Exceptionalism: Self-Congratulatory Babble That Masks Affordable Housing Corruption

corruption, Guatemala photo by georg_neu is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
A sticker on a Guatemalan bus encourages citizens to report corruption.

In the developing world, corruption is a constant menace.

By contrast in the developed world, corruption is generally considered to be less of an issue, thanks to . . . precisely what? Like the emperor without clothes, is the developed world imagining itself protected against corruption by our shared exceptionalism?

One of the Seven Deadly Sins, exceptionalism (a.k.a. pride), is a burden shared by all western developed nations. America is perhaps proudest to lead the pack, its mirrored borders reflecting back a babble of self-congratulators, proud of being the most democratic, having the highest morals, deepest integrity, most profound sense of duty, the kindest, most heroic, sharing, philanthropic, yadda yadda yadda. Not to mention the excellent checks and balances that world-beating political and governmental systems employ to guard against corruption.

Corruption? Never. That’s for other, lesser countries.

Take Nigeria, for example. It’s a poor country, with no obvious pathway to wealth, but nonetheless on track to become the third most populous country in the world after China and India. Read more at Axios: The dangers of Nigeria’s population explosion

A developer describes sunny, optimistic plans for the redevelopment of a recently razed slum area. A practical vision for better affordable housing? Or is it a hot-air prelude to a cash-grab from a government treasury to do no more than re-build the slum?

Read more in Nigeria’s Punch: Affordable housing should be about innovative products

Thanks to our sense of exceptionalism in supposedly more upstanding western democracies, such suspicions about our own government/business enterprise are shrugged off as unnecessary. Our business and government interactions are undoubtedly driven by a much higher moral and ethical standards. Or are they?

Whether the world-beating Britain, the cradle of sophistication and democracy that is France, or any other western state, our self-congratulation for occupying a political, moral, and ethical high ground is a thunderous noise in our own ears. It fairly drowns the sound of intertwined business and political corruption in action. That’s the ‘swamp’ which American politicians demand be drained when out of office, but only until they stand lip-deep in the mud themselves.

Lift just about any government funding rock to find the swamp creatures. As Nigerians must look closely at government/business collaboration in order to effectively build affordable housing, so western democracies need to stop preening about their own supposedly higher moral and ethical standards, and look more closely at similar kinds of government-funded/business-built affordable housing projects. Read more about a seedy cast of characters who inhabit a Kansas City swamp in The Kansas City Star: Tax credits for low-income housing are ‘dead’ amid scrutiny from lawmakers, Greitens