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    Thursday, June 14, 2018

    Anti-Corruption Actions: Visionary Images Closer To Reality.

    What is Corruption?
    Anyone who is familiar with the way things are put out and implemented in society knows that corruption is a root that runs deep into any entity that touches it. Similar to tooth decay, corruption, if left unattended for, can reach the formation of a whole cavity which can affect the entire environment that it has grown in. And since we occupy a world that is generated by a domino effect-like mannerism – one line of corruption in a single unit, can lead to a further one in another group congruent to it, and so forth.
    Susan Rose-Ackerman, an American political and legal researcher and analyst, defines corruption as "misuse of the public office for public or private gains" in her famous book Corruption and Government: Cause, Consequences, and Reform.[1] The author succeeds in tackling the dead issue of corruption based on the ways that the public sector can benefit from it within the most tight-fisted ways possible, where it touches upon the various forms that it can take. From fraud, false facts and numbers – from the integration of non-designated personnel in matters that concern none, to bribes paid to high-ranked officials in the public sector and bureaucrats. Furthermore, the issue of corruption is considered to be a trait of stagnancy in some systems, where it is somewhat cumbersome to reform it since it is heavily embedded within the weak systems that sustain that cavity.
    The strength of corruption lies in the fact that it contains the ability to be bred through different forms of governance; may it be authoritarian or democratic– corruption doesn’t know any different since the prelude to its journey is the ownership of interests. Any functional system would be working based on incentives that push it forward toward the type of targets that it foresees in the future, in respect to its agencies and its citizens alike. That being the normative case, many authors and analysts have argued that corruption is a growing species of façade which can find the restrictive governments as its most favorable host, since greed and pursuit of sole self-interest are not subjects that are publicly frowned upon in these particular systems and where accountability is not considered one of the obstacles. The figures of authority are the same ones turning a complete blind-eye upon this benign matter and simultaneously endorsing it.
    Italian Professors, Alberto Vannucci and Donatella della Porta, in their book The Hidden Order of Corruption: An Institutional Approach further add that when it comes to the implementation of corruption, the notion is built on preexisting foundations that attribute to its growth.[2] The book, exponentially, boasts on the deteriorating ways that corruption could be incremented into the pipelines of governance and subsequently entrenched within its different departments. Alas, it unclenches the pessimism at some point and elaborates to the silver-linings that can create a grand difference when they are put into focus, which is the "small key changes." No matter how symbolic or minimal these variables may be, at a certain point in the timeline of governance, it will reach a form of comprehension to the designated people who have the expertise, goodwill, and considerable power not to quench that fire of change and hold to the baton of new emerging horizons of related solutions.
    Inside the Lion’s Den:
    Nathanial Heller, director of the Global Integrity platform which helps shed the canopy of transparency upon the credibility of governments’ and civil societies’ works alike, has said in a 2009 interview when asked about the persistent issue of corruption, Heller mentioned that when dealing with corruption “it is like dealing with the black hole”, and that argument couldn’t be any more telling than what it already is. In other words, he visualizes this topic as something intangible; a subject that cannot be proven had it been found out there since evidence can always be permeable to staggering ways of manipulation because of corruption itself.
    Using the Global Integrity forum's index[3] as an influential and a referential point of leverage within this piece, an argument can be webbed around corruption taking different formulations and mutations, depending on the actors involved in its complex body of work. This virtual forum spews the realistic data provided by various states, organizational entities, non-governmental organizations and even donors-related information in which several indicators on any possible portrayals of corruption images can be provided. The index reveals that even corruption can be categorized within an array of levels. For simplicity purposes, these categories can be divided between “petty corruption” and “grand corruption”, in which the former describes the actions of corruption that doesn't have to affect a visceral nerve within the anatomy of governance necessarily; whilst the latter, describes corruptive acts that involve ways changing significant portions of governance. For example, when high-ranked politicians within the public sector are bribed and receive numerous forms of financial boosts to help in motioning any act that is prohibited by the respective state’s regulations, such action is more than fitting to be put under the label of grand corruption.
    The massive issue of corruption is that these individual actions of unfavorable connotations are not unilateralist. To put things into perspective and with the help of the retrieved data that is of The World Bank, the percentage of the bribes’ incidences (in terms of receiving gifts or incentives at least one time per request) to the different firms or enterprises was up until 18% within the year 2015.[4] Some may argue that this statistic is not that alarming and that corruption is not accelerating so no worrisome should be experienced. Others may even perceive images of hope in countering this pathological epidemic. However, the data cannot reach concrete accuracy since some enterprises, state officials, members of high-level organizations would not voice the absolute truth on the number of times that they have been exposed to bribery, let alone accepting it.
    The struggle with corruption lies, also, within the fact that it is a concept bearing a “latent function." This function describes specific actions that withstand several unintended and unrecognized consequences when it so occurs. To allocate the previously used example of the politician being bribed, we can realize that that action, had it gone unseen, can bear unintended consequences, such as, the person benefiting from that motion granting upheavals of favoritism towards other individuals that don’t belong to the system in the first place.
    Features of Hope (or something like it);
    Someone once claimed that everything seems to be impossible until it happens, and this statement can’t get any more revealing about anti-corruption notions than what already is being implemented. Agencies such as Transparency International, the World Bank, and the Global Integrity are all substantive visionaries that try, and on many occasions succeed, to capture the turbulence that can be undulated because of corruption. Alas, knowing what the problem is and identifying its roots is only a stepping-stone towards solving it, but it is not enough to so. Specific action plans must be appointed and taken into consideration by the plethora of policy-makers adamant to deconstruct the pipeline of corruption.
    According to a report that is published by The World Bank in 2000, the state’s public must be responsible for monitoring the recognition of any fraudulent actions and raising awareness towards it. The United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C has created a wholesome study on the key points that can be studied and be further put into the application to fight this epidemic by meriting emphasis on the needed concept of good governance and what constitutes it.[5] One of the fundamental ways in curating this initiative is through the element of openness to the public where the people, themselves, are the same ones that can hold whoever is in power accountable.
    Additionally, this leads to transparency and constructs a more profound a link of trust between the government and the citizens, as well as, a method of self-induced mechanism to halt anyone who is willing to commit crimes of corruption either for their individualistic benefit or towards the collective interest of a specified group. Therefore, participation is a pivotal step that is needed to let the citizens feel that they are associated with the state that they call theirs and build upon that notion.
    Furthermore, the above action can lead to the diminishing attitude towards favoritism, a political movement that is found within the cruxes of corruption. It is a term that has been coined by a multitude of anti-corruption analysts to determine that when privatization of local resources to the favor of intended individuals seeking a hidden agenda under the help of those who are in power or aspire to be in high-ranked positions in the public sector.[6] This form of corruption also creates an effect towards nepotism, which is aligned with favoritism concerning prioritizing family members, friends or close allies that may benefit from figures in influential positions. When accountability holds its gavel close to these sums, then the thin lines of corruption can be pressed into the excellent response to those seeking economic, social, political or even military-related interests within the state’s apparatuses.
    Moreover, Rule-of-Law is another portal in which anti-corruption notions can be galvanized. In any other semi-democratic system, the legislative portion of the government is the one that is mostly demonstrative to the public's own majoritarian opinion of the ruling, in which it depicts the chosen party or entity that the public has decided. It happens through the electoral management of casting votes to the preferable political point through adequate motions which should be observed and monitored by agents harboring this transparency. When rules were drafted, they were portrayals of the separation of power norms and the legal reforms that are abjugated by the jurisdictive power. Exponentially, this is where the idea of John Jacques-Rousseau’s social contract marks a presence and builds the discourse that citizens want to see manifesting with their government.
    Does Corruption Come to a Closure?
    In world news, we witnessed the ousting of the South Korean president, Park Geun-Hye, for her corruptive scandal[7], in which her impeachment reached staggering levels of 78% of agreement. It should inspire us to be engaged in our governments’ policies and act upon them with the assistance and supervision of the jurisdictional power we have at hand.

    By: Meray Maddah


    [1] Rose-Ackerman, S. (1999). Corruption and government: Causes, consequences, and reform. New York: Cambridge University Press.
    [2] Porta, D. D., & Vannucci, A. (2011). The Hidden Order of Corruption: An Institutional Approach. Union Road, Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Pub.
    [3] What We Do - www.globalintegrity.org. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2016, from http://www.globalintegrity.org/what-we-do/
    [4] The World Bank, Enterprises Surveys http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/IC.FRM.BRIB.ZS?end=2015&start=2015&view=bar
    [5] Governance, Corruption, and Conflict. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2016, from http://www.usip.org/
    [6] Amundsen, I., Sissener, T., Søreide, T., Chr. Andvig, J., & Fjeldstad, O. (2000, December). Research on Corruption A Policy-Oriented Survey. Retrieved December 2016, from http://www.icgg.org/downloads/contribution07_andvig.pdf / Commissioned by NORAD
    [7] Campbell, C. (2016, December 9). South Korea President Park Geun-Hye Has Been Impeached. Retrieved December 2016, from http://time.com/4596318/south-korea-president-impeachment-park-geun-hye-corruption-choi-soon-sil-protests/

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