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What’s behind the global anti-graft movement?

Anne Applebaum argues in a recent article in Slate that the global anti-corruption movement is the new human rights movement.

‘Both rely on arguments about justice, fairness, and the rule of law,’ she writes.

That’s why anti-corruption is at the forefront of political struggles and street protests sweeping across China, Russia, North Africa, and much of the Middle East, among other places.

What’s fueling the global movement? Pressure on business people from enforcement of the FCPA and the U.K. Bribery Act, she says.

She also cites industry groups such as the International Corporate Governance Network and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and NGOs such as Global Witness and Transparency International.

Even William Browder of Heritage Capital has had an impact through his advocacy of the Magnitsky Act, she writes. The U.S. bill awaits President Obama’s signature. It targets sanctions against Russians allegedly responsible for lawyer Sergei Magnitsky’s death in a Moscow jail after he uncovered evidence of a massive tax fraud by known gangsters and government officials.

But the real power behind most modern political movements, Applebaum writes, is the simple desire of people for their leaders to stop stealing.

‘Why the Anti-Corruption Movement Is the New Human Rights Movement’ is available from Slate here.

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