Our good fortune here at the FCPA Blog is to be able to think and talk about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. It’s not perfect — no human law is. But it makes a difference in the world by exposing and punishing public bribery.
Fighting graft is the right thing to do. Corruption means public decisions are made in private, with no accountability to the citizens paying the tab. It erodes trust in government, turning leaders into either powerless figureheads or usurpers and occupiers.
It makes food and shelter more expensive, clean water harder to find. It puts medical care, education, police protection, and other public services beyond the reach of those who need them most. It destroys forests, pollutes the air, and leads to shoddy construction and unsafe products. And it discourages honest people, robbing them of hope.
Corrupt bosses wreck companies and the livelihoods of countless stakeholders. Subordinates forced into criminal conduct also risk ruin for themselves and their families, and the circle of destruction keeps growing.
Corruption scandals confirm the public’s dark fears about big corporations and the people who run them. Graft taints the marketplace for all of us.
We’re thankful for the FCPA and laws like it.
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Our trumpets sound once more. Memorial Day is a complicated holiday. We’re honoring not war but those who didn’t return from war. And because Memorial Day ceremonies are usually presided over by men with white hair, it’s easy to forget how young most soldiers are, how most who have fallen in battle were in the spring of life. So this holiday at best is a mixture of pride and sadness, honor and grief.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. delivered remarks on May 30, 1884 in Keene, New Hampshire (our childhood home). As a senior at Harvard in 1861, he joined the army and saw action in the Civil War, suffering wounds at Ball’s Bluff, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. No one, we think, ever found better words to say on Memorial Day:
Such hearts—ah me, how many!—were stilled twenty years ago; and to us who remain behind is left this day of memories. Every year—in the full tide of spring, at the height of the symphony of flowers and love and life—there comes a pause, and through the silence we hear the lonely pipe of death. Year after year lovers wandering under the apple boughs and through the clover and deep grass are surprised with sudden tears as they see black veiled figures stealing through the morning to a soldier’s grave. Year after year the comrades of the dead follow, with public honor, procession and commemorative flags and funeral march—honor and grief from us who stand almost alone, and have seen the best and noblest of our generation pass away.
But grief is not the end of all. I seem to hear the funeral march become a pæan. I see beyond the forest the moving barriers of a hidden column. Our dead brothers still live for us, and bid us think of life, not death—of life to which in their youth they lent the passion and glory of the spring. As I listen, the great chorus of life and joy begins again, and amid the awful orchestra of seen and unseen powers and destinies of good and evil our trumpets sound once more a note of daring, hope, and will.