Global Affairs and Public Policy

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Research Article

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This essay, based on a lifetime’s research together around the world, focuses on the dark side of government: the wrongdoing of public officials that frustrate the efforts of humanity to better itself and to strive for perfection. It dwells on what goes needlessly wrong in public affairs - its failures and harmful actions, not its successes and achievements. All over the world people are increasingly upset with the performance of public authorities when misdeeds are hidden by confined blameworthy inner circles sworn to a secrecy enforced by public instruments, until they are eventually exposed to the public eye too late to correct. Even the most enlightened may be misled by rumors, false information, and propaganda that blur the whole picture and by premature revelations that confuses reality and understanding. Sleuths are discouraged and may have to take risks to life and limb to get to the truth. Upon close scrutiny, nowhere is immune to such public maladministration, described as “rotten eggs in a haven of corruption” (New York Times, 2019). Those who attempt serious investigation are unlikely to be popular with threatened elites and their cronies and sycophants who do not stop at murder in self defense. This paper is not intended to finger miscreants but to encourage further exploration of this dark side of government, exposing and analyzing many of the issues involved, and to contribute to the expectation that eventually effective ways will be found and deployed to diminish maladministration and improve the conduct of public affairs.

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