The failure of the Afghan economy is not about Western policy as such, it is about the West’s willingness to tolerate corruption in all its forms as what it sees as an essential part of the economy

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From my Twitter comments this morning:

The article is here. And Martin Sandbu has, of course, valid comments to make. This was the most significant:

Brutally put, the corrupt state was a creation of US power…: a lack of patience led the US government to make “choices [that] increased corruption and reduced the effectiveness of programs . . . When US officials eventually recognised this dynamic, they simply found new ways to ignore conditions on the ground.”

But let’s not pretend that this is so different from the West. That could be a description of tax havens policy, or PPE purchasing. And incomes for most in the West have flatlined for a long time in real terms.

The failing is in not about Afghanistan as such. It is about tolerating a system where abuse is always endemic. That is why offshore still exists, after all.

And for those in doubt, remember what offshore is about. It is not about palm lined beaches. Nor is it about tax abuse, per se. It is about being beyond the reach of regulation. That is the place where corruption can happen as a consequence. And that is why I say that the facilitation of corruption is what offshore is still all about, because it is.

The paper where I explored the true nature of offshore, and defined the term secrecy jurisdiction, is here.