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Harry Cassin
Publisher and Editor

Andy Spalding
Senior Editor

Jessica Tillipman
Senior Editor

Bill Steinman
Senior Editor

Richard L. Cassin
Editor at Large

Elizabeth K. Spahn
Editor Emeritus

Cody Worthington
Contributing Editor

Julie DiMauro
Contributing Editor

Thomas Fox
Contributing Editor

Marc Alain Bohn
Contributing Editor

Bill Waite
Contributing Editor

Russell A. Stamets
Contributing Editor

Richard Bistrong
Contributing Editor

Eric Carlson
Contributing Editor

Readers Respond To ‘Graft And Debt’

Earlier this month, we asked if a country’s perceived graft can predict its sovereign debt problems, mentioning that Greece ranks worst in the Eurozone on the corruption perception index. Next for the dunce chair, we said, comes Italy.

The next day, as if on cue, the Dow fell 389 points because of the Italian job.

That brought a few comments our way.

One reader said our correlation between graft and debt was clever, others called it fiddle faddle (we thought of it as clever fiddle faddle, so everyone was right).

But a reader with a more serious turn of mind had this to say:

Regarding graft as a predictor of a country’s debt trouble, I think there probably is a relationship with their CPI score. It may be that large amounts of debt and perceived fiscal irresponsibility lead some people to assume the problem is due to corruption (as opposed to mismanagement or bad policy decisions) which then negatively effects their score. More debt leads to more allegations of corruption = lower CPI score. Perhaps the Irish are just more forgiving.

Whether graft causes debt problems, or whether debt just looks like graft, we don’t really know. But we say again, corruption is never a victimless crime.

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