42 episodes

Does power corrupt? Absolutely. This is the podcast about the hidden—and often nefarious—forces that shape our world. Election rigging. Smuggling. Narcopolitics. Ransom. Conspiracy Theories. North Korean bank heists. Cults. Drug Lords. Voodoo. Money laundering. Assassinations. Unhinged conspiracy theories. Unbelievable stories. Stitched together with the help of world-leading experts. Created and narrated by Dr. Brian Klaas, a political scientist and columnist for The Washington Post.

Join our exclusive Patreon community for uncut interviews, episodes early and much more: Patreon.com/powercorrupts

Power Corrupts Brian Klaas

    • News
    • 4.5 • 1.1K Ratings

Does power corrupt? Absolutely. This is the podcast about the hidden—and often nefarious—forces that shape our world. Election rigging. Smuggling. Narcopolitics. Ransom. Conspiracy Theories. North Korean bank heists. Cults. Drug Lords. Voodoo. Money laundering. Assassinations. Unhinged conspiracy theories. Unbelievable stories. Stitched together with the help of world-leading experts. Created and narrated by Dr. Brian Klaas, a political scientist and columnist for The Washington Post.

Join our exclusive Patreon community for uncut interviews, episodes early and much more: Patreon.com/powercorrupts

    War Criminal or Victim?

    War Criminal or Victim?

    The International Criminal Court prosecutes perpetrators of horrific crimes. But what if the perpetrator is also a victim?
     
    That's the question we explore this week, with the disturbing tale of a child soldier who was kidnapped into a militia, but then rose the ranks to become a senior commander.
     
    After climbing the hierarchy, he began kidnapping more children and killing civilians. So, is he a victim, or is he a perpetrator? And is it possible to be both?
     
    You can support our work here: Patreon.com/powercorrupts
     
    And you can pre-order Brian’s new book, Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us, here (or wherever you buy books): 
    https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Corruptible/Brian-Klaas/9781982154097
     
    Follow us on social media:
     
    Twitter - twitter.com/powrcorrupts
    Instagram - instagram.com/powercorruptspodcast

    • 53 min
    Walk the Plank

    Walk the Plank

    How do you capture a pirate after they’ve hijacked a ship? In today’s episode, we look at two ingenious sting operations that managed to lure some pirates across borders to their arrest. And in the process, we’ll see how clever law enforcement agencies get around the problem of tracking down criminals across international borders.
     
    You can support our work here: Patreon.com/powercorrupts
     
    And you can pre-order Brian’s new book, Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us, here (or wherever you buy books): 
    https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Corruptible/Brian-Klaas/9781982154097
     
    Follow us on social media: 
     
    Twitter - twitter.com/powrcorrupts
    Instagram - instagram.com/powercorruptspodcast

    • 35 min
    The Invisible Hook

    The Invisible Hook

    Pirates can teach us quite a lot about democracy and economics. What can Blackbeard teach us about signaling theory? Why were pirates racially progressive for their era? And is it possible that pirate ships were laboratories for experiments with constitutional democracy? 
     
    In this episode, we speak to Professor Peter Leeson of George Mason University, and Dr. Rebecca Simon, an expert on pirate history.
    You can get Professor Peter's book, The Invisible Hook at https://www.amazon.com/Invisible-Hook-Hidden-Economics-Pirates/dp/0691150095
     
    You can support our work here: Patreon.com/powercorrupts
     
    And you can pre-order Brian’s new book, Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us, here (or wherever you buy books): 
    https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Corruptible/Brian-Klaas/9781982154097
     
    Follow us on social media: 
    Twitter - twitter.com/powrcorrupts
    Instagram - instagram.com/powercorruptspodcast

    • 46 min
    Golden Handcuffs

    Golden Handcuffs

    Can doing the wrong thing ever be the right policy? That’s a question we’ll tackle this week as we look at the possibility of letting some very bad people get away with their crimes…in order to prevent them from causing further damage. From drug kingpins to dictators, is it ever a good idea to just let them get away with it? 
     
    This week’s episode features journalist Jaime Yaya Berry; human rights advocate Tutu Alicante; former Ambassador Charles Stith; and journalist Ioan Grillo. 
     
    You can support our work here: Patreon.com/powercorrupts
     
    And you can pre-order Brian’s new book, Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us, here (or wherever you buy books): 
    https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Corruptible/Brian-Klaas/9781982154097

    • 55 min
    Hitman for Hire

    Hitman for Hire

    What if you hacked a hitman-for-hire website and found out the identities of people who were slated to die before the murder? How much does it cost to hire a hitman on the Dark Web? And what if all of these supposed hitmen were just part of a giant, lucrative hoax?
     
    In this episode, we explore the stranger-than-fiction tale of hitmen services being sold on the darkest corners of the internet.
     
    Guests include Gian Volpicelli of Wired UK; Eileen Ormsby, a journalist and author; and Randy McAlister of the Cottage Grove, Minnesota police department.
     
    Support our work here: patreon.com/powercorrupts
     
    And buy Brian's new book, Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us here: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Corruptible/Brian-Klaas/9781982154097

    • 47 min
    Fake IDs

    Fake IDs

    Could you fake your death and get away with it? In this episode, we look at fake identities, from people who've tried to fake their own deaths to an audacious wine fraudster who made millions as he sold new wine in old bottles.
     
    We speak to a private investigator who proves that people are, in fact alive, and a wine merchant who decided to act like an FBI agent in his quest to stake out a man who was making fake bottles of his wine. And in the process, we see glimpses of how identities are harder to forge in the 21st century.
     
    Guests in this episode: Steven Rambam, private investigator; Laurent Ponsot, master winemaker; Peter Hellman, author of In Vino Duplicitas; and two eminent historians, Helen Watt and Paul Dryburgh.
     
    Support our work here: patreon.com/powercorrupts
     
    And buy Brian's new book, Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us here: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Corruptible/Brian-Klaas/9781982154097

    • 54 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
1.1K Ratings

1.1K Ratings

Daispy101 ,

An essential listen

Power Corrupts is one of those podcasts that shines a light on areas of history that we would be wise to pay attention to.

If you haven’t listened to episodes yet, add this to your library and get busy.

patrickdallas416 ,

Outstanding podcast

Always interesting topics discussed in an intelligent and engaging way. First-rate production. Couldn't recommended more highly. I listen to a lot of podcasts, and this is near the top of my list.

Came back to look at why anyone would give this podcast a negative review. I looked through a bunch of them, and every one I saw was objecting to Klass simply observing the objective fact that trump is a ludicrous carnival barker. Sorry, folks. Klass is right. And it's relevant. That you don't like it doesn't mean he shouldn't say it.

God.Jay ,

Brilliant

Brilliant research, incredible delivery and a rich tapestry of issues dealing with our own efforts at defeating the systems we design for own safety. The podcast is replete with jaw dropping stories that substantiate how far some of us can go to basically satisfy their ego.
Waiting for the book already subscribed.
Bless you my friends
Jay

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