Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Nature of Grift by the Last Psychiatrist

Very interesting article by the Last Psychiatrist on the nature of grift and how the US immigration is purposely set up for gamesmanship. I read the New Yorker article on asylum she is referring to and it was a little unsettling but I couldn't pinpoint why. She explains exactly what is so unsettling about it, but then makes the case that it's set up that way on purpose. More accurately, it's setup to reward liars but not financial bribers. Fascinating article, I recommend reading the whole thing.
"The system wants Caroline, the system wants there to be a way for "intelligent" and "hard working" and "church going" resourceful people to game the system. All of those words mean "taxpayers."  It wants the kind of person who sticks with this tedious bureaucratic process even if it is all a lie; it doesn't want the person who doesn't bother to try to get legal.  And, most importantly, when you establish the grift as based on the best "rape narrative", it therefore isn't about the most money.  That's what you want to avoid, because Caroline has none of it, and MS13 has lots of it.  
What distinguishes this grift from the overt kind-- of Greece, Mexico, Pakistan-- is that in the former case the cheat occurs top down, while in the latter case the cheat occurs bottom up.  In Greece, you want a permit?  You have to know who to bribe.  Bribery may go "all they way to the top," but importantly your bribe has to start from the bottom and move to the top.  
In the case of American asylum seeking-- and everything else-- the grift is at the top and it lacks a human face.  This story is in The New Yorker, right? So it's hardly news, hardly investigative journalism.  So at minimum, everyone in the business knows the score.  Novick knows that, in general, much of what he hears is a lie, even if he isn't sure/ignores that he is being lied to right now.  Unless you piss him off personally, or flaunt your lying, he doesn't care about the veracity of your claim exactly, just the internal validity of it.
That's the system.  The system favors narratives over truth to avoid the terrible reality of reflexive human corruption."