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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 a tooth decay, bribery 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 entity, can lead to a further one in another existence 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 and it touches upon the various forms that it can take. From fraud, false facts and numbers, 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 its 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 ones – 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 since those who are within authority are the same figures turning a complete blind-eye upon this benign matter and simultaneously endorsing it.
    Italian Professors Mr. Alberto Vannucci and Ms. Donatella Della-Porta in their book The Hidden Order of Corruption: An Institutional Approach further adds 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 of Corruption:
    Mr. Nathanial Heller, who is the 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 an interview conducted in the year 2009 when asked about the persistent issue of corruption, Mr, Heller noted that when dealing with corruption "it is like dealing with the black hole", and that argument couldn’t by any more telling than 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 – hence the admitted black hole metaphor.
    Using the Global Integrity forum's index[3]As an influential and a referential point of leverage within this provided piece, an argument can be webbed around corruption taking different formations 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 inducing 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 represents the corruption 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 rule-of-law, such action is more than fitting to be put under the label of grand corruption.
    The huge issue with corruption is that these individual actions of unfavorable connotations are not unilateralist, where one act can lead to other events leading to grander forms of crime in other sectors or through a different member of the state. 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 (regarding 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 rising in accelerating way so no-one should be experiencing any worrisome, and 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 had been exposed to bribery, let alone accepting it.
    The struggle with corruption lies, also, within the fact that it is concept bearing a "latent function" – term sociologists seem to be fond of using, but it is acceptable to tailor it to the networks corruption. This function describes actions that withstand some unintended and unrecognized consequences when it so occurs. To allocate the previously used example of the politician being bribed in order to gesture an unsatisfactory benefit to someone seemingly in need to it; we can realize is that action, had it gone unseen and not publicized even, can bear an unintended for 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 in many occasions, succeed, in capturing 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 its solving it but it is nearly not enough to so, specific action plans must be appointed and taken into consideration by the plethora of policy-makers and political leaders who are adamant to deconstruct the pipeline of corruption.
    According to a report that is published by The World Bank in the year 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 taken and further put into an application to fight this epidemic by meriting emphasis on the needed concept of good governance and what constitutes it in part to the people and figures that are part of it.[5]
    One of the fundamental ways of curating this initiating this fight 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 and stop anyone who is willing to commit crimes of corruption either for their own 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 that are 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 a causal effect towards nepotism, which is aligned with favoritism concerning prioritizing family members, friends or close allies that are maybe benefited from the people in influential positions. When accountability holds its gavel close to these sums, then the thin lines of corruption can be pressed into an optimum 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 picked. This 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 to any other state, they were portrayals of the separation of power norms and the legal reforms that are abjugated by the jurisdictive power. Not only when these laws are misinterpreted but also are carelessly applied to the wrong sidelines, it can lead to collateral chaos affecting anyone who is has taken part in the corruptive process.
    Exponentially, this is where the idea of John Jacques Rousseau’s social contract marks a presence as well since it builds the discourse that citizens want to perceive with their government.
    Does Corruption Come to a Closure?
    In recent 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 governance policies and act upon them with the assistance of the jurisdictional power we have at hand.


    By: Mireille (Meray) Maddah.



    Sources


    [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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