corruption-a-global-problem
Jul 2009 19

“All along I thought that our level of corruption fell well within community standards”

“It is helpful to know the proper way to behave, So one can decide whether or not to be proper.”

How does the old adage go? Rules were made to be broken. As my father used to say “I told you before son, the golden rule in life is not to get caught.” Now my old man said this with a lot of humour intended, but after all many a true word is spoken in jest. Indeed some people have managed to make careers and live their entire lives ‘not getting caught’. Take Mr Berlusconi as a prime example, the number of accusations and evidence of corruption within both his political and personal lives keep on rising, yet the 72 year old Italian Prime Minister just keeps on smiling.

corruption

In recent times the classic view of corruption as the degradation of an individual’s ethical sense, or lack of moral integrity, has been abandoned. Corruption is usually defined as an illegal exchange focused around money. Improper and usually unlawful conduct intended to secure a benefit for oneself or another. Its forms include bribery, extortion, and the misuse of inside information. It exists where there is community indifference or a lack of enforcement policies. Many societies have a culture of ritualised gift giving, thus the line between acceptable and unacceptable gifts becomes even harder to establish. Moreover, even in supposedly less corrupt countries like the UK, there are always ways of improving one’s personal finances, all within the boundary of the law. Indeed, as in the Romanian Parliament, politicians as legislators can always amend the rules to make certain activities legal or less illegal. Such moves may not be blatantly corrupt but they are unjustifiable.

Now in many countries corruption is a daily way of life, paying bribes to police officers instead of being arrested being one of the most common examples. However according to the 2008 Transparency International Report, Uganda is currently with sixty-five per cent of respondents stating that they regularly paid bribes for services that are already covered by the taxes they pay. This is perhaps not so surprising considering the continued destabilising presence of Joseph Krony and his army of child soldiers.

Ironically there is often no real impetus for change within a society because the people who are paying the price of the corruption (often in the form of reckless lending and borrowing) are ordinary, poorer citizens who are usually the most unable to raise a voice in protest. So one could argue that the recent announcement by the World Bank of a €300 million loan to Romania to help mitigate the economic crisis and resume EU convergence could well end up doing more harm than good. It is clear that sometimes international pressure and financial aid merely continue to fund corrupt practices and maintain those already in power.

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Moreover, corruption should not be viewed simply as political, many companies regularly engage in questionable practices (not just including illegal payments) in order to secure future business or to get first option on extracting natural resources. Indeed as the 2008 Bribe Payers Index shows companies from Belgium and Canada are the least likely to use bribes abroad, followed closely by those from the Netherlands and Switzerland. At the other end of the spectrum, respondents ranked Russian businesses as the most likely to do so. Perhaps corruption is a just matter of compromise: just how far are you prepared to go for what you believe and what you want to achieve?

4 Comments

  1. badmash says:

    I just signed up to your blogs rss feed. Will you post more on this subject?

  2. […] interests that are contrary to  the greater well being of societies. I hold cynical views about corrupt politicians and social injustice and believe that it is fine to be disappointed and even disgusted by politics. BUT I ABSOLUTELY […]

  3. […] Corruption is a Global Problem so keep checking aspecks.com for regular corruption alerts… and of course please feel free to share any stories of corruption that you have heard about or experienced with us here at ASPECKS. No Comments, Comment or Ping […]

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