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All Societies DieHow to Keep Hope Alive$
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Samuel Cohn

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781501755903

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501755903.001.0001

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Technical Demoralization

Technical Demoralization

(p.117) Chapter 34 Technical Demoralization
All Societies Die

Samuel Cohn

Cornell University Press

This chapter explains why officials in poor countries are more likely to be corrupt than officials in rich countries. One reason is that even if these officials played things straight, they simply lack the resources to do their jobs. The condition of being unable to do one's job through no fault of one's own can be called technical demoralization. When trying to do one's job is a joke, it no longer really matters whether one follows norms of professionalism or not. The salary of a police officer in Latin America or Afghanistan is generally modest. And one police officer is not going to be able to take out a cartel. So when the drug lord's men come over and offer to help the cop out financially, the officer would be hard-pressed to refuse the offer. The same thing can occur in any branch of government. Public health officials who will never be able to lower the amount of disease in their districts sign off on big, white elephant hospital projects where they can get generous side fees for “consulting.” Engineers who will never be able to build enough roads to accommodate the traffic needs of overpopulated cities throw their projects to shabby, politically connected contractors who stint on materials.

Keywords:   poor countries, corruption, technical demoralization, police officers, public officials

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