One month since Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines

Shouldn’t Humanitarian Aid Come First?

Last year, the world spent $135 billion on International Development Aid. It also spent $22 billion on Humanitarian Aid.

Is this the right balance?

Let’s see: development aid is controversial, its effectiveness is contested and its impact ambiguous.

Humanitarian aid enjoys consensus, its effectiveness is beyond the slightest doubt, and its impact visible to the naked eye.

An army of econometricians have been out trying to measure the contribution of development aid for a generation, and agreement seems farther than ever. Second-order impacts on macroeconomics and on the politics of both donor and recipient countries are intractable. In some cases, the impact is actively negative, in many more, merely wasteful.

Some of the best minds in the business – by no means just the usual right wing  suspects – have concluded development aid is trapped in a paradox: countries that need it most don’t benefit from it, and countries able to benefit from it don’t really need it. Even some long-time campaigners for the developing world favor a gradual tapering off of development aid.

At the same time, the world is seeing an explosion in demand for humanitarian assistance, with climate change threatening to make it all much worse in the near future. While emergency aid spending is rising, it’s not rising anywhere near fast enough to keep up with the growth in demand. Events that used to be once-in-a-century, like the monstrous typhoon that devastated parts of the Philippines in November 2013, could start happening once a decade.

And chaotic weather patterns have already started to fuel conflicts in Central Africa, generating a series of crises international agencies can’t seem to cope with.

In this context, the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid tells us we should “get used to it” when it comes to not enough resources for Emergency Response. People starving inside UN facilities is, we’re told, “the new normal.”

This situation strikes me as perverse. The rich countries spend plenty in the developing world, it’s just that 6 out of 7 aid dollars are directed to programs where it’s hard to tell if they’re doing any good.

What’s clear is that the macro-trends driving demand for humanitarian response are not abating. Just the opposite. And demand is already outstripping supply to wild, unacceptable degrees (…or, well, degrees we would recognize as wildly unacceptable if we could find editors who cared about hundreds of thousands of starving people as much as they care about one asshole planting a flag in the middle of the desert.)

What’s so strange about this situation is that while “Foreign Aid” is highly unpopular with first world voters everywhere, Humanitarian Aid is popular enough that people give substantial sums voluntarily: of the $22 billion spent on humanitarian aid last year, $5.6 billion was given by private entities, not governments.

In the last 12 months, the world’s seen what happens when three “Level-3 emergencies” (a.k.a., big-time humanitarian crises) hit at once. The Humanitarian Infrastructure buckled under the weight of Syria, the Philippines and Central Africa. The system can’t cope. People starve.

And the people who should be out there agitating for more money to face up to the simultaneous crises instead turn to us and tell us to get used to it.

5.0a Sudan has DSC_0069 20 june ii

Invisible People

Howard French once noted that,  “as a matter of convention, we constantly say and write things about Africa that would be unimaginable with any other continent.”

Just imagine the scale of the international media storm that would’ve ensued if the UN Refugee Agency had put out a press release warning that:

…funding difficulties, compounded by security and logistical problems, have forced cuts in food rations for nearly 800,000 refugees in Europe, threatening to worsen unacceptable levels of acute malnutrition, stunting and anaemia, particularly in children.

But, of course, this UNHCR/WFP Urgent Appeal wasn’t for refugees in Europe.

It was for Africa.

And so newspaper editors near and far felt perfectly at ease passing over the story or picking out 65 words of it to run in World Briefs section on page B17.

The story barely made a ripple.

We’re not dealing with anonymous people starving out in the bush. We’re dealing with people whose names have been registered by the United Nations, people living in camps donors set up and run. Camps we set up and run.

I guess people who’ve been around the Humanitarian enterprise longer than me will roll their eyes at my surprise. But I’ve been genuinely shocked at the total news void that the UNHCR’s July 1st Urgent Appeal fell into.

I tended to just assume that there were structures in place to prevent large numbers of people already under UN protection from just slowly starving. I had a vague sense that large, professional bureaucracies were in charge of these matters and someone somewhere would do something before you got to the stage of cutting off additional food deliveries to pregnant women and breastfeeding moms. I just took it for granted that the right alarm bells would go off in the right switchboard and find the right official response.

Obviously, I’m pretty green on these issues.

Still, the monstrous conundrum remains: how can something like this happen?

William Vollmann writes beautifully about “invisibility” as one of the defining features of poverty. Poor people can go missing or die without anyone noticing. That’s part of what it means to be poor.

Combine that with French’s insight up top and you start to grasp why an almost complete cloak of invisibility has fallen over African refugees.

It doesn’t seem to matter at all that we’re talking about people living under “international protection”. It doesn’t shift the needle that the refugee camps where they live were designed by bureaucrats in Geneva and paid for by donor countries. None of that seems to help.

And I suppose that’s the part that’s really shaken me about this story.

I can just about understand how a story about a famine in Africa gets tuned out of first world opinion. Famines are usually set off by wars together with droughts, they affect people who are widely dispersed, hard to reach, anonymous, remote. I’m not happy that so many people see famine as “one of those things that can’t be helped”, but I can understand it: the entire question is remote and vexing and depressing and it’s not entirely obvious how worrying about it would make anything better.

But what’s happening in Central Africa right now isn’t nothing like that.

We’re not dealing with anonymous people starving out in the bush. We’re dealing with people whose names have been registered by the United Nations, people living in camps donors set up and run. Camps we set up and run.

We’re dealing with enormous suffering generated not by war or drought but by Donor Fatigue, that ghastly euphemism for the international community’s inability to find relatively small sums of money to make good on its clear obligation to protect victims of conflict.

In Central Africa, the world is facing something I’ve never even heard of before: a kind of slow-burn famine inside U.N. facilities.

And nobody cares.

Listen, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s that development questions are hard. The processes involved are complicated and slow and subject to reversals and there’s a decent argument to be made that outsiders can’t understand how they happen and end up hindering them as often as they help.

Some humanitarian questions, on the other hand, are easy. And this is one of them. There isn’t any great conceptual difficulty here. There’s just a question of willingness and moral clarity and determination. You can’t allow 450,000 people under your care to starve in camps you built for them. It’s really pretty simple.

Darfur Chart 2.005Anyway, I don’t feel able to just ignore this issue. It feels indecent to do one post and move on. There’s a time for analysis, and there’s a time for advocacy. This is a time for advocacy. 


Launching the 850 Calorie Challenge

Earlier this month, the UNHCR announced it was running out of money for refugees in Africa.

The solution?

Cut refugee camp food rations, in some cases, to just 850 calories per day.

Think about what that means.

I guess every advocacy person has one: that one news item that was just…intolerable.

This one was mine.

It’s simply shocking how little play this story is getting in the press. Intolerable.

So today I’m launching The 850 Calorie Challenge.

The site does what it says on the tin: it challenges you to live on African refugee rations. Even just for one day. Or three.

Or a week.

And then write about it. Tweet about it. Facebook it. Spread the word.

There are hard questions in the development world. This isn’t one of them.


A violent ecosystem capable of generating endless new things to fight about without ever shedding any of the old ones

The British-Sudanese writer Jamal al-Mahjoub once said that to understand the Sudan you need a layered map like one of those cellophane diagrams of the human body that used to be in encyclopedias. As you peeled away the top piece of cellophane labelled “Sudan”, you would find a succession of maps lying underneath. A map of languages, for example, and under that a map of ethnic groups, and under that a map of ancient kingdoms, until, as Mahjoub wrote, “it becomes clear the country is not really a country at all, but many. A composite of layers, like a genetic fingerprint of memories that were once fluid but have since crystallized out from the crucible of possibility, encouraged by the catalyst of the European colonial adventure.” I have often thought that you need a similar kind of layered map to understand Sudan’s civil war. A surface map of political conflict, for example – the northern government versus the southern rebels; and under that a layer of religious conflict – Muslims versus Christian and pagan; and under that a map of all the sectarian divisions within those categories; and under that a layer of ethnic divisions – Arab and Arabized versus Nilotic and Equatorian – all of them containing a multitude of clan and tribal subdivisions; and under that a layer of linguistic conflicts; and under that a layer of economic divisions; and under that a layer of colonial divisions; and under that a layer of racial divisions related to slavery. And so on and so on until it would become clear that the war, like the country, was not one but many: a violent ecosystem capable of generating endless new things to fight about without ever shedding any of the old ones.’

From Deborah Scroggins’s 2004 book Emma’s War, a biography of Riek Machar’s English wife, Emma McCune, which turns out to be a cracking read. 

South Sudan tribal crashes

The Bitterest Date

Heart-ache is the near permanent fate of the South Sudan watcher, but never is the pain more bitter than on July 9th. On this day three years ago today, South Sudan declared its independence after half a century of war with the North. Things were supposed to get better. Instead, the country has faced catastrophe on a scale that beggars belief.

The International Crisis Group’s latest update is sobering, as is nearly anything you can find these days about the civil war. The country looks to be on the verge of outright state collapse, with the army failing to pay its soldiers even as hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on arms-deals that end up fattening up the off-shore bank accounts of SPLA insiders.

Alongside these major insanities there are the minor ones, like the government announcing shoot-to-kill orders to enforce a curfew in Juba. On the eve of independence day. On the night of a World Cup semi-final. 

Soccer may have been the last thing South Sudanese people had to look forward to. Now even that’s been taken away.

As for the future, well, it does not bear thinking about. Already, the window of opportunity for planting crops in Greater Upper Nile has closed. With so many displaced and so much insecurity, seeds didn’t go into the ground, so there’ll be nothing to harvest. And the humanitarian agencies that represent the last line of defense against famine don’t have the money to respond. 

Now, the “Conflict + Drought = Famine” formula is sadly familiar in Central Africa. But what South Sudan faces in 2015 is something different: a major famine somewhere where the rains didn’t fail. The country is on the verge of an entirely man-made famine.

Some independence day…

South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar sits in the bush as he talks on a phone in a rebel-controlled territory in Jonglei State

South Sudan: An Elite Pact’s Baptism of Blood

If you look past the enormous human tragedy involved – which is by no means easy, nor necessarily ethical – South Sudan is an amazing case study in state formation.

Political theorists normally have to look at fragmentary records from long ago to try to figure out how states were born. Like astronomers looking at flickers of light from unfathomably long ago, they rely on scraps of data to put together a picture of how states form.

It’s the latent threat to return to arms that earns you a place at the top table in the first place.

But in South Sudan that’s all happening right now, in the Twitter age, like a Supernova going off just near by…and nearly as violent.

Guys like Mushtaq Khan and North, Wallis and Weingast have a little model about this that I find pretty persuasive. Their view is that in very poor countries, states usually end up being formed by coalitions of their most dangerous and most violent people. Each player would prefer to take over the whole area for himself – and sometimes that’s possible. But in many cases, it’s not possible, and the “violence specialists” fight one another to exhaustion.

Eventually, though, a moment comes when they’re all fought out and they’ve given up the dream of killing all their most dangerous opponents. Only then can the process of elite-bargaining that gives rise to a political settlement arise.

Even then, the “violence specialists” who end up in coalition will not give up the threat of returning to arms if they feel the settlement they’d bargained for is not being upheld. In fact, it’s the latent threat to return to arms that earns them a place at the top table in the first place. And sometimes settlements do unravel. In fragile states, they can unravel exceptionally fast.

South Sudan follows this pattern to a T. The country has been formally independent from the North only since 2011, but de facto it’s run its own affairs since 2005.

The 1983-2005 war was an unimaginably brutal affair. Usually glossed as a North-South, Arab-vs-Nilotic fight, it was actually a good bit more complex than that: really a series of nested civil wars, with a baffling array of inter-communal conflicts between different tribes and leaders in the South getting sometimes subsumed by, sometimes papered over by the broader North-South conflict.

The scale of kleptocracy that South Sudan fell into even before it was technically an independent country amazed observers.

The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement worked on two levels: by both getting the North to withdraw its remaining forces from the South and, at the same time, by setting up power-sharing mechanisms that would keep various warlords in the South from turning immediately on one another.

The centerpiece of this powersharing settlement was an agreement to split power between the two biggest tribes in the Nile floodplain: the Dinka and the Nuer, who had a long, troubled history between them.

In effect, the biggest, baddest Dinka warlord, Salva Kiir, was made President while the biggest, baddest Nuer warlord, Riek Machar (pictured above) was made Vice-President. Both would have access to spoils, both would get great big gobs of petromoney to fund their patronage networks, and both would, it was hoped, limit themselves to plunder rather than taking an interest in trying to eliminate the other.

Was the CPA a success? In a way it was. In a place with really no tradition of independent government, the CPA kept the most dangerous people in the country behaving relatively civilly to one another. Instead of fighting, they devoted themselves to the relatively benign pursuit of stealing everything that wasn’t bolted down to the coffers of the state.

The scale of kleptocracy that South Sudan fell into even before it was technically an independent country amazed observers. Outsiders were shocked to realize the plan wasn’t to steal some of the oil money, or even most of the oil money: it was to steal all of the oil money.

Even Kiir seemed taken aback by the scale of it: in 2012, he was reducing to writing an inexpressably sad, badly misjudged letter basically begging his cronies to give back some of the loot.

The Juba this political class “leads” is so screwed up most of the top power players aren’t actually willing to live there: they keep their wives in very nice McMansions in gated complexes in Nairobi and fly in and out of Juba to go to parliament or to their ministry as needed.

That’s not entirely surprising: if you had an 7- or 8-figure dollar bank account worth of loot squirreled away in Dubai or the Cayman Islands, would you want to live in a city with no water mains, no sewers, almost no paved roads, almost no electricity, sporadic gasoline, no proper schools, no proper hospitals and no proper police? Let’s be serious now…

Outside the predatory elite, the country has shockingly little to show for the billions that poured into SPLM since 2005. What very little “governing” – in the sense a first world person would understand it – that gets done gets done by donors, with donor money and donor staff. It’s NGOistan out there. The prevalence of International Cooperation has led to this weird warping of incentives where the local elite doesn’t see “service delivery” as “governing” at all. (And why would they? There are always foreigners around to do that stuff…for free!)

From a state-formation point of view, the wild corruption spree was a feature of the 2005 agreements, not a bug. The political logic at play was clear: it was either that or this. What we’ve had since December. Loot, or carnage. Take your pick.

Some Western observers once speculated that Machar my retaliate by challenging Kiir for SPLM’s presidential nomination. Fat chance.

And, indeed, the political crisis that led up to the current fighting fits the state-formation realists’ mold to a T. Basically, what we have is a fragile Limited Access Order whose political settlement fell apart, and is having to be reached again through a baptism of blood.

Let’s just review how we got here again:

Early last year, the senior member of the ruling coalition thought he could elbow out the junion member. First, President Kiir unilaterally withdrew a long set of powers that he had delegated onto the vice-president. Then he fired him outright, and appointed a loyalist.

Some Western observers once speculated that Machar my retaliate by challenging Kiir for SPLM’s presidential nomination. Fat chance. Machar didn’t make it to #2 for his ability to win votes. His core skill is equipping, organizing and leading armed rebellions. He’s been doing that his entire adult life. He still had the contacts with the mid and low- level military commanders, especially among the Nuer. He knows the operational side of reblling like you know your commute. There are no mysteries about why Kiir ended up back in the bush.

What’s sobering about the South Sudanese civil war is the way Kiir and Machar, along with their military commanders, conduct themselves with total – and I mean total - disregard to the opinion climate, both domestic and international.

As best as I can tell, there is exactly no one not under arms who actively favors one side over the other. There’s a sort of powerless unanimity to unarmed opinion: these guys are both toxic, South Sudan doesn’t have any kind of future as long as either of them are in the picture.

But that doesn’t matter to them. Not even a little bit.

The conflict has seen the rudimentary proto-structures of the South Sudanese state wither on the vine. The SPLA, insofar as it was ever anything other than a set of cobbled-together ethnic militias (which isn’t very far) has reverted all the way back to straight-out war-lordism, with command based entirely on the chieftancy of charismatic ethnic militia bosses repurposed as “generals” in battle fatigues.

The sides’ willingness to fight might be undiminished, but their ability to fight is looking threadbare.

In recent weeks, what was left of the SPLA’s administrative infrastructure seemed to collapse, with the army failing to make payroll payments, leading to mass desertions of what remained of its professional soldiery. (So, you know, normal stuff.)

Meanwhile, the shambolic regionally-mediated peace-process in Addis Ababa seems to have fallen apart altogether, as leaders who’ve killed thousands and displaced millions take deep offence at being called “stupid”. Thankfully, this hasn’t led to the resumption of mass violence (yet) mostly because the rebels appear to be out of ammo, and out of re-supply options.

And that, right there, points to the one path out of conflict: both sides’ willingness to fight might be undiminished, but their ability to fight is looking threadbare. Perhaps the only bright spot in this whole desolate scenario is that Machar seems not to have the kind of powerful foreign backers able to supply the kind of materiel that could make his rebellion permanent.

Which is why the noises coming out of the rebel camp in recent weeks have been all about “federalism”. (That whirring buzz you hear is the sound of James Madison turning in his grave at high RPM.)

In this context, a call from Machar for “federalism” means something like “OK, ok, we both know I don’t have the strength to take over the central government, but we both also know you don’t have the strength to flush me out of Jonglei and Upper Nile. So let’s split the difference: you get to keep looting Juba, but only if you give me this bit of turf in the North and East to plunder without interference.”

It’s the David Yau Yau Solution, only on a much bigger scale.

And so we circle back around to North, Wallis and Weingast, to Khan, and the rest of the development realists. The looming settlement-born-of-exhaustion is precisely what theory predicts. At some point, having exhausted any fantasy of annihilating their foes on the field of battle so they can have a free run at the nation’s resources, the most dangerous people in the country have started to inch wearily towards cutting a deal with each another.

It’ll take more time and more heartache, but they’ll circle around eventually. They won’t do it out of public spiritedness or some sort of Rousseauian reverence for the General Will. They’ll do it out of sheer, battle-scarred impotence.

And that’s how states are born.


You don’t fight corruption by “fighting corruption”

I confess that until Martin Tisne turned me on to this Development Drums podcast, I’d known Mushtaq Khan only as the reverently cited sage that kept cropping up again and again in the footnotes of every book and paper I’ve read these last few months.

What a blindspot to have! Mushtaq Khan in full flow is a thing of beauty: the development equivalent to Karim Benzema chasing a winning goal.

An heterodox anglo-bangladeshi development studies professor at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, Khan has long advocated for the type of nuanced, realpolitik-view of corruption’s role in development that Doug North’s writing initially turned me on to. In this 2009 recording, the legendary Owen Barder moderates as Khan debates the impact of corruption on development with eminent Chilean economist Daniel Kaufmann.

It’s no disrespect to Kaufmann to say Khan absolutely overshadows him, though, with a dexterity of argument and clarity of vision that’s just spellbinding. “The question,” Khan wants to ask, “is why do some poor country elites make their money by growing their economies and others make their money by ruining the economies?”

He’s terrifyingly funny as he pours scorn on the pathetic little mansions Mobutu built himself in Congo (pictured), next to the proper, big-time corruption of the Chinese elite. “It’s just a completely different scale,” he says.

Any gloss I could give his enormously elegant, entertaining rants would sell them short. Just go and listen to it. 



The Indomitable Rent-Seekers

Cameroon launch Africa’s World Cup later today after a couple of weeks that can only be described as “rocky”.

First, amid a bonus dispute, star striker and captain (swoooon!) Samuel Eto’o refused to receive the national flag from Monsieur le Premier Ministre after a warm-up match with Moldova, leaving the German-born coach in the bizarre position of receiving the symbolically loaded gift.

That right there drew charges of treason, which is always great for pre-tournament morale.

“What they did on Saturday,” said the head of the Cameroonian FA, “it is a shame to the nation, a total contempt for the government and people who came to watch them and say goodbye. If they do not respect the emblem of this country, can we still support them?”

Next, amid rumours that the notoriously corrupt Federation Camerounaise de Football had “forgotten” to book hotel and training facilities in Brazil, the team refused to board their plane in a last minute bid for yet more bonus money. This sent their FA scrambling for a private loan to persuade the players to board their luxury charter flight to Natal. Classy!

The local papers back in Yaoundé didn’t hold back:

Between a legitimate claim and fraudulent behaviour, there is a threshold that must not be crossed, but the Lions have happily crossed it shamelessly. Eto’o haggled premiums for the players until the last drop of his saliva to satisfy the pecuniary greed of our professional football players.

Later on, Eto’o – or, more likely, his lavishly funded PR handlers – did then go into damage control via social media. Frankly, the only apology likely to be accepted at this point is a thorough thrashing of Mexico and Croatia on the way to the Round of 16.

You almost feel bad for their FA until you remember, “wait, couldn’t they have set aside just part of the $24 million in stadium renovation funds they stole a few years back to cover this kind of contingency?”

I think it’s fascinating, because this Eto’o-Fecafoot fight is just this little keyhole allowing you to peer into the world of intra-elite haggling for rents in Cameroon. It’s just not normal for this sort of thing to be done so far out in public.

But here it is, in glorious, full technicolor display: the 1% of the Cameroonian 1% fighting it out for millions of dollars to chase a ball around a bit of grass in a place where 15 out of 100 children never make it to age five.

Personally, I’m supporting Mexico.


A Modest Proposal for FIFA

I have this theory that if you love fútbol your relationship with FIFA is a lot like a heroin addict’s relationship with the Taliban. We hear gruesome stories about what they do to bring us the good stuff, but we really don’t want to know the details. 

John Oliver said it beautifully on his show last night:

That’s about the size of it, isn’t it? We know that there’s no level of corruption FIFA could stoop to that would make us even consider not watching Brasil 2014.

Instead of having a vote, every four years FIFA should auction off the right to host the World Cup.

We’re hooked. We know it. They know it. It’s tawdry. But it’s like that.

Still, it’s sort of remarkable. The world’s favourite sports event is run by a kind of mafia: a sprawling, worldwide Limited Access Order headquartered in Zurich, of all places.

If you’re like me, though, the detailed allegations that Qatar bribed its way to being awarded the 2022 World Cup to the tune of $5 million is remarkable for all the wrong reasons.

I mean, just $5 million? That’s peanuts!

We need a sense of proportion:

  • Just a few years back, Cameroon’s (notorious) football association got $24 million for a stadium renovation project and every last penny was stolen with a grand total of zero statiums were renovated. When its head goes on vacation to France, he needs 43 hotel rooms at the cost of $40,000/night.
  • The Nigerian FA managed to charge around $5 millionfor the TV-broadcast rights for their domestic championship and kicked exactly zero of it down to the clubs.
  • When Ivory Coast’s FA received $1.6m a year from the Ivorian Petrol Refinery Company, SIR, local clubs never got any of the money.
  • In my own country, Venezuela, the same hyper-corrupt FA-head has been bleeding the FA dry for 4 decades and is immovable, even though we’ve qualified for the World Cup 0 times in 7 tries during his tenure.

Football bureaucracies are soft-targets for rent-seeking all over the developing world. A culture of easy-going looting seems to permeate the sector. FIFA, at the apex of that pyramid, reflects the values of the FAs that compose it. That’s the opposite of surprising.

What’s surprising is that a World Cup – an event that typically costs in the billions to tens of billions of dollars to stage – could be bought this cheaply.

Considering that, by some estimates, Qatar – a place where money virtually spurts out of the ground – has none of the infrastructure ready at all and may be prepared to spend $200 billion to stage the event, the $5 million in bribes Bin Hammam apparently doled out for votes is risible: 0.0025% of the cost of the event. He could’ve spent ten times as much and we’d still be talking about a rounding error.

The real scandal here is that Developing Country reps on FIFA’s executive are willing to give out one of the prime goodies in their bags for next to nothing.

Calls to reform FIFA to stamp out corruption are about as old as goal-line controversies. But let’s get a grip: you’re not going to be able to “reform” the corruption out of a global federation made up of lots of really really corrupt national federations.

What you need is transparency – real transparency.

So here’s a modest proposal: instead of a vote, every four years FIFA should auction off the right to host the World Cup.

Aspiring hosts would put together a technical proposal that would be evaluated by an independent set of auditors. Provided the proposal meets minimal organizational standards, they’d then be invited to submit a sealed bid to FIFA’s Executive Committee with the size of the bribe they’re willing to pay to host the event.

Economic theory suggests a Vickery Auction design would be technically efficient at eliciting truthful bids from aspiring hosts. The highest bidder would “win”, and they’d have to pay the bribe pledged by the second-highest bidder. The bribe would be apportioned to national FA officials in proportion with the number of registered amateurs who play football in that country. They would then be allowed to simply pocket the bribes, spending them on the same luxury vacations and villas they spend the current bribes on.

Not only would this substantially increase the amount of money going to developing countries but it would do something the current system utterly fails at: give football officials a real incentive to develop football in their own countries. By pegging the size of the bribe you get to pocket to the number of kids you interest in Football, you’d make FIFA into something it hasn’t been in years: a real force in spreading the popularity of the sport among young people.

It’s win-win!


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