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Philadelphia, Corrupt and Consenting: A City’s Struggle against an Epithet (Hardcover)

Philadelphia, Corrupt and Consenting: A City’s Struggle against an Epithet By Brett H. Mandel Cover Image
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More than a century after muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens derided the city of Philadelphia as being “corrupt and contented,” Philadelphia struggles to rise above this unfortunate characterization. Philadelphia, Corrupt and Consentingis the story of a city’s confrontation with a history that threatens its future. Author Brett Mandel, who has been a reform-oriented government official and political insider, provides a detailed account of the corruption investigation of John Dougherty, one of the city’s most powerful political figures, in order to expose and explore networks of corruption. 
He examines the costs of corruption, both financial and nonpecuniary, and considers the opportunity cost that corruption imposes. Mandel explores the nature and development of Philadelphia’s unique culture of corruption, emphasizing how machine politics and self-dealing are entwined with city history, creating a culture that allows corruption to thrive. In addition, he provides practical, achievable policies and actions that can produce positive change in Philadelphia and elsewhere.
Mandel seeks to provide insight into how our collective actions or inattention give consent to the corruption, as well as its roots and effects, and the reasons for its persistence. Philadelphia, Corrupt and Consenting is a critique, but above all, it is a call to action.  

About the Author

Brett H. Mandel is a Philadelphia-based writer and consultant who engages in civic activism and government reform when he is not serving as Chief Financial Officer and Utility Player for his start-up, Baseball BBQ. He has also served as the Executive Director of the National Education Technology Funding Corporation; Executive Director of the citizens' organization, Philadelphia Forward; and Director of Financial and Policy Analysis for the Office of the Philadelphia City Controller. He is the author of Minor Players, Major Dreams and Is This Heaven?: The Magic of the Field of Dreams; and coauthor of Philadelphia: A New Urban Direction.

Praise For…

“At a time when our city is at a political crossroads, Mandel’s book arrives not a moment too soon. Philadelphia, Corrupt and Consenting is the most riveting assessment of our city’s infamous history of political corruption. Mandel leaves no stone unturned as he peels back the layers of how a local culture of complicity has led us to witnessing constant federal probes, indictments, and convictions. This is a must-read for any concerned citizen, regardless of political affiliation.”Ernest Owens, award-winning journalist and author of The Case for Cancel Culture

“A fascinating in-depth study of political corruption in Philly, this book relates that city’s experiences to existing research on the causes and consequences of municipal corruption. Mandel’s lessons apply broadly, not just to Philadelphia, but to municipalities worldwide—especially the need to go beyond the criminal law to reform political and bureaucratic institutions.”Susan Rose-Ackerman, Henry R. Luce Emeritus Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, and coauthor of Corruption and Government: Causes, Consequences, and Reform, Second Edition

“From James McManes to Matthew Quay, from William McMullen to the Vare Brothers, corrupted politics has infused Philadelphia’s civic DNA. Today it’s Johnny Doc and his use of union muscle and money to control political and construction landscapes. But as Brett Mandel deftly observes, corruption has functioned here with a complicit constituency—the people of the city. Mandel has explained its historical context and ever-present toll while offering sage advice, a refresher in citizenship. All we need to do is listen.”Sam Katz, Filmmaker at History Making Productions

"Civic activist and author Mandel tallies up the long-term toll corruption has had on this city while offering a glimpse at a better future, if we're willing to work for it."Philadelphia magazine
Product Details
ISBN: 9781439924273
ISBN-10: 1439924279
Publisher: Temple University Press
Publication Date: May 5th, 2023
Pages: 272
Language: English