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This book provides an accessible account of current thinking about political corruption, recognising that the phenomenon is a serious problem: since it infringes rules defining legitimate and illegitimate means of the acquisition of wealth and the exercise of power, corruption damages the interests of the advantaged and disadvantaged alike. The advantaged find that wealth cannot be pursued and maintained safely, the disadvantaged that development is thwarted and resources redistributed from the poor to the rich. Against this background, the book takes the reader on a journey – a journey that begins with what corruption is, why its study might be important and how it can be measured. From there it moves on to explore corruption’s causes, its consequences and how it can be tackled – before finally discovering how these things are playing out in the established liberal democracies, in the former communist regimes and in what used to be commonly referred to as ‘the third world’. On the way it takes a couple of detours – first, to ascertain how the minimum of trust necessary for the corrupt transaction to take place at all is established and underwritten, and second to survey the phenomenon of scandal – to which corruption may give rise. The book is therefore offered as an informative ‘travel guide’ of potential interest to journalists and policy makers as well as to students and academics researching matters on which political corruption has a bearing.

people (14%) saying they trust politicians in general to tell the truth; just one person in six, 17%, say they trust 2 Corruption in contemporary politics g­ overnment ministers. To make matters worse for politicians at all levels, more people say they trust journalists (19%) and bankers (29%) than ­politicians. (Ipsos-MORI, 2011) There are several reasons for these low and declining levels of trust. But there can be little doubt that one of the main reasons has to do with the widespread perception that too many politicians are too often found to be engaged in

in Corruption in contemporary politics

agreement existed, a basic problem would remain: whatever specific definition one adopts, corruption is a type of rule infringement; 22 Corruption in contemporary politics it is deviant behaviour – behaviour which, by virtue of what we understand it to be, attracts opprobrium. It is therefore necessarily clandestine: its perpetrators seek to keep it hidden. The difficulty this creates for its study is obvious: you cannot, for example, seek out the kinds of officials most likely to be drawn into corruption by asking a sample of interviewees: ‘How often in an average

in Corruption in contemporary politics

Corruption in contemporary politics Explaining the corruption of individuals In seeking to explain why individuals do anything, one can adopt two basic approaches. Either we assume that human beings behave much like anything else in the universe, i.e. that their behaviour is the result of laws of cause and effect, and we try to find out what those causes are; or else we assume that, as meaning-attributing creatures, humans behave differently to the rest of the universe and we seek to understand their behaviour in its own terms by trying to find out how they themselves

in Corruption in contemporary politics

various possibilities. Corruption and scandal, then, are related in complex ways. In order to disentangle them we need a working definition of scandal, which will tell us about its 104 Has corruption taken place? Yes No Corruption in contemporary politics Has there been a scandal? Yes No The corruption has been revealed and has scandalised: there has been a corruption scandal The scandal has taken place either because corruption is presumed to have taken place, or because the scandal has been triggered by something other than corruption Corruption has remained

in Corruption in contemporary politics
Abstract only
Prevention and control

corruption arises from the state’s capacity to spend money, and thus involves the bribery of public officials engaged in decisions about the allocation of contracts for the supply of goods and services, – the suggestion is that if 126 Corruption in contemporary politics you reduce the scale and extent of the state’s activities, then corruption will go down, because there is now less public money for officials to allocate. Moreover, the neo-liberals argue, since corruption also arises from the state’s capacity to regulate what goes on in the private sector through the

in Corruption in contemporary politics

sends the message that the organisation’s authority has been challenged. This would be damaging to the organisation, because 84 Corruption in contemporary politics what any criminal organisation wants is for those living in its area of operations to fear it. Fear brings compliance with demands, the silence of those ‘in the know’ and thus the organisation’s own power and impunity. So what is important to the criminal organisation is the reputation for violence, the belief on the part of those living in its area that it ‘is capable of deploying effective and violent

in Corruption in contemporary politics
A case study of Italy

these societies because the political parties that link citizens and the state are private entities that must obtain their funds from somewhere. Moreover, when corruption does come to light in Italy, citizens, far from being resigned, are apt to be as scandalised as citizens anywhere, so that, 144 Corruption in contemporary politics paradoxically, corruption scandals actually bear witness to the strength and vitality of Italy’s democratic institutions rather than their weaknesses. The fact, then, that corruption appears relatively more widespread in Italy than in

in Corruption in contemporary politics

second is one where you pay 66 Corruption in contemporary politics what you have agreed to pay and you go home and lie awake every night worrying whether you will get it or if somebody is going to blackmail you instead.5 In such a situation your problems as a corruptor fall essentially into two categories. First, your counterpart might fail to comply in various ways: besides simply failing to deliver, having taken your money, they might take your money and then attempt to renegotiate or demand a further payment. Alternatively, they might comply, but invalidate the

in Corruption in contemporary politics

21) – elsewhere (notably Russia, up by just 2 since 2003) there has been little or no change, and in one or two cases even reversals (e.g., Belarus, down 10). Persisting corruption, as we shall see, derives principally from the transition and crisis that these states have been u ­ ndergoing, 170 Corruption in contemporary politics Former communist countries of Europe, and Russia 47 West European Countries 74 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Figure 9.1  Mean CPI scores, former communist countries and Russia, and Western Europe, 2015 Note: Former communist

in Corruption in contemporary politics