Political Corruption

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Political corruption From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search World map of the 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International, which measures the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians . High numbers (green) indicate less perception of corruption, whereas lower numbers (red) indicate higher perception of corruption. Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegiti
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  Political corruption From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to:navigation, search World map of the 2007Corruption Perceptions IndexbyTransparency International, which measures the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians . High numbers (green) indicate less perception of corruption, whereas lower numbers (red) indicate higher perception of corruption. Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such asrepressionof politicalopponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegalacts by private persons or corporations not directly involved with the government. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties.All forms of governmentare susceptible to political corruption. Forms of corruption vary, butinclude bribery,extortion, cronyism,nepotism, patronage, graft, andembezzlement. While corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise such asdrug trafficking, money laundering, and trafficking, it is not restricted to theseorganized crimeactivities. In some nations, corruption is so common that it has gained normative status. The end point of political corruption is akleptocracy, literally rule by thieves .The activities that constitute illegal corruption differ depending on the country or jurisdiction.Certain political funding practices that are legal in one place may be illegal in another. In somecountries, government officials have broad or poorly defined powers, and the line between whatis legal and illegal can be difficult to draw.Bribery around the world is estimated at about $1 trillion (£494bn), and the burden of corruptionfalls disproportionately on the bottom billion people living in extreme poverty. [1] Contents  [show] [edit] Effects [edit] Effects on politics, administration, and institutions Detail from Corrupt Legislation (1896) byElihu Vedder . Library of CongressThomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.Corruption poses a serious development challenge. In the political realm, it underminesdemocracyandgood governance  by flouting or even subverting formal processes. Corruption in electionsand inlegislativebodies reduces accountabilityand distorts representation in  policymaking; corruption in the judiciarycompromises the rule of law; and corruption in  public administration results in the inefficient provision of services. More generally, corruption erodesthe institutional capacity of government as procedures are disregarded, resources are siphonedoff, and public offices are bought and sold. At the same time, corruption undermines thelegitimacy of government and such democratic values as trust and tolerance. [edit] Economic effects Corruption undermines economic development by generating considerable distortions andinefficiency. 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 cuttingredtape, the availability of bribes can also induce officials to contrive new rules and delays. Openlyremoving costly and lengthy regulations are better than covertly allowing them to be bypassed byusing bribes. 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 into capital projects where bribes and kickbacks are more plentiful. Officials may  increase the technical complexity of public sector projects to conceal or pave way for suchdealings, thus further distorting investment. Corruption also lowers compliance withconstruction, environmental, or other regulations, reduces the quality of government services andinfrastructure, and increases budgetary pressures on government.Economists argue that one of the factors behind the differing economic development in Africa and Asiais that in the former, corruption has primarily taken the form of  rent extraction with the resultingfinancial capitalmoved overseas rather invested at home (hence the stereotypical, butoften accurate, image of African dictators having Swiss bank accounts   ). In Nigeria, for example,more than $400 billion was stolen from the treasury by Nigeria's leaders between 1960 and 1999. [2]  University of Massachusettsresearchers estimated that from 1970 to 1996,capital flightfrom 30sub-Saharan countries totaled $187bn, exceeding those nations' external debts. [3] (The results,expressed in retarded or suppressed development, have been modeled in theory by economistMancur Olson.) In the case of Africa, one of the factors for this behavior was political instability,and the fact that new governments often confiscated previous government's corruptly-obtainedassets. This encouraged officials to stash their wealth abroad, out of reach of any futureexpropriation. In contrast, Asian administrations such as Suharto's New Order often took a cut on  business transactions or provided conditions for development, through infrastructure investment,law and order, etc. [edit] Environmental and social effects Corruption facilitates environmental destruction. Even the corrupt countries may formally havelegislation to protect the environment, it cannot be enforced if the officials can be easily bribed.The same applies to social rights such as worker protection, unionizationand prevention of child labor . Violation of these laws and rights enables corrupt countries to gain an illegitimateeconomic advantage in the international market.As the Nobel Prize-winning economistAmartya Senhas observed that there is no such thing as an apolitical food problem. Whiledroughtand other naturally occurring events may trigger famine conditions, it is government action or inaction that determines its severity, and often evenwhether or not a famine will occur. Governments with strong tendencies towards kleptocracycan underminefood security even when harvests are good. Officials often steal state property. In Bihar ,India,more than 80% of the subsidized food aid to poor is stolen by corrupt officials. [4] Similarly, food aid is often robbed at gunpoint by governments, criminals and warlords alike,and sold for a profit. The 20th century is full of many examples of governments undermining thefood security of their own nations – sometimes intentionally. [5] [edit] Other areas: health, public safety, education, trade unions etc. Corruption is not specific to poor, developing or transition countries. In western Europeancountries, there have been cases of bribery and other forms of corruption in all possible fields:under-the-table payments made to reputed surgeons by patients willing to be on top of the list of forthcoming surgeries, bribes paid by suppliers to the automotive industry in order to sell poor quality connectors used for instance in safety equipement such as airbags, bribes paid bysuppliers to manufacturers of defibrilators (to sell poor quality capacitors), contributions paid by  wealthy parents to the social and culture fund of a prestigious university in exchange for it toaccept their children, bribes paid to obtain diplomas, financial and other advantages granted tounionists by members of the executive board of a car manufacturer in exchange for employer-friendly positions and votes etc. Examples are endless. These various manisfestations of corruption can ultimately present a danger for the public health, they can discredit certainessential institutions or social relationships.Corruption can also affect the various components of sports activities (referees, players, medicaland laboratory staff involved in anti-doping controls, members of national sport federation andinternational committees deciding about the allocation of contracts and competition places).There have also been cases against (members of) various types of non-profit and non-government organisations, as well as religious organisations.Ultimately, the distinction between public and private sector corruption sometimes appears rather artificial and national anti-corruption initiatives may need to avoid legal and other loopholes inthe coverage of the instruments. [edit] Types of corruption Bribery Main article:BriberyBriberyrequires two participants: one to give the bribe, and one to take it. In some countries theculture of corruption extends to every aspect of public life, making it extremely difficult for individuals to stay in business without resorting to bribes. Bribes may be demanded in order for an official to do something he is already paid to do. They may also be demanded in order to bypass laws and regulations. In some developing nations, up to half of the population has paid bribes during the past 12 months. [6] In recent years, efforts have been made by the international community to encourage countries todissociate and incriminate as separate offences, active and passive bribery. Active bribery can bedefined for instance as the promising, offering or giving by any person, directly or indirectly, of any undue advantage [to any public official], for himself or herself or for anyone else, for him or her to act or refrain from acting in the exercise of his or her functions. (article 2 of the CriminalLaw Convention on Corruption (ETS 173)of theCouncil of Europe). Passive bribery can be defined as the request or receipt [by any public official], directly or indirectly, of any undueadvantage, for himself or herself or for anyone else, or the acceptance of an offer or a promiseof such an advantage, to act or refrain from acting in the exercise of his or her functions (article3 of the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (ETS 173)). The reason for this dissociation isto make the early steps (offering, promising, requesting an advantage) of a corrupt deal alreadyan offence and, thus, to give a clear signal (from a criminal policy point of view) that bribery isnot acceptable. Besides, such a dissociation makes the prosecution of bribery offences easier since it can be very difficult to prove that two parties (the bribe-giver and the bribe-taker) haveformally agreed upon a corrupt deal. Besides, there is often no such formal deal but only a
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