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What can we do to fight corrupt governments?
25 points by apache99 40 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 22 comments
I live in South Africa and we have a really frustrating situation here. We have a population of about 60milloon people and around 4 million of those 60million pay taxes that are used to pay out grants to sustain the rest of the population and to fund the bad spending of our corrupt government. They are about to increase taxes here. What could I possibly do to fight back? Ive thought of leavinf the country but there must be something to do to wake up the government to the fact that of thr economy keeps worsening then there will be no tax payers.



The common answer is transparency. Perhaps advocate for online tools that expose government spending, funds disbursement, budgets, tax allocation, and so forth.

Corruption is allowed to exist because it is permitted within the confines of a given culture by the rules of practice within that culture. You will want to access objective research that provides data on your local culture so as to better present a resolution that best addresses the cultural practices that would most inhibit transparency. For a specific geography you will want to reference the Geert Hofstede dimensions and the Transparency International research for your area.

* https://www.transparency.org/

* https://geerthofstede.com/culture-geert-hofstede-gert-jan-ho...


Anything and everything done with taxpayer money should be open and transparent by default, should be available to the public in real time, not six months or 5 years later.

Transparency is the start, but that alone wouldn't be enough? Look at the shenanigans of the current govt - they are openly breaking laws and just don't care. It is well documented, everyone knows about it, still nothing happens


Unlimited and immediate transparency are generally not a good idea. Before government data is released to the public you have to ensure there is accountability to applicable regulations and sensitivity to any personally identifiable information.

The goal is to hold governments accountable without violating the privacy of impacted individuals or any other internally sensitive information.


> Unlimited and immediate transparency are generally not a good idea. Before government data is released to the public you have to ensure there is accountability to applicable regulations and sensitivity to any personally identifiable information.

> The goal is to hold governments accountable without violating the privacy of impacted individuals or any other internally sensitive information.

Should be doable to vet the release algorithmically in a great number of cases. And any data that's not available should have have a page explaining specifically why in its place.


Thanks wow what an answer :)


The common and obvious and mentioned answer is transparency.

But I suppose, the root problem in south africa is something else ... the colonial dept and racism (from both sides). And this is a complicated one to solve.

I suppose you are white and grew up priviliged? Well, imagine growing up black and in poverty and learning, that your original culture was conquered and destroyed and enslaved. And then you are free. But with nothing on your hands and in a system still run by the old slave owners and all the wealth and land still owned by them (all oversimplified).

So naturally there are revenge feelings and wanting compensation. But how do you make old injustices fair without new injustice? You can't.

Thats why the anc failed to do a good politic and apparently it all dissolved into corruption and missmanagement.


Not to detract from your root question, but it's worth being accurate with the numbers. The number of individual tax payers is 7.6 million, not 4 million. There is also company taxes on top of that [1].

But that's not the whole picture. You also have to take into account non-personal taxes like VAT, booze, smokes, sugar and petrol to name but a few. These are significant revenue sources, and ultimately tax low-income people fairly harshly.

So to say 4 million people are paying for everyone else is an over simplification.

I'll comment on your main question in another post. [1] https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2019-10-28-crunch-th...


Its a very common way to say "white people pay for everyone", without actually having to say so.

Which is why the 4 million taxpayers typically matches the number of white adults.


Dont forget coloured people and the middle class black income group. I was not trying to say white people are paying for everything. Its white people, coloured people and the black middle class paying for everything pretty much.


Communities can better organize and work towards becoming self sufficient and independent of governments. Grow food. Create new sources of water. Help the poor. Develop better skill and knowledge bases allowing people to elevate their standard of living. The less we rely on governments, the less we need them, the more it forces them to do what they're supposed to.


> Communities can better organize and work towards becoming self sufficient and independent of governments. Grow food. Create new sources of water. Help the poor.

A well organized community that provides basic resources is essentially a government. You are basically suggesting to replace government with government.


Governments today are isolated from the day to day struggle of their people. Their interests and values are not aligned with those they represent. Grassroots community movements do function similar to governments, but have the potential to be more transparent and less susceptible to corruption from special interests.

Ronald Reagan said it best:

"It has been said politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first."


Governments are not corrupt. People are corrupt. This is an important difference because the party in power may be the same but people can change.

Investigations into the corruption of the past are underway, but despite daily revelations in the press it is not something that should be hurried. Justice may take time, but I am optimistic that it will prevail.

It is also somewhat unhelpful to see govt as being intrinsically corrupt because there is no solution to that since govt is a giant faceless blob. If we rather see people as corrupt we can hold those people to account - and yes that takes time. The first step is in changing the people at the top, and at least that has happened.

If nothing else shining a light on the previous administration will make it easier to spot errances in future administration.


>around 4 million of those 60million pay taxes that are used to pay out grants to sustain the rest of the population

(I know nothing about the situation there but)

I presume this means that wealthy/rich peoples' money is used to help the non-rich. And this is somehow a desperate problem? It sounds like you're one of the 4 million. What does "fighting back" mean, what's the goal? For the rich to keep it all for themselves, and keep getting richer? I thought the rich pay lower taxes everywhere - they can also pay expensive lawyers and accountants to make it happen.

When you say bad spending, what's bad about it?


South Africa has one of the highest Gini coefficients of the entire planet. So if they're taking money from 4 million and redistributing it to the rest, they're not going a very good job of it.

That said, S. Africa clearly is dealing with a lot of political corruption. I agree that the answer is transparency. But it's also to reduce income inequality, since income inequality has a very high correlation with political corruption and civil unrest (which we see in SA in the form of high rates of violent crime).


Don't all 60 million also pay fuel levies, consumption taxes on alcohol and tobacco, and VAT on purchases?

Your tax base might be wider than you are alluding to.


If you replace "South Africa" with other contry - this likely will apply too.


Do whatever you can to support the free and freedom of the press


You live in a power structure based on a hierarchy of control down to almost, but not quite, the individual level. All monies are stolen high up in this hierarchy and filter down as bribes to the lower levels. China is perfecting this to attain the individual level. The control mechanism in these power structures is:- Fear, pure and simple. If you attract the attention of the structure they will deal with you in one way or another, ranging from cash at one extreme and a knife or bullet at the other. Why do people tolrate this? In the USA they would not, but Africans are drawn to these people in power, it is a tribal thing and as you can see with all the African dictatorships, pervasive. Even those that resemble democracies are actually power based dictatorships. To change it? Until the basic African mind set changes you can not. Any attempt will attract the attention of the system to you = death or $$ - you choose...


China has the most 2nd-most millionaires per capita of any country in the world (and by far the most by total). The idea that "all monies are stolen high up" and "filter down as bribes" is just laughable.

Perhaps you're just referring to the rampant (and real) corruption among public officials, but if you're claiming that poor and middle-class Chinese are ripping off the wealthy, there's very scant evidence for it.


I was referring to the OP in Africa about their African tribe based dictatorships etc. China is a different case, more mature chicanery involved.


This also a really good answer. Thanks




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