Alongside these pockets of high corruption, other industries, other societies and other times are virtually corruption-free. Denmark is currently seen as the least corrupt place in the world and many non-Western countries such as Botswana are also viewed as relatively untainted Transparency International In most societies, corruption is not normal: Corruption is concentrated in pockets because it depends upon common expectations of behaviour.
Where corruption is the norm, getting rid of it poses a co-ordination problem: Because of this, pockets of corruption have proved to be highly persistent: Similarly, honesty is persistent. In the first TI survey conducted in , Denmark was rated second globally. This persistence is not a matter of chance. Danes are born into an honest society and so inherit the expectation that they themselves will be trustworthy.
Being trusted is a valuable asset: In consequence, individual Danes have a strong incentive not to squander this valuable asset through behaving opportunistically. Because people have rationally chosen to protect their reputation for honesty, the entire society has stayed honest. But change is possible. Until well into the 19th century, the British public sector was very corrupt. Positions were bought and sold and contracts were awarded in return for bribes.
Crises such as military humiliation in the Crimean War helped to shock governments into change. Opportunities for corruption were curtailed: A new purposive ethic was promoted and serving the nation became the pinnacle of social prestige and self-worth. By the late 19th century, the British Civil Service had become honest and competent. This transformation was largely fortuitous rather than the result of a properly thought-through strategy.
But its success reveals the key components of how change can be brought about. Societies do not have to wait for military humiliation and a moral revival: In Britain, two key things — closing off the major opportunities for corruption and making working for the public good more prestigious and satisfying than abusing office for private gain — happened together. These two approaches are jointly critical in breaking cultures of corruption.
Just as 19th-century Britain implemented both of them without international help, there is much that societies currently beset by corruption can do for themselves. However, the globalisation of business and social networks has created an important role for international action.
Countries such as Britain can contribute to encouraging both internal and international initiatives. There is enormous scope for international actions that close off opportunities for corruption. Equally, there is much that can be done to make behaviours that promote the public good more prestigious and satisfying than those that sacrifice the public interest for private gain. This is because corruption, like honesty, tends to persist. Corrupt behaviour is self-reinforcing, and breaking out of it is not easy.
A co-ordinated push for international action thus makes national initiatives more likely to succeed and more worthwhile to attempt. It can help those societies that are still struggling with the problems that Britain faced in the 19th century. Britain has already done much to make global corruption more difficult. The Government has led the way in dismantling this labyrinth of deceit: Britain has rapidly changed from being part of the problem to being a pioneer of the solution, but quite evidently following the money is subject to a weakest-link problem.
Corrupt money will hide wherever it can, so it is vital that all the major legal and financial centres close the loopholes. There is scope to extend transparency beyond bank deposits to other major assets such as property. There is also considerable scope for those governments that adopt effective measures for following the money to require all companies that wish to do business with them to comply with these standards, providing global reach for national efforts.
A second contribution has been to increase transparency in key sectors. In North America and Europe, what began as voluntary revenue transparency is now evolving into a legal requirement. Meanwhile the EITI is becoming the established international standard-setting entity for the sector, extending voluntarism beyond simple revenue reporting to matters such as contracts.
There is now an equivalent voluntary initiative for the construction sector and it warrants similar co-ordinated propulsion. A third contribution has been to increase accountability: Clamping down on bribery is a classic instance of the free-rider problem: The alternative to such co-operation is a race to the bottom that the businesses of no decently governed country can win.
There is, equally, plenty of scope for contributing to the complementary approach of making public good more prestigious and satisfying than the private gains generated by abuse of office.
Take, for example, tax administration, which is fundamental to effective government. In many poor countries, tax administration is an epicentre of corruption. As a specific example, consider the administration of Value-Added Tax VAT , which is a means of revenue-raising encouraged globally by the International Monetary Fund IMF because it is less distorting than most other taxes. Even before VAT, many tax inspectors were corrupt, using their power to tax firms as a means of extorting money for themselves: VAT has reduced revenue, because it expanded the options available to corrupt tax officials.
It works by firms initially paying tax on their gross sales, but then getting a rebate on the inputs they have purchased, so that they end up only paying tax on the value they have added to those inputs. But in a country that introduces a VAT, a corrupt tax official can now sell a firm phoney tax receipts on inputs, in addition to the standard extortion racket. As a result, the rebate system ends up paying out more than the sales tax component of VAT is paying in.
Clearly at the core of this phenomenon are norms of behaviour among tax officials, such that seizing opportunities for private gain is seen as both more prestigious and more satisfying than contributing to the public good of generating tax revenue and the public services it can finance. How might Britain, and other countries in which VAT collection does not face such problems, help to change this perception? Social prestige and personal satisfaction are largely set within peer groups: Hence a practical way of changing the behaviour of corrupt officials is to alter the group of people they regard as their peers.
Currently, a corrupt tax official is likely to have two key networks in which they seek prestige: Their family will honour them for helping relatives who lack opportunities to earn a large income: Their fellow tax inspectors, subject to the same family pressures, may see corruption as reasonable. They may even regard honest behaviour as a threat to their own conduct and therefore disloyal.
A useful way of changing this state of affairs is to twin those tax administrations in which corruption is endemic with administrations in countries that are not corrupt. Twinning could involve regular secondments of staff in both directions and the potential for accreditation to international professional associations at various ranks. The purpose would not primarily be a transfer of technical skills, although that could clearly be a component, but rather a gradual transfer of attitudes and behaviours.
The new network exposes the official to the potential of a new identity as a member of a prestigious international peer group of modern tax officials, working to global, not local, standards. It exposes the official to a new narrative circulating in the network: Exposure to these new attitudes creates a tension between the behaviour that would generate prestige and self-worth in the old networks and the behaviour that would generate prestige and self-worth in the new network.
Creating this tension is not the end of the story, but it is an essential step. The other key step is to tackle the co-ordination problem: For example, many governments have closed corrupt tax departments within their ministries of finance and replaced them with independent revenue authorities, a change that has usually been reasonably successful.
An analogous way for international twinning to overcome the co-ordination problem is for all the staff in an entire unit to be exposed to the international network at the same time. Each official in the unit would then realise that their colleagues were facing the same tension between old and new networks and hence the same choice.
There are already a few examples of institutional twinning. Also, until a decade ago, governors of the Bank of England used to host an annual meeting for governors of African central banks. But the scope for twinning is vast, relative to what is, as yet, happening both in governments and in the wider society. Around the world, governments have similar structures. For example, virtually all governments in low-income countries have a ministry of transport, a ministry of health and a ministry of finance.
OECD governments have been liaising with these ministries for half a century, but the entities that are linked to them are their aid agencies not their counterpart ministries. Direct links with counterpart ministries have the potential for a very different form of relationship based on peer-group networks, rather than on money with conditions. An important example is the regulation of utilities such as electricity.
Many governments of low-income countries are now establishing regulatory agencies, which is a vital step in attracting private finance for infrastructure. But the regulation of utilities faces intense pressures for corruption: In the OECD, regulatory agencies have been operating for two or three decades. The OECD has also built peer group networks that have evolved peer standards of independence, transparency and impartiality.
New regulatory agencies would benefit from becoming part of this distinctive culture. Such specialised inter-government peer groups are indeed the core activity of the OECD. But membership of the OECD is confined to the governments of high-income countries. This is designed to embed tax inspectors for OECD governments in the tax authorities of poor countries on secondment for several months: An obvious extension would be to make this a two-way exchange of staff.
More seriously, while the OECD initiative is excellent it is a drop in the ocean. The restricted membership of the OECD limits its scope to forge global links and there is no other international institution with the remit to build peer- group links across government departments between rich countries and poor ones.
Perhaps this role should become a core function of national aid agencies such as DFID, but it would benefit from a co-ordinated kick-start by several heads of government.
Twinning has the potential to be extended well beyond government: Again, historically such links have largely been confined to development non-governmental organisations NGOs such as Oxfam, which channel donations to needs. But an important part of tackling corruption is resetting the cultures of professions, including accountancy, law, medicine and teaching.
For example, in many poor countries, it is socially acceptable for teachers not to show up for lessons. Twinning involving things like teacher exchanges between schools could help to shift these dysfunctional values.
The global explosion of social media has made this far more feasible. The two approaches of closing off opportunities for corruption and reducing the prestige and satisfaction generated by corrupt behaviour reinforce each other. As the difficulties and risks of corrupt behaviour rise, fewer people will behave corruptly. This directly reduces the esteem from being corrupt because it is no longer so normal. Similarly, as more people start to get their esteem from being honest, those who remain corrupt are easier to spot and so find themselves running bigger risks.
National actions against corruption complement international actions. One major way of squeezing out corruption is to remove obvious sources of rent-seeking such as rationed access to foreign exchange and the award of government contracts through secret negotiation rather than open bidding. Competition within rule-based markets is an important part of the system of checks and balances that constrain public officials from the abuse of office.
Another is to prosecute some prominent senior officials. For example, in Ghana, 20 judges were sacked in late for accepting bribes based on video evidence gathered by an investigative journalist BBC News Being based on independent evidence, such sackings cannot be misinterpreted as government attempts to crush political opposition. Further, as high-profile events, they generate common knowledge among officials that all other officials are reflecting on whether they should change their behaviour.
Not all corruption is directly financial. Electoral corruption is highly damaging. New research finds that, under normal conditions, governments that deliver good economic performance enhance their prospects of retaining office, but that the discipline of accountability breaks down when elections are not free and fair Collier and Hoeffler Twinning national electoral commissions with their international peers, along with twinning local and international election monitors, can help to raise standards of electoral conduct.
An international initiative against corruption provides an opportunity for national actions and international actions to cohere. As people recognise that the calculus of risks and rewards and the sources of prestige and satisfaction are changing both for themselves and their colleagues, previously entrenched patterns of behaviour could become unstable. Mass shifts in cultures of corruption do happen and it is possible to make them happen.
His latest book is Exodus: Someone who is corrupt is described as being bobolu and people have deep disdain for such a person. In most of Africa though, there are few similar words of such powerful home-grown cultural resonance.
The idea of stealing communal goods was literally taboo. Generosity of heart, even to strangers, but especially to relatives no matter how distant , is a quality much admired by Africans generally. And in 18 of the 28 countries, the feeling was that their governments were doing badly in the fight against corruption. The report said that, despite these disappointing findings, the bright spots across the continent were in Botswana, Burkina Faso, Lesotho and Senegal.
Citizens in these countries were some of the most positive in the region when discussing corruption Transparency International and Afrobarometer In environments where corruption is systemic but lacks cultural resonance, creating a climate where social sanction can be applied against corrupt practices has been challenging.
The task therefore is two-fold: The war against graft political corruption has reached the point where the shame and social sanctions directed against this kind of theft and thief need to be given greater prominence in the arsenal used to fight corruption.
This applies especially in developing countries where its consequences can be — and often are — deadly. As such, the whole approach to corruption needs to be re-examined: Integral to this are the principles of legal authority and equality before the law. The equality component is essential: The following complementary but separate factors in a society are critical: Each derives its legitimacy from history and the traditional ways in which meaning is made.
By their very nature, they are far more negotiable — existing as they do in a constant state of flux in a dynamic world. Our success depends on how effectively we bring and use them together in the fight against corruption. We do this cognisant of the fact that grand corruption, when compared to the drug trade, human trafficking, terrorism finance and other global evils, is the most easily rationalisable major felonious activity on the planet.
During the years to , corruption was at the centre of the global development agenda. In , Transparency International was founded. In the mid-to-late s, corruption was adopted as a key development issue by the multilateral and bilateral development institutions. The following decade saw the rise of the BRIC nations2 and rapid economic growth across much of the developing world, as well as globalisation and its associated technologies assisting the expansion of trade and commerce. At the same time, the struggle against Islamic extremism captured the attention of policy makers in the international community.
Alongside it, unfortunately, has also come a rapid growth in the scale and complexity of corruption. So much so, that anti-corruption work needs to be returned urgently to the heart of the global development agenda. It needs to be part of the DNA of modern nation-states, multinational corporations, non-governmental organisations NGOs and even religious organisations and how they interact on the global stage. This urgency comes from the fact that graft has served to hollow out key governance institutions in some countries.
This includes the defence and security sector and areas of social policy such as health and education, with dire consequences for the public services they are supposed to offer the poor, in particular. The crippling impact of corruption on the delivery of these essential services has deepened economic inequalities, undermining faith in political processes, parties and politicians.
In turn, this increases political volatility as politicians retreat to identity and personality politics with its complex web of non-negotiable irrationalities. It also feeds fundamentalism of all kinds — for example, ethnic, religious and sectarian. This also does serious damage to the independence, legitimacy and integrity of the service sector — in particular, banks, law firms and auditing firms — and deepens the challenges corruption poses. The growth of the latter has been buoyed by the dramatic expansion and sophistication of the internet and an increasing variety of communication platforms.
Although it can involve an individual or group of individuals, this sector forms itself into sophisticated entities. As I pointed out previously, businesses find corruption the easiest felonious activity to rationalise, especially in cross-cultural contexts.
For them, relationships are tradable products that can be leveraged for a profit and not a social currency that helps make trade and commerce flow more smoothly within the law. So how do we fight these piratical shadows? Corruption is defined as the abuse of vested authority for private gain. Leading global advocacy organisations such as ONE have even made efforts to quantify the cost of graft in lives McNair et al.
As the recent FIFA scandal has demonstrated, unconstrained corruption also threatens valued cultural institutions and traditions that we all hold dear. This means we are at a critical juncture. It calls for a renewed global partnership against corruption to match, and even exceed, the concentrated and successful advocacy that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall. The new push needs to identify, disrupt and delegitimise the global networks of corruption in money laundering; terrorism finance; drug, people and environmental trafficking; and other illicit activities.
This requires new global partnerships that target the information-era entities and domiciles that these networks rely on. They may be offshore tax havens or low-compliance jurisdictions where the ever-expanding raft of international regulations aimed at dealing with graft and illicit flows have limited currency.
To be fully effective, however, this reinvigoration of the rule of law must go hand in hand with action to create a cultural climate in which the corrupt — the thieves — are shamed for what they do. Indeed, effecting change in the culture and traditions — which inform what is acceptable behaviour — is perhaps even more important in societies where legal institutions based on the Western model are nascent, or where their existence is being energetically contested, as it is in important parts of the developing world.
The release by WikiLeaks of US diplomatic cables in was a controversial episode of unofficial transparency and a powerful interrupter to the global status quo regarding corruption in relations between nation-states.
It revealed the corrupt practices that ruling elites are capable of to the growing youth populations of regions such as the Middle East. The reverberations of this are still being felt. Across Latin America and in the developed world, revelations of inappropriate, corrupt and unethical behaviour by leaders — in both the private and corporate sectors — have created a level of criticism from the public that is unprecedented in some countries.
Presidents have been forced to step down and others turned into lame ducks while still in office by dramatic mass expressions of discontent boosted by social media.
In this sense the change has already begun — untidily, noisily, chaotically and even bloodily — in many places. The outcome is uncertain. But, in the long term, it will be dramatically different from the status quo. In addition to institutions such as an International Anti- Corruption Court as a further step towards increasing transparency, strengthening enforcement and securing restitution, the tools of visa revocations, personalised financial sanctions and more harmonised extradition mechanisms could actually be cheaper and more effective in tackling corruption than prosecutions — which are always tortuous.
However, for these measures to enjoy legitimacy around the world, they must be applied, and be seen to apply, with equal force across the different regions of both the developed and developing world. To conclude, a successful international anti-corruption campaign requires co-operation on a global scale and specific legal measures that help transform attitudes towards corruption and the ability to prosecute the corrupt.
Although it may take longer, embedding a culture of social sanction and censure for anyone found guilty of engaging in, facilitating or condoning corrupt activity, even to the extent that those holding office lose public trust, would support these measures.
They need to be seen as bobolu. They need to feel the social stigma when they attend family gatherings, visit the golf club or step into the supermarket — as much to set an example to others as to punish the individual, impressing on the whole community that corruption will not be tolerated.
John has been involved in anti-corruption research, advisory work and activism in Kenya, Africa and the wider international community for 19 years. This includes work in civil society, media, government and the private sector. Risk Advisory Group Report: Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: The Trillion Dollar Scandal Study. The Risk Advisory Group. The Compliance Horizon Survey.
Corruption Perceptions Index — Lesotho. Transparency International and Afrobarometer. Africa Survey — Global Corruption Barometer. United Nations Convention against Corruption: Signature and Ratification Status as of 1 December The early spring of saw thousands of angry people on the streets of Chisinau, capital of the tiny Republic of Moldova. We believe that the citizens of Moldova were victims of a transnational web of corruption, benefiting politicians and criminals who used complex multi-layered company structures to conceal both their identities and their activities.
Regrettably, this story is not unique. The power of these crime groups stems primarily from their ability to operate with ease across national frontiers. They complete a detailed risk assessment at the country level and then choose the least vulnerable approach to conduct their illicit activities, whether in narcotics, refugee trafficking or the massive money laundering exercises that follow such crimes.
The problem for national law enforcement is that, by definition, it cannot follow this type of crime easily or quickly across borders. Data exchanges between states and law enforcement agencies take time. Modern crime schemes are designed to have very short lives to avoid detection, lasting sometimes just months before the associated companies and bank accounts are wound up and replaced by new ones.
Yet alongside the advantages available for criminals of operating on this global scale, making it inherently harder to track them down, there are also disadvantages that the clever journalist or law enforcement official can exploit to expose them. So how do we do this? How do we stop criminal gangs and the corrupt politicians they rely on — conducting business as usual? Firstly, I will argue, through data: Secondly, by journalists using advanced investigative techniques, including the emerging discipline of data journalism, to identify the patterns and practices inherent in corrupt activity.
Opaque systems allow them to thrive. And some of them go to great lengths to disguise their wrongdoing, using financial and company structures that span the world. Such criminal schemes are designed by creative and intelligent, if misguided, people. Some of them could have been the next Steve Jobs, but found crime more appealing. For years, from the early s, Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian and many other Eastern European mobsters and politicians were using Cyprus as a place to hide their activities behind labyrinthine corporate structures.
It reached the point where Cyprus, with a population of little more than one million, became one of the main investors in Eastern and Central Europe. Not all of these investors were criminal enterprises as many used Cyprus for tax optimisation purposes. But there is hardly a country in the region — from the former Yugoslavia to Russia and beyond — where Cyprus-based companies were not involved in huge, rigged privatisation scandals.
In , when Cyprus joined the European Union EU and started opening databases, including a registry of locally based companies, things began to change. Investigative reporters began combing through millions of records and, in many instances, came across the names of beneficial owners the real owners of the company — who thought they were sheltered from public scrutiny. Politicians and criminals were caught off guard and exposed in press articles that led to arrests and resignations.
Their past misdemeanours made future involvement in business problematic. However, they started fighting back almost immediately, substituting their names in company documents with those of professional proxies — usually Cypriot lawyers who would lend their name to just about anyone who wanted to conceal their identity.
In addition to this, the Cyprus registry is relatively expensive to use and searchable only by company name. As a result, Cyprus still offers only partial transparency. Yet even in countries with a stronger record, you can hit barriers. And in the past few years, OCCRP investigations have revealed the involvement of an Auckland-based company that was run by a nominee in obscuring the ownership of companies across Eastern Europe.
Secretive media ownership is a huge problem across the region where, in many instances, the general public has no idea who is delivering the news. Once OCCRP exposed this non-transparent structure, its ownership was just moved to British companies that were again meant to obscure the identity of the real owners of the television station Media Ownership Project It matters because well-structured and accessible databases can be goldmines for investigators and members of the public.
This was the catalyst for investigative articles that exposed corrupt dictators, criminals and their close associates all over the world. This simple technical adjustment opened their activities up to public scrutiny, costing them untold millions of dollars. The same principle applies to other official databases.
For example, court records, government spending and tenders databases vary greatly in their organisation, accessibility and quality of data. In many jurisdictions, it takes investigators a lot of navigating, mining and shopping for data to find the evidence they are looking for. The opening up of company information and databases has to be accompanied by effective policies that ensure their accessibility, integrity, security and usefulness.
Civic hacker collectives, journalists and civil society groups should be consulted to help determine the most useful access to data that also mitigates any privacy concerns.
Governments requiring offshore companies operating in a country to identify their true beneficial ownership would also greatly reduce the space in which criminals can work and increase the costs they incur. Law enforcement must also jump on board the open data train and take advantage of advances in technology in order to keep pace with the criminals.
Just like journalists, police officers and intelligence analysts need to master cross-border, multi-language, open-source intelligence to fight sophisticated serious crime. While it is true that data obtained in informal ways cannot always be used to build strong court cases, it can greatly shorten the time required for the investigative process.
Obtaining documents sequentially through official channels from other countries can take months or even years. Say, for example, that the police in the UK need information on a company based in Russia.
They have to file requests and wait, sometimes for a year, only to find out that the Russian company is owned by a Cyprus limited firm. It might take another year to identify the next owner in a nested structure. Finally, the trail might end with bearer shares: Compare this with the adaptability of organised crime, which — albeit operating under no formal constraint — broke free from the nation-state mindset long ago. In the international space governed by weak international protocols and bilateral agreements, organised crime at present has no natural enemy.
While criminals recognise no borders and are not bound by strict local rules, national and legal boundaries, a lack of resources continues to hamper law enforcement. Geopolitics can also deter cross-border collaborative initiatives between nation-states, which may find themselves at odds with their neighbours or dealing with governments that are themselves riddled with corruption.
There are, to be sure, examples of criminal networks being disbanded in a number of countries as a result of co- operation between law enforcement agencies. This did not necessarily prevent the mobsters from re-forming elsewhere outside those jurisdictions.
Nevertheless, increased access to open data could help to boost cross-border co-operation and journalists can play an increasingly important role in it. Investigative reporting is — and can be even more — the natural enemy of criminal networks and, when practised collaboratively, it acts as an effective watchdog.
It can change the status quo in innovative ways that are not immediately obvious. Owing to limited human resources and a lack of skills, interest or even competence, this expectation is not always realised. However, regardless of law enforcement action or inaction, public exposure can adversely affect, and even stop, criminal businesses operating in other jurisdictions. Such exposure can also influence long-term changes in public attitudes, which can lead, in turn, to protests against, and even election defeats for, discredited parties or politicians.
With the stakes so high, it is essential that the journalism itself is rigorous, credible and transparent. Governments, banks and financial institutions in general rely on open source information when deciding whether to give loans, enter business deals or accept money transactions. Effective data journalism can also help expose financial irregularity or illegality and prevent crime figures or oligarchs securing loans, opening accounts or making other transactions.
Using advanced investigative techniques, journalism can degrade international organised crime and corrupt networks even before they are firmly established within a jurisdiction.
Corrupt politicians, officials and criminals view the proceeds of their illicit schemes as commodities to be repeatedly imported and exported and are always looking for new territories in which to generate profit. When journalists work collaboratively across frontiers, sharing data, this practice can be identified and compromised.
It takes a network to monitor a network. However, such is the scale of the problem and the ubiquity of organised crime that these efforts can seem to be only scratching the surface. What journalists can do is share with colleagues in other countries details of the patterns of crime they have already detected in their own. This would enable wider cross-border investigations to determine whether the same criminal groups are setting up shop in other jurisdictions.
For example, a criminal group sets up Limited Liability Partnerships LLPs that are all owned by a set of companies with their headquarters on a particular street in Belize City, Belize. In future, with the proper resources, this kind of pattern recognition could be facilitated and automated through the development of specific algorithms. Crime groups will inevitably react by altering their activities to avoid detection.
But, crucially, this will hamper their operations and cost them more in money and time. Automated searches of ever-larger, global, transparent datasets can feed real-time alerts to journalists all over the world. To conclude, a key component to fighting future crime is increased cross-border co-operation between journalists and programmers, who need to employ and create new advanced investigative techniques on top of massive amounts of data. At the same time, activists and governments need to push for more transparency, quality and common standards in open data.
He is also a board member of the Global Investigative Journalism Network http: Spring again in the Republic of Moldova — mass protest against corruption. A Guide for Judges. Panama Registry of Companies. Taylor Network Back in Business. Not three months back, in the midst of Friday prayers, Boko Haram struck the Grand Mosque in the old fortress-like centre of town.
The dead and the bloodied lay strewn in their hundreds across the public square. I imagine the girl. She may be 14 or She returns home from school each day with her friends, the white veils of their school uniforms fluttering like matched plumage. I picture the glistening eyes of some overfed judge as he reaches for her. Abruptly another image comes to mind: Already disillusioned, he is pushed right over the edge.
He would kill that judge if he could. And Boko Haram, all around this town, would like nothing more than to help him do it. I could suddenly understand how it happens. I could see how the corruption perpetrated by officials of the then Nigerian administration — like that of many governments around the world — was itself helping to generate the terrorist threat.
The problem, I realised, is far more severe than white elephants or poor service delivery. It is these connections — between government corruption and terrorism or other violence — that this essay explores. Corruption is one of those consensual topics. International charities and multilateral organisations have worked hard to combat it, racking up impressive achievements in recent years. Anti- bribery laws, once unheard of, have spread well beyond their initial US—UK beachhead.
Major arrests and asset seizures are increasingly common, as are citizen-led anti-corruption protests. Such protests have resulted in the resignation of senior officials or their ousting through the ballot box. And yet, when push comes to shove in bilateral relations, Western governments, businesses and charities are still most likely to prioritise other imperatives ahead of corruption.
If an international aid agency or philanthropic organisation has set its sights on delivering health programming to rural villages, its government may be reticent to act against corruption in the host country for fear the precious permissions to operate will be cancelled. Corruption helps facilitate economic activity and growth, some maintain. Who are we to impose our norms? Upon closer inspection, it thus appears that corruption is not so consensual after all.
A remarkable number of Westerners actually argue in favour of it. Of all the competing priorities, the one that most swiftly trumps anti-corruption is security. Co-operating with this or that corrupt leader is seen as critical, because he is our partner in the war against terrorism. His is the only military worth its salt in the region, troops that actually go on the attack against militants. He provides us with intelligence or bases or overflight rights. And so the kleptocratic practices of his network of cronies are overlooked.
The purported trade-off between security and corruption is a false dichotomy. Take southern Afghanistan, the former Taliban heartland, where I lived for nearly a decade. In the spring of , a delegation of elders came to visit from Shah Wali Kot district, just north of Kandahar. I was one of the only foreigners in Kandahar with no guards at my gate.
Ministers have huge palaces in Kabul, while the people have nothing. The foreigners should announce that the current Government is thieves.
They should put the screws in them, call them on the carpet and demand accounts. I heard this refrain again and again. The rest had taken up arms in disgust with the Government. This assessment was corroborated by interviews with Taliban detainees in international military custody.
Explaining their motivations for joining the insurgency, they cited government corruption more often than any strictly religious rationale. A similar picture emerges from Nigeria. When Boko Haram launched its first large-scale violent attacks in July , police stations were the first targets. By all accounts, the Nigerian police is one of the most venal and abusive in the world Human Rights Watch Boko Haram was saying the truth about the violations by government agencies against the people.
Finally they could stand up and challenge. They were claiming their rights. Across the Arab world in , populations took to the streets demanding an end to autocratic governments, the prosecution and imprisonment of corrupt officials, and the return of stolen assets.
Some analysts see the expansion of extremism, from Daesh in Syria to a tenacious insurgency in Egypt, as a reaction to the failure of those initially non- violent efforts to break the grip of kleptocratic governing elites Muasher Ukraine seems as culturally and historically different from the Middle East as a country can be, yet its revolution was fuelled by similar motivations.
While anti-Russian sentiment and a cultural affinity with Western Europe were important drivers of the Maidan protests, so was disgust at the corrupt Yanukovich Government. The sequel to that revolution has been the first major East—West stand-off since the end of the Cold War, complete with the forcible annexation of territory and the displacement of more than a million people.
The difficult question, especially regarding religious violence, is why? What is it about corruption that should drive people to such extremes? Four elements of corruption in its current form help to provide an explanation: Abuses of this nature can spark a burning need for retribution.
In studies of violence ranging from Palestinian uprisings to gang shootings in the United States, insult or humiliation is found to be a key factor Longo, Canetti and Hite-Rubin ; Black Given the obvious connections between religion and morality, the moral depravity underlying the abuse is frequently understood in religious terms. We would have a fair and just society. Secondly, with government perpetrating the crimes, there is no earthly hope of recourse.
Deprived of any peaceful means of redress against an abusive government, even the founders of our own Western democracies rebelled. Period documents from these milestones in democratic development indicate that in none of them did protagonists and ordinary citizens turn to violence gladly, but felt compelled to it after exhausting every other avenue and obtaining not the slightest concession Robertson The unassailable impunity that Sardar Muhammad was lamenting derives from the third important feature of corruption as it currently exists in dozens of countries — how deeply it is embedded in state machinery.
The kind of severe corruption that is common today is systemic. It is the practice of sophisticated networks armed with all the instruments of state function. They use those instruments to serve their aims — which largely boil down to personal enrichment.
In many cases, these entities should not be thought of as governments at all, much less fragile or failing ones, but rather as savvy and successful criminal organisations. Weaknesses in state function examined in this light may prove to be deliberate, especially in agencies with autonomous power. Judges or specialised prosecutors are underpaid. Armies are hollowed out to reduce the likelihood of a coup and because defence budgets and military assistance are juicy revenue streams.
The results of this latter trend were on vivid display in as the cannibalised militaries of Iraq and Nigeria collapsed at the first sign of a challenge. In other cases, apparently innocuous state agencies such as tax authorities or water departments are fashioned into bludgeons to force compliance. A Tunisian tax collector explained to me how, under the regime of Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, certain people were accorded a tax holiday as long as they cut members of the ruling clique into their action.
The permissiveness could always be revoked. A trade union representative in Uzbekistan described a similar system to me in So people make a connection in the tax office to pay less. The whole Government is set up that way, to make you do wrong, so then they have you on the hook. These kleptocratic networks are horizontally integrated. They comprise government officials, businesses such as banks or construction companies, and so-called non- governmental organisations NGOs and implementers of aid — which may in fact be owned by relatives of government officials.
But they also include outright criminals such as smugglers, drug-traffickers and even terrorists. For foreign governments, charities or businesses seeking to operate in such environments, this horizontal integration makes for particularly difficult navigating. The familiar distinctions between public and private sectors, licit and illicit actors, simply do not apply. Finally, the amounts of money in play are truly obscene. Former FBI special agent Debra Laprevotte, who worked kleptocracy cases for years, says that the increase has been palpable: Now there are at least five billion-dollar investigations underway.
The development implications of such sums are obvious. Imagine the impact on sustainable economic growth. But when obtained through practices this corrupt, vast wealth in a sea of poverty also has a moral component — hence the easy link to religion. Then, as now, militant puritanical religion, imposed if necessary by force, was seen by some as the only remedy. The picture painted here is a sobering one, particularly for governments, investors and humanitarian organisations that cannot avoid working in such countries.
And especially when security concerns are so severe as to trump other considerations. Still, even in a world in which trade-offs are real and cannot simply be wished away, there are some important lessons to be considered. Governments that ostensibly fight against terror may actually be generating more terrorism than they curb.
The international community must do a better job of weighing up the pluses and minuses of partnering with acutely corrupt governments, and thus reinforcing them and facilitating their practices.
If alliances are too close, or pay too little attention to the corruption of host governments, the abused populations may come to associate the international community with the misdeeds of their own rulers. A more precise understanding of network structures and real dynamics of power must inform planning processes ahead of engagement. It is costly in human and other resources, not to mention politically uncomfortable, to draw up network diagrams — like the ones intelligence or police agencies regularly develop in their study of terrorists or criminals — that map members of ostensibly friendly governments and their cut-outs in business or the criminal world.
But these costs should be weighed against the proven and often disastrous price of blind engagement in such complex environments. Across sectors, companies whose business models actually depend on servicing kleptocratic officials — such as some banks, lawyers, estate agents, registered agents, various extractive and other resource- based businesses, and international construction contractors — are contributing to significant security threats in their own countries. Should their public-spiritedness remain wanting, then sanctions applied to them for colluding with illegal corrupt practices should be stiffened, commensurate with the harm they are doing.
Western citizens should begin pressurising such businesses. Beggars, Iconoclasts and Civic Patriots: The Political Culture of the Dutch Revolt. Why Corruption Threatens Global Security. Les GIA sont une creation des services de securite algeriens. Afghanistan, National Corruption Survey. Evidence from a natural experiment on travel restrictions in the West Bank. American Journal of Political Science, 58 4 , pp. Alghad Afkar wa Mawaqaf. Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, p.
High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq. Recent Patterns and Trends. The Sun in the Sky: Not what I thought they would be. It seems hard to believe now that the journey began with the expectation of standards higher than would ever be found in civilian life. There is, of course, much to recall that was glorious, exciting and uplifting, sporting stuff that makes you think anything is possible.
How many winter evenings has he brightened? But even in the beautiful game, bad things were happening. Our obsession with football created a global popularity that would lead to extraordinary riches pouring into the game.
That money needed to be managed and those in control needed to be accountable. We are speaking of systems of good governance, but greed got a head start and governance never caught up. With great wealth comes power and that attracts the corruptible. That was Seoul I never saw such an outpouring of national pride. The thing about watching something live is that it leaves a deeper, more lasting impression. Inside your living room, you see the story unfold. Inside the stadium, you feel it.
That September in Seoul, Florence Griffith-Joyner, an American athlete, set new world records in the metres and metres. They will stand for a long time yet, those records. I saw her get the metre record, decelerating in the home straight.
It was a heart-sinking moment. There were allegations of doping, unproven. Florence Griffith-Joyner died at 38, far too soon Walsh Ben Johnson was a different story. Can you imagine being awoken by a loud knock on your apartment door at 3.
Doug Gillon, from The Glasgow Herald, stood there. The words landed like ice-cold water on a sleepy face. Ben Johnson changed the landscape. Some of the things that had drawn us as kids to sport were being crushed by a will to win that recognised no boundaries. As the Economist reported in January, trust in institutions is plunging worldwide:. This headline slump in trust is due, above all, to the public losing faith in political leaders.
Government is now trusted less even than the media …. Top economists have been saying for well over a decade that trust is necessary for a stable economy, and that prosecuting the criminals is necessary to restore trust.
Indeed, as we have repeatedly noted , loss of trust is arguably the main reason we are stuck in an economic crisis … notwithstanding unprecedented action by central banks worldwide. Economist Daniel Hameresh writes:. A number of economists have shown recently that income levels and real growth depend upon trust—trust greases the wheels of exchange. High trust societies produce more output than low trust societies.
A fortiori, a sufficient amount of trust may be crucial to successful development. Douglass North , p. The inability of societies to develop effective, lowcost enforcement of contracts is the most important source of both historical stagnation and contemporary underdevelopment in the Third World.
If trust is too low in a society, savings will be insufficient to sustain positive output growth. Such a poverty trap is more likely when institutions — both formal and informal — which punish cheaters are weak. Heap, Tan and Zizzo and others have come to similar conclusions. Our analysis shows that trust can be raised directly by increasing communication and education, and indirectly by strengthening formal institutions that enforce contracts and by reducing income inequality.
Among the policies that impact these factors, only education, … and freedom satisfy the efficiency criterion which compares the cost of policies with the benefits citizens receive in terms of higher living standards. Further, our analysis suggests that good policy initiates a virtuous circle: Trust, democracy, and the rule of law are thus the foundation of abiding prosperity. A letter in premier scientific journal Nature reviewed the research on trust and economics:. Trust … plays a key role in economic exchange and politics.
In the absence of trust among trading partners, market transactions break down. Much recent evidence indicates that trust contributes to economic, political and social success. The article summarizes the importance of trust in creating a healthy economy:. Imagine going to the corner store to buy a carton of milk, only to find that the refrigerator is locked. Finally you manage to arrange an elaborate simultaneous exchange.
A little taste of life in a world without trust—now imagine trying to arrange a mortgage. Trust is about more than whether you can leave your house unlocked; it is responsible for the difference between the richest countries and the poorest.
Above all, trust enables people to do business with each other. Doing business is what creates wealth. Economists distinguish between the personal, informal trust that comes from being friendly with your neighbors and the impersonal, institutionalized trust that lets you give your credit card number out over the Internet. We find a significant impact of trust on income per capita for 30 countries over the period Similarly, market psychologists Richard L. Trust is the oil in the engine of capitalism, without it, the engine seizes up.
Furthermore, confidence is at a low. Thus, trust in financial institutions is a key factor for the smooth functioning of capital markets and, by extension, the economy. Changes in trust matter. When a company orders goods, it trusts its counterpart to deliver them in good faith.
Trust facilitates transactions because it saves the costs of monitoring and screening; it is an essential lubricant that greases the wheels of the economic system. In , a distinguished international group of economists Giancarlo Corsetti, Michael P. Public distrust of bankers and financial markets has risen dramatically with the financial crisis. This column argues that this loss of trust in the financial system played a critical role in the collapse of economic activity that followed.
To undo the damage, financial regulation needs to focus on restoring that trust. Trust is crucial in many transactions and certainly in those involving financial exchanges.
The massive drop in trust associated with this crisis will therefore have important implications for the future of financial markets. It is now even lower than the trust people have in other people randomly selected of course. In his influential book Making Democracy Work , Robert Putnam showed how civic attitudes and trust could account for differences in the economic and government performance between northern and southern Italy.
He stated that the United States, like Japan and Germany, has been a high-trust society historically but that this status has eroded in recent years. Sociologists, political scientists and economists have all showed in an impressive body of research that higher levels of trust increase trade and even foster economic growth,.
Forbes notes in March that a lack of trust was one of the main factors hurting the Greek economy:. There are a number of issues that have contributed and exacerbated the levels of distrust. For instance, Greece, with the help of Goldman Sachs, concealed the state of their finances for over a decade until they ran into this major debt crisis. Because they failed to disclose the extent of their financial problems, the EU and other players in the global credit market are extremely reluctant to cooperate or put faith in the representations made by the Greek leadership.
If the leadership in Athens cannot reestablish trust with the citizenry and develop open and honest communication amongst themselves, their constituents, and the individual leaders of the financial institutions involved, the agreements they make will not even be worth the paper they are written on.
Ken Eisold — an internationally respected authority on the psychodynamics of organizations — writes:. Most of us view trust as valuable and desirable, something that improves the quality of our personal lives. We seldom take the next step and view it as indispensable, a vital ingredient in society — and in the economy. But the problem is not that people should be more blindly and naively trusting.
The problem — as Eisold points out — is that the institutions have to act in a more trustworthy manner:. The essential point is not that people need to be encouraged to trust. Most of us want to trust and have the basic capacity to trust.
We need institutions that are trustworthy. Economist Robert Higgs — who has studied the effect of World War II on the economy in great detail — argues that it was optimism, rather than stimulus spending, which got us out of the depression:.
The performance of the war economy … broke the back of the pessimistic expectations almost everybody had come to hold during the seemingly endless Depression. In the long decade of the s, especially its latter half, many people had come to believe that the economic machine was irreparably broken. The frenetic activity of war production—never mind that it was just a lot of guns and ammunition—dispelled the hopelessness.
People began to think: The transformation of expectations —justify an interpretation that views the war as an event that recreated the possibility of genuine economic recovery. As the war ended, real prosperity returned. The legal system is supposed to be the codification of our norms and beliefs, things that we need to make our system work. If the legal system is seen as exploitative, then confidence in our whole system starts eroding. These are not just white-collar crimes or little accidents.
There were victims all over the world. Economists focus on the whole notion of incentives. People have an incentive sometimes to behave badly, because they can make more money if they can cheat.
If our economic system is going to work then we have to make sure that what they gain when they cheat is offset by a system of penalties. Robert Shiller said recently that failing to address the legal issues will cause Americans to lose faith in business and the government:. Shiller said the danger of foreclosuregate — the scandal in which it has come to light that the biggest banks have routinely mishandled homeownership documents, putting the legality of foreclosures and related sales in doubt — is a replay of the s, when Americans lost faith that institutions such as business and government were dealing fairly.
Economists such as William Black and James Galbraith agree. There will have to be full-scale investigation and cleaning up of the residue of that, before you can have, I think, a return of confidence in the financial sector. Government regulators know this — or at least pay lip service to it — as well. And vigorous law enforcement efforts will help vindicate the principles that are fundamental to the fair and proper functioning of our markets: Nobel prize winning economist George Akerlof has demonstrated that failure to punish white collar criminals — and instead bailing them out- creates incentives for more economic crimes and further destruction of the economy in the future.
And see this , this , this and this.
Oct 24, · ESSAY ON CAUSES OF CORRUPTION AND ITS REMEDIES. Gangster "I'm thinking of getting back into crime, Luigi, - legitimate business is too corrupt ". CORRUPTION.
August (This essay is derived from a talk at Defcon ) Suppose you wanted to get rid of economic inequality. There are two ways to do it: give money to the poor, or take it away from the rich.
Now Selling – Call Today! Call Lisbet Mitchell, AllStar Realty at BRAND NEW TOWNHOMES. Madison Place consists of brand new townhouses off of I’s exit 39 West Sample Road. The signs are everywhere: Americans have lost trust in our institutions. The Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index published yesterday shows that only 22% of Americans trust the nation’s financial system. SmartMoney notes today that more and more Americans are keeping valuables at.
Try Our Friends At: The Essay Store. Free English School Essays. We have lots of essays in our essay database, so please check back here frequently to . Crime and Gangster Films are developed around the sinister actions of criminals or gangsters, particularly bankrobbers, underworld figures, or ruthless hoodlums who operate outside the law, stealing and violently murdering their way through life. In the s, a new type of crime thriller emerged, more dark and cynical - see the section .