понедельник, 25 апреля 2011 г.

An article by Pierre Casse: How can corruption become less harmful?

This article was written by the SKOLKOVO Professor Pierre Casse for the Russian portal Slon.ru (the original text can be read here).

Every one has a liability for curruption. Sensational studies by the Stanford Professor Philip G. Zimbardo show that everybody can act as a bribetaker or an oppressor even being aware of the fact that their behavior is unethical. These conclusions were confirmed by the recently discovered horrors of the Abu Ghraib and Guatanamo prisons where all the norms and standards of the international law were voluntarily violated by the officials of USA and UK – the two nations claiming to be the major corruption fighters in the civilized world.

It is obvious that what is considered to be corruption in one country can be counted as a rule in the other. For example, some countries have a standard practice of ‘execution facilitating fees’ being charged for some of the state officials’ services, while in Russia, for instance, those fees would be counted as corruption cases. Here is another illustration: leaving tips means praising for a well done job in most of the Western countries, but in some cultures such actions would be counted as a bribe (they think, why you should give extra money to people who receive their salary for their service).

Anyway, we must admit that power inevitably causes corruption as a side product – and this happens in any society, not only in the Third World, as it is usually considered in the West. Here is a simple example: a top rank politician is persuaded by a third party to push the law that can contradict his electorate’s interests. He does so because he hopes to be well cared of by that third party when he is going to leave the state service. He may possibly receive a top managerial post in a large corporation or he may sign a million dollar contract with a large consulting firm. Obviously this deal’s details would not be opened to the electorate. Such practice is becoming regular in most of the “Western Democracies” who stand in a forefront of the struggle against corruption.

Probably this is the reason why some officials whose behavior can be counted as corrupted are often to speak for corruption. Thus, some of them even state that corruption within certain limits is necessary for the society and its organizations to function in the right way. Meanwhile the fact that some people take corruption as granted, ignore it, and let it become an acceptable trait of our cultures – undermine the moral conditions of the society and its survivability in the long run. Experts say that among the unavoidable negative effects of corruption there are: economy growth slowing down, international investments flow drop, tax revenue decrease, ineffective decision making, population poverty, injustice, and social dissatisfaction.

This is why it so important to take control over corruption before it has taken control of us. For that we must follow three main rules.

First of all, no one should take the managerial post for too long. Corruption temptation is too strong among those girded with authority, as we can see from the world history. Every executive is to know when and how they should leave the power, as well as they should know how to come into it.

Secondly, when deciding who should take the executive post, one should be sure that the candidate is competent enough. If there can be anything worse than a corrupted executive – it would be a corruptive incompetent executive.

Finally, it is vital to make the corrupted leader do something good for the majority. If the bribes are taken and the thefts are commited anyway, there are no reasons for which those stolen money should not work for the region.

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