While Einstein is supposed to have said that only the universe and human stupidity are infinite, stupidity is not a satisfactory explanation of why most dictators turn out to be obscenely corrupt. After all, these people possess the cunning to get the job and to hold it down for a time. An explanation that may help identify a solution to the problem may be rather different. The corrupt dictator operates in a social-economic framework that is characterized by corrupt and untransparent transactions: he (or she?) sits near the apex of a kleptocracy. The money of the other kleptocrats (oligarchs) brings them huge power to manipulate the political system and society. They want one of their own to head the political system and to ensure that conditions remain favorable to their continued enjoyment of their wealth and to its further increase. A president who sets himself morally above this kleptocracy by his austere virtue is unlikely to be someone they trust. Thus the palaces and expensive tastes are a pledge by the president that he is one of them. The solution is less that of putting in power a virtuous president than of curbing the power of the kleptocratic class.