September 26, 2003

HERE’S A USA TODAY STORY on the explosion of consumerism and entrepreneurialism in Iraq.

Virginia Postrel comments: “TVs, refrigerators, and air conditioners–Anna Quindlen won’t like this news.”

Boo freakin’ hoo, as they say. Here’s the really good news from the story:

Hassan al-Dinwani, 53, owner of al-Yussir Trading Shops in Baghdad’s Karada neighborhood, says one of his new customers was a policeman. ”This was a surprise to me,” he says. In the past, officers couldn’t buy goods at his shop because their salaries were too low.

Iraqi police Lt. Raad Rasheed says his salary is now the equivalent of $275 a month, up from $25 before the war. ”My family is happy,” he says. ”I am also more focused on my job because I no longer have to worry about money.”

Underpaid police and functionaries, and the resultant corruption — many literally can’t feed their families without income from bribes — are a blight on much of the world. Sounds like this isn’t the case in Iraq.