The complexity of a problem called Corruption
From Spain to Saudi Arabia, from South Africa to Malaysia, Brazil to Pakistan, some countries more than others, but corruption is a problem that affects the whole world. What are the costs and how can we think of a strategy to help prevent it? Dr Paul Flather, from Mansfield College of Oxford University, came to PHBS UK Campus, on the 5th September, to share his views with China Construction Bank executives on one of the most challenging, sensitive and complex problem that affects the modern world.
In 1993, Peter Eigen, created Transparency International (TI), a non-government organization, which campaigns against corruption. He was a World Bank official when he first encountered corruption in government contracting in Kenya. After appealing to his bosses at the World Bank to confront the issue and being refused, he retired and launched TI. They have identified 50 anti-corruption principles for use, that included protection for whistle-blowers, rules for procurement and punishments for bribe givers and takers. When it was taken to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), paying bribes abroad was not illegal in most OECD nations. Now, every OECD member country has domestic laws against it and TI is now active in more than 80 countries.
For TI, Corruption is “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It can be classified as grand, petty and political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs”. And what seems to be the main costs of corruption? Dr Paul Flather elected three main costs: Lack of trust, inequality and lack of efficiency. For the TI, “corruption corrodes the fabric of society. It undermines people’s trust in political and economic systems, institutions and leaders. It can cost people their freedom, health, money – and sometimes their lives”.
TI created a Corruption Perception Index which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople. This index reveals a failure of most countries in controlling corruption, “which is contributing to a crisis in democracy around the world”.
So, what could be the best strategy to help to prevent corruption? For Dr Paul Flather, the best answer to that question is through: Education ( that offers a way out of poverty and helps challenging corruptive systems); Governance (good governance that introduces shame among those who are corrupt, namely in democratic countries, although we seem to be in crises due to a new kind of populism that is undermining the structures of democracy), Law (specially international law and it’s institutions) and Media.
Dr. Paul Flather gave several examples of how media works as a powerful weapon against corruption, namely the Panama Papers and WikiLeaks, the biggest data leaks in history.
The China Construction Bank executives brought up many pertinent questions and enriched the lecture with a discussion about the reasons that might explain why some countries tend to be more corrupt than others, and which governmental measures were taken in countries that traditionally were corrupt to reverse the situation.
Peter Eigen was the ninth winner of the Reader's Digest European of the Year award. TI believes that corruption “can’t be rooted out in one big sweep. Rather, fighting it is a step-by-step, project-by-project process. Our non-confrontational approach is necessary to get all relevant parties around the negotiating table”.
|Last modified: 2019-09-10 16:28:32 by Anabela Santos||Created at: 2019-09-10 11:50:58|