From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, from Ancient Greek: κλέπτης (thief) and κράτος (rule), is a term applied to a government subject to control fraud that takes advantage of governmental corruption to extend the personal wealth and political power of government officials and the ruling class (collectively, kleptocrats), via the embezzlementof state funds at the expense of the wider population, sometimes without even the pretense of honest service. The term means “rule by thieves“. Not an official form of government such as a democracy, republic, monarchy, or theocracy; a kleptocracy is rather a pejorative for a government perceived to have a particularly severe and systemic problem with the selfish misappropriation of public funds by those in power.
Kleptocracies are generally associated with corrupt forms of authoritarian governments, particularly dictatorships, oligarchies, military juntas, or some other forms of autocratic andnepotist government in which no outside oversight is possible, due to the ability of the kleptocrat(s) to personally control both the supply of public funds and the means of determining their disbursal. Kleptocratic rulers typically treat their country’s treasury as though it were their own personal bank account, spending the funds on luxury goods as they see fit. Many kleptocratic rulers also secretly transfer public funds into secret personal numbered bank accounts in foreign countries in order to provide them with continued luxury if/when they are eventually removed from power and forced to flee the country.
Kleptocracy is most common in third-world countries where the economy (often as a legacy of colonialism) is dominated by resource extraction. Such incomes constitute a form ofeconomic rent and are therefore easier to siphon off without causing the income itself to decrease (for example, due to capital flight as investors pull out to escape the high taxes levied by the kleptocrats).
An early phase of this is driven by tenderpreneur elites who seek to capture resources for personal benefit.
The effects of a kleptocratic regime or government on a nation are typically adverse in regards to the faring of the state’s economy, political affairs and civil rights. Kleptocracy in government often vitiates prospects of foreign investment and drastically weakens the domestic market and cross-border trade. As the kleptocracy normally embezzles money from its citizens by misusing funds derived from tax payments, or money laundering schemes, a kleptocratically structured political system tends to degrade nearly everyone’s quality of life.
In addition, the money that kleptocrats steal is often taken from funds that were earmarked for public amenities, such as the building of hospitals, schools, roads, parks and the like – which has further adverse effects on the quality of life of the citizens living under a kleptocracy. The quasi-oligarchy that results from a kleptocratic elite also subverts democracy (or any other political format the state is ostensibly under).
In early 2004, the anti-corruption Germany-based NGO Transparency International released a list of what it believes to be the ten most self-enriching leaders in recent years.
In order of amount allegedly stolen (in USD), they are:
- Former Indonesian President Suharto ($15 billion – $35 billion)
- Former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos ($5 billion – $10 billion)
- Former Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko ($5 billion)
- Former Nigerian Head of State Sani Abacha ($2 billion – $5 billion)
- Former PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat ($1 billion to $10 billion) (These numbers do not come from Transparency International) 
- Former Yugoslav and Serbian President Slobodan Milošević ($1 billion)
- Former Haitian President Jean-Claude Duvalier ($300 million – $800 million)
- Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori ($600 million)
- Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko ($114 million – $200 million)
- Former Nicaraguan President Arnoldo Alemán ($100 million)
- Former Philippine President Joseph Estrada ($78 million – $80 million)
A narcokleptocracy is a society ruled by “thieves” involved in the trade of narcotics.
The term has its origin in a report prepared by a subcommittee of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. The term was used specifically to describe the regime of Manuel Noriega in Panama.
Statement by the George W. Bush Administration
In 2006, the Bush Administration, consistent with promises made at the prior G8 Summit, enunciated a policy specifically intended to internationalize an effort to resist, pursue, and prosecute kleptocracies. The White House stated intended commitments to: denying safe haven, bringing together major financial centers vulnerable to exploitation in order to develop preventive anti-corruption practices, enhance international information sharing on corrupt officials, uncover, seize, and return stolen funds and prosecute those criminals involved, and ensure greater multilateral action in helping to develop and repair those areas of the world stricken by high-level corruption.
- ^ Turton, A.R. 2010. Shaking Hands with Billy. Durban: Just Done Publications. http://www.shakinghandswithbilly.com
- ^ “Combating Kleptocracy”. Retrieved 8 August 2008.
- ^ “National Strategy Against High-Level Corruption: Coordinating International Efforts to Combat Kleptocracy”. Archived from the original on 10 July 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2008.
- ^ “Plundering politicians and bribing multinationals undermine economic development, says TI” (pdf). Transparency International. 2004. Retrieved October 16, 2006.
- ^ Alon, Gideon; Amira Hass (2002-08-14). “MI chief: terror groups trying hard to pull off mega-attack”. Haaretz. Retrieved 2007-07-21.
- ^ Nashashibi, Karim; Adam Bennett (2003-09-20). “Business & Economy: IMF audit reveals Arafat diverted $900 million to account under his personal control”. The Electronic Intifada. Retrieved 2007-07-21.
- ^ For a general overview of the crucial importance of foreign funding in the peace process, and the PNA’s use of such aid, see Rex Brynen, A Very Political Economy: Peacebuilding and Foreign Aid in the West Bank and Gaza, United States Institute of Peace Press, 2000
- ^ Stahl, Lesley (2003-11-09). “Arafat’s Billions, One Man’s Quest To Track Down Unaccounted-For Public Funds”. CBS News. Retrieved 2007-07-21.
- ^ Backgrounder: Corruption in the PLO’s Financial Empire, http://www.cdn-friends-icej.co/medigest/jul98/backgrnd.html.
- ^ Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, December 1988
- ^ “President’s Statement on Kleptocracy”. Transparency International. August 10, 2006. Retrieved May 17, 2008.
- ^ “Fact Sheet: National Strategy to Internationalize Efforts Against Kleptocracy”. Bureau of Public Affairs. August 10, 2006. Archived from the original on July 10, 2008. Retrieved November 7, 2008.