making local government more ethical

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Book Reviews

Robert Wechsler
The great Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes' 2006 novel, The Eagle's Throne, translated from the Spanish by Kristina Cordero, is one of the best political novels I've ever read. I highly recommend it. The novel also happens to contain some great quotes that touch on government ethics. The government may be Mexico's, and national rather than local, but that won't get in the way of...
Robert Wechsler
To commemorate the death of Václav Havel, here are some quotations from his work that are relevant to government ethics:

"The prerequisite for everything political is moral. Politics really should be ethics put into practice."

“Even a purely moral act that has no hope of any immediate and visible political effect can gradually and indirectly, over time, gain in political significance.”

Living in the Truth:  "A person who has been seduced by the consumer...
Robert Wechsler
Henry Adams' 1880 novel Democracy is a must-read for those interested in government ethics. It's also a first-rate novel, full of wit, excellent writing, and a good portrayal of post-Civil War Washington. It's available free from Project Gutenberg, in six e-book formats.

The climax of the novel is an exchange between the Secretary of the Treasury (Ratcliffe, formerly a senator) and the novel's protagonist (...
Robert Wechsler
This fourth blog post on Philip Zimbardo's book The Lucifer Effect is a miscellany of various ideas in the book that have relevance to local government ethics.

An Ethics Commission With Lips
Zimbardo raises an interesting thought experiment. What if there were a reverse Milgram authority...
Robert Wechsler
This third blog post on Philip Zimbardo's book The Lucifer Effect looks at some ways to deal with situational forces.

Recognizing Our Limitations
One of the college students who played a guard in the Stanford Prison Experiment said later, "I was actually beginning to feel like a guard and...
Robert Wechsler
This second blog post on Philip Zimbardo's book The Lucifer Effect applies the situational approach to government ethics programs, and looks at the situational forces at play with respect to ethical misconduct.

The Situational Approach
It is in the interests of those who are responsible for...