Encyclopedia > Political corruption

  Article Content

Political corruption

In broad terms, political corruption is the misuse of public office for private gain.

It encompasses abuses by government officials such as embezzlement and nepotism[?], as well as abuses linking public and private actors such as bribery, extortion, influence peddling[?], and fraud.

Corruption arises in both political and bureaucratic offices and can be petty or grand, organized or unorganized. Though corruption often facilitates criminal activities such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and prostitution, it is not restricted to these activities.

The end-point of political corruption is Kleptocracy, literally the "rule of thieves" where even the pretence of honesty is abandoned.

For purposes of understanding the problem and devising remedies, it is important to keep crime and corruption analytically distinct.

Corruption poses a serious development challenge. In the political realm, it undermines democracy and good governance by subverting formal processes. Corruption in elections and in legislative bodies reduces accountability and representation in policymaking; corruption in the judiciary suspends the rule of law; and corruption in public administration results in the unequal provision of services. More generally, corruption erodes the institutional capacity of government as procedures are disregarded, resources are siphoned off, and officials are hired or promoted without regard to performance. At the same time, corruption undermines the legitimacy of government and such democratic values as trust and tolerance.

Corruption also undermines economic development by generating considerable distortions and inefficiency. In the private sector, corruption increases the cost of business through the price of illicit payments themselves, the management cost of negotiating with officials, and the risk of breached agreements or detection. Although some claim corruption reduces costs by cutting red tape, an emerging consensus holds that the availability of bribes induces officials to contrive new rules and delays. Where corruption inflates the cost of business, it also distorts the playing field, shielding firms with connections from competition and thereby sustaining inefficient firms.

Corruption also generates economic distortions in the public sector[?] by diverting public investment away from education and into capital projects where bribes and kickbacks are more plentiful. Officials may increase the technical complexity of public sector projects to conceal such dealings, thus further distorting investment. Corruption also lowers compliance with construction, environmental, or other regulations; reduces the quality of government services and infrastructure; and increases budgetary pressures on government.


Political corruption is widespread in many countries, and represents a major obstacle to the the well-being of the citizens of those countries. Political corruption means that government policies tend to benefit the givers of the bribes, not the country.

Even in countries where national politics is relatively honest, political corruption is often found in regional politics.

Table of contents
1 External links

Bribe-takers and bribe-givers

Corruption needs two parties to be corrupt: the bribe giver and the bribe taker. In some countries the culture of corrpution extends to every aspect of public life, making it more or less impossible to stay in business without giving bribes.

The most common bribe-giving countries are not in general the same as the most common bribe-taking countries.

The 12 least corrupt countries, according to the Transparency International perception survey, 2001, are (in alphabetical order):

Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland

According to the same survey, the 12 most corrupt countries are (in alphabetical order):

Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cameroon, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Tanzania, Uganda, Ukraine

"Campaign contributions" and soft money

It is easy to prove corruption, but difficult to prove its absence. For this reason, there are often rumours about many politicians.

Politicians are placed in apparently compromising positions because of their need to solicit financial contributions for their campaigns. Often, they then appear to be acting in the interests of those parties that fund them, giving rise to talk of political corruption.

Supporters of politicians assert that it is entirely coincidental that many politicians appear to be acting in the interests of those who fund them. Cynics wonder why these organizations fund politicians at all, if they get nothing for their money?

This is a stub article, and it needs a lot of editing into shape.

See also

External links



All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

 
  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
 
 
  
  Featured Article
Defamation

... insult and pain. The remedy for verbal injuries was long confined to a civil action for a money penalty, which was estimated according to the gravity of the case, ...