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NCJ Number: 65573 Find in a Library
Title: PUBLIC PLUNDER - A HISTORY OF GRAFT IN AMERICA
Author(s): D LOTH
Date Published: 1966
Page Count: 436
Sponsoring Agency: Greenwood Publishing Group
Westport, CT 06881-5007
Sale Source: Greenwood Publishing Group
88 Post Road West
P.O. Box 5007
Westport, CT 06881-5007
United States of America
Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS HISTORY GIVES A FLUENT, CHRONOLOGICAL ACCOUNT OF HOW POLITICS HAS BEEN USED IN THE SERVICE OF PERSONAL GAIN IN AMERICA SINCE COLONIAL TIMES, SHOWING THAT CORRUPTION IS INHERENT IN THE CAPITALIST WAY OF LIFE.
Abstract: THE PRACTICE UNDER DISCUSSION IS THAT OF 'GRAFT'; I.E. THE WAGES PAID BY THE ENTREPRENEUR (WHETHER STREETWALKER OR WIZARD OF FINANCE) TO THE SERVANTS OF THE STATE (FROM THE POLICEMAN ON THE BEAT TO THE ELDER STATESMAN IN THE CABINET). THE FOUNDING OF THE FIRST SETTLEMENT BY THE VIRGINIA COMPANY OF LONDON IS SEEN AS A COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE MADE POSSIBLE BY THE ENGLISH TRADITIONS OF PURCHASING POLITICAL INFLUENCE WITH MERCHANTS' GOLD. FROM THIS POINT ON, EVERY MONUMENTAL OCCURRENCE OF AMERICAN HISTORY IS EXAMINED TO REVEAL HOW EVENTS WERE MOTIVATED BY INDIVIDUAL GREED. THE POLITICAL SCANDALS OF THE EARLY ADMINISTRATIONS OF THE UNION ARE DESCRIBED, OFTEN IDENTIFYING THE CRITICAL MOMENTS WHEN CORRUPTION ACTUALLY SERVED TO MAINTAIN STABILITY AND THE EXISTING ORDER. THE BASIC THESIS IS THAT AMERICANS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN TORN BETWEEN IDEALISTIC OUTRAGE AGAINST THE IMMORALITY OF GRAFT WHILE GLORIFYING RUGGED INDIVIDUALISM AND PRIVATE ENTERPRISE, THE SANCTITY OF PROPERTY AND PROFIT, WHICH THRIVE ON CORRUPT PRACTICES. A CENTRAL THEME IS THE EXPLOITATION OF THE SEEMINGLY UNLIMITED EXPANSE OF LAND, THE GROWTH OF GIANT INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISES, AND THE ACCOMPANYING POLITICIANS' CONCEPTION OF GOVERNMENT AS AN ORGANIZED SYSTEM OF PLUNDER. IN ADDITION TO THE SPECIFIC DEALS AND MACHINATIONS OF FINANCIAL GIANTS SUCH AS MELLON AND ORGANIZED POLITICAL MACHINES SUCH AS TAMMANY, GRAFT BECAME A CHARACTERISTIC OF THE POPULATION AT LARGE DURING PROHIBITION. THE BOOK CONCLUDES WITH THE NEW DEAL, WHEN SUBSIDY TO FARMERS, RELIEF FOR THE UNEMPLOYED, AND PROJECTS FOR LOCAL IMPROVEMENTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WERE INSTITUTED. THIS SITUATION INTRODUCED A NEW CONCEPT OF GRAFT--THE GRAFT FOR VOTES. NEW DEAL INNOVATIONS ARE SEEN AS THE SAME PRACTICE OF DISTRIBUTING GOVERNMENT FAVORS, ONLY THIS TIME ON A FAR BROADER SCALE. SHOULD THIS DISTRIBUTION EVER REACH EXACTLY EVEN PORTIONS FOR ALL, THE HISTORY OF GRAFT WOULD BE FINISHED. A BIBLIOGRAPHY AND AN INDEX ARE PROVIDED. (MRK)
Index Term(s): Bribery; Corruption of public officials; Graft; Kickbacks; Organized crime; Political influences; Public administration; Socioculture
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