A City’s Struggle against an EpithetBrett H. Mandel
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 Consenting is 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.
Philadelphia BattlefieldsJohn Kromer