Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Swiss Reveal their True Nature

Reading this story about Swiss authorities indicating they are about to return Mobutu's millions to his family reminded me of this passage from Paul Collier's book, The Bottom Billion:
The societies of the bottom billion might become safe haven for criminals, terrorists and disease. Paradoxically, some of this is reciprocal: the rich countries have been a safe haven for the criminals of the bottom billion. One grotesque form of this safe haven role has been that western banks have taken deposits looted from the bottom-billion societies, held the money in great secrecy, and refused to give it back. . . The banking profession has a responsibility to clean up its act, just as de Beers did in respect to diamonds. At present, a small minority of bankers are living on the profits from holding deposits of corrupt money. We have a word for people who live on the immoral earnings of others: pimps.

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