The Rule of the Unprincipled, Unethical and Unqualified
(click here for abstract and image

Matt Stephens
Governance and Anticorruption Advisor
The World Bank-Philippines

For Ronnie Amorado’s Kakistocracy, the title of the book really does say it all. Kakistocracy is not a word in common use and, similarly, the book takes a different approach to much of the anti-corruption literature in the Philippines.

As the title suggests, the book explores the conditions that lead to and the practical manifestations of government by the least qualified or principled. By recounting a series of real cases of malfeasance by the unqualified or unprincipled – collusion in appointments and promotions in government, misuse of public resources, extortion, nepotism and even domestic violence – from the perspective of those directly affected, the book connects broad scale corruption and individual behavior, positing an inexorable link between immorality and ethics in the private and public spheres.

Ronnie Amorado highlights the necessity of capable and ethical leadership, but the case studies equally demonstrate that good leadership of itself is not an adequate condition to prevent corruption. Looking beyond leadership, he passionately espouses the necessity for social mobilization to demand better governance as an obligation of citizenship. Through community action, Ronnie Amorado argues, trust can be built, strong leaders supported, and capable institutions established.

Ronnie Amorado’s lively writing style, breadth of theoretical and historical perspectives and personalized rendering of the real impact of corruption on the lives of ordinary people make Kakistocracy a highly readable and worthy contribution to the Philippines’ rich literature on anti-corruption.