Corruption in China

I suppose I'm just an optimist at hear, but reading about how the People's Republic of China is going to execute to former head of the PRC food and drug regulatory agency tends to confirm my belief that China's going to find it extremely difficult to continue on the path of prosperity and autocracy.

You reach for these kind of extremely harsh punishments when you recognize that you have a lot of people getting away with a brand of crime that you think it's very important to curb. China, in short, has a large corruption problem, and very little success at catching corrupt officials. Thus, executions. But this sort of law enforcement strategy rarely works. It's much better to catch a large proportion of violators and mete out a moderate punishment than to catch only a small proportion of violators and then clamp down super harshly. But the only even vaguely effective means of clamping down on public corruption is to allow for a free press and competitive politics; the things that create institutions with incentives to expose corruption.

Presented by

Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

Video

Maine's Underground Street Art

"Graffiti is the farthest thing from anarchy."

Video

The Joy of Running in a Beautiful Place

A love letter to California's Marin Headlands

Video

'I Didn't Even Know What I Was Going Through'

A 17-year-old describes his struggles with depression.

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

More in Politics

Just In