The Developing Nations: Commentary:
What is Corruption?
by Aurora Z. Badillo
Corruption is an often used, but very rarely defined phenomenon of the social life. Corruption or level of corruption is widely used in public discourse and usually hold a two-fold common-sense meaning. On one hand it stands for those illegal practices, in which citizens or organizations bribe officials in charge for awarding permissions, contracts, or to escape punishment or fines for offenses they committed. Simpler: to obtain privileges against law or against the rules of some bureaucracy. This is the narrow definition of corruption. Many scholars argue, however, that corruption is a broader phenomenon, or rather, a hardly definable set of phenomena, including achieving several advances through personal networking; paying gratitude money or giving gifts for usual services, what are already reimbursed from customers, or state resources. Viewed most broadly, corruption is the misuse of office for unofficial ends. (Klitgaard,1981).
the first, narrow definition of corruption is primarily considered as
dangerous, illegal, immoral, and furthermore:
totally illegitimate in today’s developed or transforming societies (and
economies). However, researches indicate
that the narrowly defined corruption closely correlates with the level of the
broader phenomena of corruptive activities or deeds, which are just morally corrupt
But there is another problem with the broad definition; its largely dependent of culture, historic age, actual social climate, and social groups, which activities can be perceived as corruptive. Whereas the narrow definition can usually be read from the more or less uniform laws throughout the countries, the definition, and even more the structure- the patterns- of those what we call corruptive activities, are deviating in a wide and rather undiscovered range.
to many will be the results of a recent survey of government transparency and corruption
in the public sector by Transparency International. They found less corruption in Asian nations
CORRUPTION AND HYPOCRISY
corruption exist only in
UNDERLYING CAUSES FOR CORRUPT PRACTICES AT LOWER LEVELS
services including central and local government offices and police forces, not
only in Asian countries, are criticized more than praised by the public for
their efficiency. In
The only way to a decent income for people processing information at desks in these officers is by reaching a level of seniority where it’s possible to exert some influence or derive some benefit. Influence can be with the public (business and individuals) and also over “underlings”. Benefits pass upward, right to the top of the organization.
Promotion within these bureaucratic systems is a slow process if one relies on merit or length of service, bit it certainly plays a part. The way to speed it up is by paying sometimes large amounts of money, just to get the job. Further payments will be necessary to climb each rung of ladder more quickly too. There is obviously no justification for this and it cannot produce an efficient system of government, of benefit to the general public. However, stamping it out completely is virtually impossible because the legislators are the very ones these practices benefit most.
Corruption starts at the top and filters down to the lowest rung of ladder. Benefits move in an upward direction. The “public” are aware of it and complain about it; politicians make promises to reduce corruption, but it’s only to win votes at elections. A few knuckles are sometimes rapped as a token gesture, somewhere down the line, but at the end of the day, little changes.
In the above respect, apart from being impractical in some cases and virtually impossible in others to eradicate completely, certain forms of “corruption” can be of benefit to any, both “giver” and “receiver”, with little or no effect on others or a country as a whole.
Here are the top scorers(base 10): Finland 9.7; Iceland 9.6; Denmark, New Zealand 9.5; Singapore 9.4; Sweden 9.3; Netherlands 8.9; Australia, Norway, Switzerland 8.8; Canada, Luxembourg, United Kingdom 8.7; Hong Kong 8.0; United States, Ireland 7.5; Japan 7.0. Of course there are some Asian nations near the bottom of the list too!
In a perfect world with good, honest governments and efficient civil services, there would be no place or need for public sector corruption – or many other “bad things: for that matter. There is general consensus that certain forms of corruption should be ended because the overall effect is negative. A kickback, backhander, bribe, “tea money”, baksheesh is an inducement or sweetener, often in the form of cash, paid to someone able to produce a short or long term benefit by unofficial, unethical, unlawful or illegal or devious means. At its highest level, national or international government contracts are secured, often resulting not only in considerable portions of a country’s funds being diverted into the pockets of a few powerful politicians, civil servants and the big businesses themselves, but also leading to uncompleted projects or those with inferior workmanship. When failure or disaster occurs, blame is rarely apportioned to the real cause. New contracts are drawn up, continuing the self-serving process for the benefit of the avaricious few who continue wield this sort of influence.
are many more, less well known or publicized cases in Asia and even more so in
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