While the G20 summit in Australia made headlines over global warming, economic growth and terrorism, much less attention was paid to the giant spectre of global corruption.
That is too bad as this is a problem that is arguably more dangerous to humanity than even terrorism because it siphons off an estimated $1 trillion from developing countries annually through bribery, money laundering, tax evasion, extortion and other financial crimes.
Recent World Bank estimates suggest that much of the world's direct aid to the poorest countries ends up stolen, perhaps as much as $40 billion in recent years.
And it has been estimated that up to 3.6 million of the world's poorest die annually from inadequate health care and living conditions directly because corruption has leached away development aid of all kinds.
Global corruption a bigger scourge than terrorism
The crop itself was in every way exceptional. It was intricately and endlessly demanding in the ways it was cultivated, handled, and prepared for market. In the time before tractors and chemicals, the tobacco crop was made by the work of mules and men, and, when needed, women, the man-hours far exceeding the mule-hours. All crops, then, of course, were dependent on such work, but tobacco was unique in the intensity, skill and length of the work it required. Its production then, as Andy Catlett now thinks, looking back, involved higher standards and greater passion for excellence than any other practice of agriculture
, excepting only that of the better livestock breeders.
Nothing living lives alone
from the Threepenny Review
Pushcart Prize XXXVII
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There is precious little hope to be got out of whatever keeps us industrious, but there is a chance for us whenever we cease work and become stargazers.