It finally happened

posted in: On Corruption, Publication | 4

woman on sofa reads phd

Seven years ago I worked as head of CorpCom in a software company and as it goes, the job did instill in me the strong urge to go back to academia. My idea was to write a PhD in my field of expertise on something that had a wider social relevance.

I started by going to the library one or two nights a week and, once a window of opportunity presented itself, went part time. When I saw that »corruption in German literature« should work well, in 2011/2012 I took a sabbatical in order to write a proposal that would get me funded.

After several applications and interviews in Vienna, Walferdange, Berlin and Munich I settled on Munich. So in June 2012 I began writing properly while commuting from Vienna to Munich every other week. My »office« was in the Arbeiterkammer library and the Ludwig-Wittgenstein-Lesesaal in the Austrian National library.

In October 2015 I was ready and submitted the thesis.

You should think there is a sensation of great relief when you finally hand the work of three plus years over to the officer, but somehow there wasn’t. My defense was going to be in February 2016, so I started preparing the three talks I had to give straight away.

Now, with the defense out of the way, there still was no sense of accomplishment, because you have to publish in order to close the process. So off we go to finding a publisher, setting up the text according to the publisher’s style guides, resetting tables and trees because they don’t fit on the smaller pages any more, brainstorming a cover image with Marianne Vlaschits, test printing and changing the cover three dozen times because the digital printer does not approve of the background color. Then seeing the table of contents in a friend’s brand new book and going back to my own because I absolutely wanted one like it. And on and on.

In the end, thanks to the knowledge, understanding and patience of the good people at UniPrint Siegen, there is a finished product that does make me happy – but still fails to deliver the wash of relief. Because now five books have to get to Munich university library, where the people are not happy. My books lack the title page the faculty requires. When that is adressed, I get told to contact the officer who received the first version in 2015 again in four to eight weeks for the certificate. Which I recieved two weeks ago. The End.

Here it is:

Jan Söhlke: »verderben, verführen, verwüsten, bestechen«. Literatur und Korruption um 1800. Siegen 2017, 284 pages.

ISBN: 978-3-936533-81-1

URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:467-11127

For EUR 12.80 you can order the book at universi (Siegen University Press), you can download it from OPUS (Siegen university’s open access) for free or get it from the source while you’re here.

The back cover reads

Der von Max Weber für die Zeit um 1800 diagnostizierte Übergang von einem patrimonialen

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German UNCAC Ratification is Lipstick on a Pig

posted in: On Corruption | 0

Abgeordnetenwatch.de has a good (if devastating) analysis of the German UNCAC ratification. It already is pretty sad that it took ze germans 11 years to cough up a law against bribing Members of Parliament so they would at last meet UN requirements. But now that they do, it is mostly lipstick on a pig:

Das im Februar beschlossene Gesetz gegen Abgeordnetenbestechung ist weitgehend wirkungslos. Ein Staatsanwalt

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Bribing MPs soon illegal in Germany

posted in: On Corruption | 0

World map with United Nations Convention against Corruption ratifiers in green and signatories in orange (as of Feb 2014)

Finally the German Bundestag made a move and eleven years and three governments after the United Nation Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) was signed by Germany, it can now finally be ratified. Until now it had only been illegal to buy the vote of a member of parliament, other forms of corrupting them were fair game, which made it impossible for Germany to ratify the UNCAC – and put the country in very shady company:

 

World map with United Nations Convention against Corruption ratifiers in green and signatories in orange (as of Feb 2014). Source: en.wikipedia.orgCC BY-SA 3.0

As the vote was paired with that one the considerable raise the MPs allowed themselves, I have the impression it somehow did not receive that much media coverage:

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Prescription Drugs and Corruption

posted in: On Corruption | 0

Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics has an interesting, yet disturbing post on a forthcoming article on institutional Corruption, Pharma and prescription drugs (Light, Lexchin, Darrow (2013): Institutional Corruption of Pharmaceuticals and the Myth of Safe and Effective Drugs. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, Vol. 14, No. 3, 2013).

The highlights:

There is evidence that about 90 percent of all new drugs approved by the FDA over the past 30 years are little or no more effective for patients than existing drugs.
Every week, about 2400 excess deaths occur in the United States among people taking properly prescribed drugs to be healthier.
Prescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death.
There is systematic, quantitative evidence that since the industry started making large contributions to the FDA for reviewing its drugs, the FDA has sped up the review process with the result that drugs approved are significantly more likely to cause serious harm, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Medical Practitioners cannot be Corrupt

posted in: On Corruption | 0

At the moment, medical practitioners in Germany can only be corrupt when employed by someone else. As long as they practice on their own, German law to date knows no way of finding them corrupt – even if pharmaceutical companies give something in exchange for the practioniners prescribing certain medication.

The good news is that German health minister Daniel Bahr is about to change that.

Update Nov 2014: The bad news is, that the bill did not pass the Bundesrat. And coverage is pretty much non-existent since then.

Top 10 Corruption Sentences

posted in: On Corruption | 0

Wall Street’s Corruption Currents turns two on Wednesday. As a way of celebration, they nominated the top 10 corruption related jail sentences. The winners are:

  1. Joel Esquenazi
  2. Rod Blagojevich
  3. Viktor Bout
  4. James Ibori
  5. R. Allen Stanford
  6. Jimmy Dimora
  7. Matthew Ng
  8. Albert “Jack” Stanley and Jeffrey Tesler
  9. Jean Rene Duperval
  10. Gerhard Gribkowsky

More on the background on each of the cases in Samuel Rubenfeld’s article.

The Shocking Truth

posted in: On Corruption | 0

The Guardian has a very interesting and insightful article on »The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy« by Naomi Wolf.

In her article she sheds much light on the many (dim to dark) issues related to the Occupy-movement, and explains how the Department of Homeland Security, local mayors, congress, Wall Street, and businesses are linked to each other and ultimately...   READ MORE