Long-Held Popular Notion of the Day

From today’s New York Times:

“It shows the power of data,” said Daniel Kaufmann, an author of the report and director of global programs at the World Bank Institute, a knowledge-sharing and training arm of the bank. “It begins to challenge these long-held popular notions — that the rich world has reached nirvana in governance.”

Nirvana in governance? What planet is he living on? On mine, the great majority of people are something less than ecstatic about those who are governing the rich world.

Curiously, the headline and lead paragraph of this article manage to say the exact opposite of each other:

World Bank Report on Governing Finds Level Playing Field

Africa, often stereotyped as a place of epic corruption and misrule, emerges in a World Bank report as a continent of great variety, with some countries — Tanzania, Liberia, Rwanda, Ghana and Niger — making notable progress over the past decade, and others — Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast and Eritrea — moving backward.

In other words, about as far as possible from being a level playing field, no?

Granted, the overall point of the article is that corruption is getting to be as bad in wealthier countries as it is in poorer ones, but even so, spinning that as a “level playing field” when what you mean is that the playing field is increasingly non-level everywhere takes some remarkable contortion of thought.

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