World Bank hand in hand with neoliberal reforms because it was deemed that the latter would only be successfully implemented by clean government. For that reason the agenda was turned into “a political and economic con- ditionality ... for developing and formerly socialist bloc countries” (Weiss, 2000: 801; also see Smith, 2007). However, the World Bank’s understanding of good governance – which differs from the UN’s and which prevails over the latter’s – puts considerably more weight on practical matters and favors the economic component of said agenda (Weiss, 2000). As previously noted, Morten Bøås (1998) concluded therefore that World Bank practices effectively furthered the concen- 60 tration of political power, human rights violations, systemic corrup- tion, as well as non-representational and unresponsive government; all of which amounted to “bad governance” (1998: 119). Good governance is often a distant ideal in many countries of the global South. Indeed, the present conditions are more aptly described as...

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