Diasporan Money Corrupts Governments, Study Finds

By Avedis Kevorkian, Philadelphia PA, 28 December 2008

Avedis Kevorkian represents a dissenting voice that many may not share, but it’s worth listening to for the benefit of planniing a healthier way to conduct  financial affairs between the Armenian Diaspora and its motherland.
– Keghart.com –

Often, I am asked (even by myself), "If you are so smart, why ain’t you rich?"

To which I answer (even to myself), "Probably, because I am not so smart."

Then, recently, I realized that there is hope for me yet.

For years (since 1991, actually), I have been saying that the Armenian Diaspora should not support  Armenia in any way–especially  financially.  

My  reasoning  was that  the crooks  and  thieves  and   thugs  who  run  the country  (in  the  first  two  presidential administrations, and why should anyone expect the third presidential administration will be any different?) will take the money for themselves or will steal the money one way or other.  Admittedly, my view was  based  on a feeling, on  observations, on  what  I  read about Yerevan, and on what I saw on two visits.  But, nothing scientific and  not on  any research–though my failed attempts at helping Armenia in the 1990s went a long way to forming  my opinion.

And, I am often — No, usually — severely criticized.  Some people even question whether I am Armenian, because I don’t succumb to the lure of the siren song of the crooks   and thieves  and  thugs  in  Yerevan  that  I  (or you)  in the Diaspora  owe  a  duty  to  the "homeland"/"Motherland."   To that argument I retort that "This is my ‘homeland’ and I don’t owe Armenia a damn thing."  But, let us not go down that path, right now.

Suffice it to say, I have maintained that the only way for the crooks and thieves and thugs to see the light, to get religion, to decide to walk the straight and narrow path of  honesty, and to serve the people of the country is to deprive them of Diasporan money.

However, it appears that I am pretty smart — so I expect the money to roll in, soon.

A recent study conducted under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has found that "remittances [from a diaspora] may  actually  encourage  government corruption and ineffectiveness."

The study looked at 111 countries between 1990 and 2000, and researchers found that high levels of remittances often lead to greater corruption and irresponsible economic policies. (Isn’t it wonderful how delicate can be the language of these reports?)

What  the  study  revealed  was  that  the officials  in the  remittance-rich  countries  are often — to give them the benefit of the doubt — let off the hook for failing to provide basic services, thus freeing them to divert resources for their own purposes.  "Surprise, surprise!"

According to one of the  report’s co-authors, "The  government says  ‘I  know you are getting money; what’s my incentive to fix [any given] situation?’"  This, the co-author says, is  because  there is less  incentive for citizens to demand reforms and will turn elsewhere to get the services they need.

In effect, the study suggested, if the crooks and thieves and thugs who run Armenia had planned to spend, let us say, one-thousand dollars to help the still-poor victims of the 1988 earthquake who are still living in shipping containers, and the crooks and thieves and thugs learn that the poor had received one-thousand dollars from Armenian suckers in the Diaspora, they (the crooks and thieves and thugs) will say, "since you have one-thousand dollars, you spend the money on yourselves, and we will divert our intended one-thousand dollars to another cause."  And, what other cause can be more worthy for the crooks and thieves and thugs than to buy another valuable trinket for their villas, or to be put toward the purchase of a new BMW or Mercedes (since the ashtrays of their present limos are getting full)?

In most functioning democracies, people leave government and enter the private sector in order to make real money.  In Armenia,  people  enter the  government  to make real money.  If the world thinks that the trouble during the recent farce called "an election" was solely about who governs Armenia, it is only partially correct.  The real dispute was about who gets his nose in the money-trough.  Unfortunately, much of the money there comes from the mis-guided Diaspora.

However, should the  voiceless  poor ever  find their  voices and decide to complain, we know what will happen to them.  In Armenia, complaining about the corruption can stunt one’s growth.

Why the authors of the long study bothered to spend so much time and effort to examine so many countries, is beyond me.  A couple of months in Yerevan would have been all that was necessary for  them to  learn what  they needed to  know about  governmental corruption in countries with a generous (but foolish) diaspora.

Having, now, been reassured that I am, indeed, smart, I have alerted my bank to expect my meager account to grow by the millions.

Avedis Kevorkian
Philadelphia, PA


By Avedis Kevorkian, Philadelphia PA, 28 December 2008

Avedis Kevorkian represents a dissenting voice that many may not share, but it’s worth listening to for the benefit of planniing a healthier way to conduct  financial affairs between the Armenian Diaspora and its motherland.
– Keghart.com –

Often, I am asked (even by myself), "If you are so smart, why ain’t you rich?"

To which I answer (even to myself), "Probably, because I am not so smart."

Then, recently, I realized that there is hope for me yet.

For years (since 1991, actually), I have been saying that the Armenian Diaspora should not support  Armenia in any way–especially  financially.  

My  reasoning  was that  the crooks  and  thieves  and   thugs  who  run  the country  (in  the  first  two  presidential administrations, and why should anyone expect the third presidential administration will be any different?) will take the money for themselves or will steal the money one way or other.  Admittedly, my view was  based  on a feeling, on  observations, on  what  I  read about Yerevan, and on what I saw on two visits.  But, nothing scientific and  not on  any research–though my failed attempts at helping Armenia in the 1990s went a long way to forming  my opinion.

And, I am often — No, usually — severely criticized.  Some people even question whether I am Armenian, because I don’t succumb to the lure of the siren song of the crooks   and thieves  and  thugs  in  Yerevan  that  I  (or you)  in the Diaspora  owe  a  duty  to  the "homeland"/"Motherland."   To that argument I retort that "This is my ‘homeland’ and I don’t owe Armenia a damn thing."  But, let us not go down that path, right now.

Suffice it to say, I have maintained that the only way for the crooks and thieves and thugs to see the light, to get religion, to decide to walk the straight and narrow path of  honesty, and to serve the people of the country is to deprive them of Diasporan money.

However, it appears that I am pretty smart — so I expect the money to roll in, soon.

A recent study conducted under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has found that "remittances [from a diaspora] may  actually  encourage  government corruption and ineffectiveness."

The study looked at 111 countries between 1990 and 2000, and researchers found that high levels of remittances often lead to greater corruption and irresponsible economic policies. (Isn’t it wonderful how delicate can be the language of these reports?)

What  the  study  revealed  was  that  the officials  in the  remittance-rich  countries  are often — to give them the benefit of the doubt — let off the hook for failing to provide basic services, thus freeing them to divert resources for their own purposes.  "Surprise, surprise!"

According to one of the  report’s co-authors, "The  government says  ‘I  know you are getting money; what’s my incentive to fix [any given] situation?’"  This, the co-author says, is  because  there is less  incentive for citizens to demand reforms and will turn elsewhere to get the services they need.

In effect, the study suggested, if the crooks and thieves and thugs who run Armenia had planned to spend, let us say, one-thousand dollars to help the still-poor victims of the 1988 earthquake who are still living in shipping containers, and the crooks and thieves and thugs learn that the poor had received one-thousand dollars from Armenian suckers in the Diaspora, they (the crooks and thieves and thugs) will say, "since you have one-thousand dollars, you spend the money on yourselves, and we will divert our intended one-thousand dollars to another cause."  And, what other cause can be more worthy for the crooks and thieves and thugs than to buy another valuable trinket for their villas, or to be put toward the purchase of a new BMW or Mercedes (since the ashtrays of their present limos are getting full)?

In most functioning democracies, people leave government and enter the private sector in order to make real money.  In Armenia,  people  enter the  government  to make real money.  If the world thinks that the trouble during the recent farce called "an election" was solely about who governs Armenia, it is only partially correct.  The real dispute was about who gets his nose in the money-trough.  Unfortunately, much of the money there comes from the mis-guided Diaspora.

However, should the  voiceless  poor ever  find their  voices and decide to complain, we know what will happen to them.  In Armenia, complaining about the corruption can stunt one’s growth.

Why the authors of the long study bothered to spend so much time and effort to examine so many countries, is beyond me.  A couple of months in Yerevan would have been all that was necessary for  them to  learn what  they needed to  know about  governmental corruption in countries with a generous (but foolish) diaspora.

Having, now, been reassured that I am, indeed, smart, I have alerted my bank to expect my meager account to grow by the millions.

Avedis Kevorkian
Philadelphia, PA


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