June 4, 2018
Corruption represents a great threat to society and the state as a whole. It affects the morals, values, foundations of nations. Therefore, this problem is one of the most urgent for today. It attracts the attention of politicians, sociologists, and activists of youth movements. If you need to write an "eradication of corruption" essay, the information below will be very helpful.
How to start an article on corruption?
"What is political corruption" essay should begin with a description of venal practices. There is no unambiguous interpretation in public consciousness, the assessment of corruption is extremely multilateral. The boundaries of the moral/immoral, legal/illegal, condemned/approved actions are largely blurred. It is known that a Latin word “corrumpere” means spoilage, destruction, bribery, beguiling with gifts, seduction.
Modern corruption is not an elementary law phenomenon that could be qualified by a specific norm of a criminal code. It should be regarded as a criminological, socio-economic process which consists of multi-structural and multi-level manifestations, a wide complex of socially dangerous acts. It is possible to say with certainty that such violations are observed in all spheres of public life. Use this fact as a justification of the importance of your essay on corruption.
The legislation of the most countries considers corruption as gaining profit via a position in a state power system by any means and under any conditions, the deliberate use of property and non-property benefits for the unlawful enrichment by persons authorized to perform public functions.
In essence, all publicly protected social relations can become a target of the criminal activities of corrupt officials. In particular, they can deal with the state treason and the disclosure of state secrets, smuggling, obstruction of lawful entrepreneurial activity, registration of illegal transactions with land, official forgery, prosecution of a knowingly innocent person, unjust sentencing or other judicial acts.
However, if most of these crimes are only a consequence of corruption, some of them express the very essence of this phenomenon when employees of the administrative apparatus exploit their posts for illegal enrichment. The use of an official position in selfish or other personal interests can be represented by the following varieties which may be mentioned in your "political power and corruption" essay:
- Getting property of other people by taking it away against the will of the owners.
- The use of high post in performing other acts of mercenary nature. The consequences can be expressed in the form of material damage, lost profits and causing other harm to various interests (violation of constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens, undermining the authority of the government, creating interference and malfunctioning, concealing large thefts, etc.)
- "Classic" manifestation of corruption is the receipt of material property and services by an official in connection with a position held. The persons transferring these resources or providing services are aware of the criminal nature of bribery and commit it intentionally. So they may force a politician to act in accordance with their aims.
- Direct participation of officials and civil servants, deputies in commercial activities for gaining personal or corporate benefits.
The reasons for venal practices to describe in a corruption essay
Next, you should take a more detailed look at different cases of corruption and their causes.
The personal interest
Extortion (state racket) is practiced by persons possessing power to prevent someone from obtaining licenses, special permits or any other services provided under the authority of an official. If such employee has a right to assess the number of payments (for example, taxes or duties), new opportunities for extortion may open up.
Facing this phenomenon, a private person has a choice: to give money to bribe taker (which involves the risk of exposure) or to appeal against the actions of a civil servant through an internal or external supervisory body. The decision depends on the appeal procedure cost and awareness of the citizen of his legal rights and duties of the official.
The collusion arises under the same conditions as extortion. However, political corruption articles distinguish the difference: it is beneficial to both parties and consists in committing a transaction damaging the state. For example, in exchange for a bribe, the customs inspector may understate the amount of imports and thereby reduce the sum which the importing firm must pay as duties. The deal may also involve structures responsible for overseeing the official.
The production of any goods requires certain resources which are compensated by the funds received from consumers. Salary of employees depends on the expenses that were covered by the buyers. But the activities of the staff are determined by the will of management and employer. This leads to a situation where a consumer receives the necessary service or products from a worker but can’t directly affect his actions.
A particular case to describe in an article on government corruption is a public good which is paid-up by taxes and provided by officials. Despite the fact that the work of state employees is paid by citizens, the state is their employer. This empowers them to make decisions affecting the competing interests of different individuals.
In the absence of any discretionary authority, corruption would be impossible. However, a person or a group of people with a supreme power is not in a position to independently implement the policy that it determines. For this purpose, superiors appoint administrators with the necessary rights and resources, establish the rules of conduct and exercise supervision over them. The following problems arise here:
- The conservatism of the law. In practice, instructions change considerably more slowly than external conditions. Therefore, they leave space for actions at the discretion of officials. Otherwise, the management system becomes completely inflexible and the discrepancy of rigid norms to realities can completely stop the work. However, this means that the administrator can be guided by the personal interests in an unauthorized situation.
- The impossibility of all-encompassing control. Supervision requires expenditures. In addition, excessive control strikes a blow at the quality of personnel and leads to an outflow of creatively thinking employees.
"Causes of corruption" essay may convey the following thought: the management principle itself contains a potential opportunity for bribery which grows into objective conditions when benefit prevails over risks. This problem is repeatedly reproduced in the bureaucratic apparatus of different countries.
Causes of high corruption to be incluided in essay about politicians
Most experts agree that the main cause of high corruption is the imperfection of political institutions which provide internal and external containment mechanisms. In addition, there are reasons to believe that some objective circumstances make a significant contribution:
- Ambiguous rules.
- The ignorance or misunderstanding of laws by the population, which allows officials to arbitrarily interfere with the implementation of bureaucratic procedures or overstate the payments. That’s why an essay on role of citizens in preventing corruption will be quite relevant.
- The unstable political situation in the country.
- The absence of formed interaction mechanisms of institutions of power.
- The dependence of standards and principles underlying the work of the bureaucratic apparatus on the policy of the ruling elite.
- The professional incompetence of bureaucracy.
- The political patronage that leads to the formation of secret agreements weakening the mechanisms of control over corruption.
- The lack of unity in the system of executive power, i.e., the regulation of the same activity by various instances.
Hypotheses about the causes of high corruption
Several assumptions which also may be considered as causes in the essay on political corruption:
- low wages in the public sector compared to the private sector;
- state regulation of the economy;
- dependence of citizens on officials, state monopoly on certain services;
- isolation of the bureaucratic elite from the people;
- economic instability, inflation;
- ethnic heterogeneity of the population;
- low level of economic development (GDP per capita);
- law system requiring improvements;
- culture of some countries in general.
To date, there is no consensus on the confirmation of these hypotheses. Therefore, you may consider different points of view in a speech on corruption for students. And if you have any problems with speech writing, you can ask our proffesional writers for a qualitative help.
For example, the increase in wages in the public sector compared to the private business does not lead to an immediate reduction in corruption. On the other hand, this contributes to a gradual rise of the qualification of the bureaucracy and has a positive effect in the long term. In countries with the lowest level of bribery, the salaries of officials are 3-7 times higher than earnings in the manufacturing sector.
One of the most contradictory political corruption essay topics is the role of state regulation of markets and the government as a monopolist. Supporters of the free market indicate that a diminishing role of the state and increased competition contribute to a reduction in bribery, as this weakens the opportunities to gain market dominance through the protectorate and to seek personal benefits.
Indeed, a relatively free economy is characteristic for all countries with restrained corruption. On the contrary, a planned economy characterized by monopoly power of officials and maintaining prices at a low level generates incentives for bribery as a means of obtaining scarce goods and services.
There are also a number of objections to this argument which should be mentioned in the paper about the causes and effects of corruption on society:
- First, the private sector is not always able to offer a satisfactory solution to problems, and in such cases, most people believe that government intervention is justified. This, in turn, creates the prerequisites for unscrupulous supervision and collection of overpriced taxes. Thus, complete elimination of corruption is impossible even in an open economy.
- Secondly, the liberalization process is carried out by the government. Therefore, it is also an active intervention in the economy (which in addition can be accompanied by the creation of enrichment sources via privatization). Therefore, in practice, the initial period of liberalization is often characterized by the opposite effect - a surge in corruption.
- Thirdly, studies show the absence of dependence of the level of bribery under the liberal democratic political system on whether the leadership of the country adheres to a neoliberal or social democratic ideology. Moreover, in many countries with low corruption, there are relatively high taxes and public spending (Canada, Netherlands, Scandinavian countries, Finland).
International experience of fighting bribery for best essay on corruption
No matter how many theories you describe in your corruption in political life essay, examples from real life will be much more vivid.
In one form or another, bribery exists in many states. Its international character is universally recognized. In legal instruments, it is defined as one of the global problems in ensuring international order. The world community seeks to unite efforts in preventing and combating this phenomenon. Currently, measures to prevent corruption are presented in different programs:
- The UN Global Programme against Corruption;
- The UN Declaration against Corruption and Bribery in International Commercial Transactions;
- The UN Convention against Corruption, etc.
Experts study and summarize the experience of individual states and the practice of international cooperation. Conferences, lectures and seminars are held on the UN and Council of Europe conventions.
Mention in how to stop corruption essay that cooperation helps states to develop unified administrative and legal means to fulfill their obligations in the field of preventing and combating bribery in the public service system. World experience should be taken into account in national legislation.
During the 20th century, among the industrialized countries, the United States, Italy, Hong Kong and Singapore were the most ambitious and uncompromising in struggle against corruption.
Information for government corruption essay about the USA
One of the initiators of active counteraction to bribery inside the country and on the international arena was the United States having significant experience in combating this phenomenon.
In the US Constitution adopted in 1787, corruption was described as one of the gravest crimes. An impeachment can be declared due to the offense to the US president.
In the second part of the XX century, the government decided to use special methods to fight corruption in the United States. In particular, the FBI specialists have developed and successfully carried out the operation called ABSCAM. FBI agents were introduced into corrupt networks under the guise of mediators of Arab millionaires.
They offered high-level government officials and congressmen big bribes for promoting their commercial interests. As a result of the operation, for only one year, more than two hundred state employees were dismissed for crimes. This is a perfect example of the effective strategy for political corruption in America essay.
The beginning of a real fight against corruption in the United States dates back to the 70s of the last century. The shock of a scandal associated with the activities of the American company Lockheed in Japan which led to the resignation of the government of the country prompted American lawmakers to adopt a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 1977. This document outlawed the bribery of foreign officials by American citizens and companies.
However, the business community complained that the state’s tough attitude seriously undermines the position of American companies operating in a corrupt environment of the Third World countries. As a result, the act was amended in 1988.
However, the situation has not changed. In particular, in one of the studies published in the journal The Economist in 1995, it was stated that in 1994-1995, American companies have lost about 100 contracts abroad for a total approximate sum $45 billion. These deals were concluded by less principled competitors.
According to the report of the US Department of Commerce prepared in 1996 with the assistance of special services, American firms suffered losses estimated at $11 billion because their rivals resorted to corruption. On this basis, a campaign was launched in the United States to force other OECD countries to declare subornation of foreign officials to be a crime.
At that time, the Clinton administration announced the OECD negotiations on bribery as one of the priorities in the activities of the US Department of State. Thus, the Americans wanted to make their competitors act on equal terms.
At the beginning of the third millennium, in order to strengthen measures to combat corruption and assist American companies in solving this problem at the international level, the US Department of Commerce created a hotline on the Internet. Any firm got the opportunity to report on cases of bribery when concluding international contracts.
However, in recent years, the scale of bribery in the US economy has once again reached such a level that the state had to organize a large-scale attack against corrupt officials. The US government has adopted a number of new laws and has brought a great number of businessmen to justice.
Italian experience for political corruption essay
Another vivid example of the effective fight against bribery that should be mentioned in politics and corruption essay is Operation Clean Hands conducted in Italy in the early 1990s. The campaign showed staggering results.
In the Apennines, a cult of offerings and gifts reigns, so subornation has long ceased to be a serious crime in the minds of the inhabitants. But by the beginning of the 1990s, corruption had entangled the entire state system and provoked a political crisis, and business played a significant role in this.
In Italy, parties have real power. Therefore, entrepreneurs bought themselves protection by financing politicians. Gradually, this practice became the norm, and strong corrupt ties formed between business and functionaries. In some places, officials even established a fee. For example, one company from Calabria monthly handed over 4.5% of the profits for party needs. Part of the money (about 3%) remained in the local branch. The rest was sent to the headquarters.
At first glance, donations are harmless. But this is not so. The closer ties became, the more opportunities appeared for dishonest businessmen: state orders, important contracts, insider information. Using the bribed politicians, entrepreneurs often eliminated the competitors.
The corruption market was shaken by subornation with 14 million lire (about $5,000). When Mario Chiesa, director of the Milan boarding house for the elderly Pio Albergo Trivulzio, was caught for it, no one gave this event much importance. But studying the printouts of the defendant's accounts, the investigator of the prosecutor's office Antonio Di Pietro was very surprised. The richness of the Mario Chiesa was explained by the fact that he was a member of the ruling Socialist Party.
From the director of the guesthouse, the thread reached out to the big Italian politicians. Prime Minister Bettino Craxi hastened to renounce Chiesa who, in turn, began to disclose the names of his comrades-in-arms one by one. The domino principle worked out. Thus began the famous Operation Clean Hands which became a textbook in the history of the fight against corruption.
Its results are impressive: more than 500 politicians received prison sentences, including Senator Giulio Andreotti and Prime Minister Bettino Craxi. About 20 thousand people were under the investigation. To avoid persecution, more than 80% of officials quit.
The operation also influenced the business. Employees of Fiat, Olivetti, and other corporations were in the field of view of the investigating bodies. Convicted corrupt officials not only received prison sentences. They also were subject to the confiscation of property.
State institutions were opened in the expropriated houses: hospitals, courts, police stations. It was proudly written on the bottles of wine that it was made from grapes grown on land expropriated from the mafia. Money of corrupt officials was spent for the social sphere and agriculture. This was a very thought-out PR move that strengthened public support for the anti-bribery campaign. So you can tell about it in how to eradicate corruption essay.
It may seem that the entire operation is an accident from beginning to end. But this is not so. Its success was predetermined by the following factors:
- Democratic system. In Italy, absolute power is not possessed by the prime minister or president. Strong parties really fight for leadership and do not forgive each other's mistakes. As the prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi testified in court several times. In addition, by the end of the 1980s - beginning of 1990s, the political situation was aggravated in Italy. Two most powerful parties, Socialist and Christian Democratic, which most of all were implicated in corruption, usurped power. Naturally, this was not liked by other political players. Therefore, they did not let to hush up the Chiesa case.
- Free media. The inside story was not hidden from television. The press and journalists enthusiastically created the scandal and awakened the general public.
- Consistency of law enforcement agencies. Di Pietro noted that the purpose of the operation was to expose the depth of the phenomenon in the expectation that other bodies would continue to crash the corruption system.
- A strong judiciary. The independence of the magistracy in Italy was proclaimed by the Constitution of 1947. Only Supreme Council, most members of which are selected by the magistracy itself, may appoint or remove prosecutorial employees, judges, investigators from their positions. This organization does not depend on anyone in its decisions.
That's why Di Pietro started the operation that complicated the life of many influential people and was not dismissed. In addition, during the campaign, the investigative authorities were allowed to freely interrogate members of Parliament, which greatly facilitated the Operation Clean Hands.
Of course, one campaign could not completely eradicate bribery. But it awakened a passive society, launched a mechanism of renewal and purification.
One more example for how to prevent corruption essay is Hong Kong, one of the world's financial capitals. To achieve this level, the authorities spent thirty years and made enormous efforts.
In the early 1970s, Hong Kong was a hotbed of crime. Racket, drug trafficking, and prostitution flourished under the wing of the corrupt police. Then the authorities took radical measures. They abolished the useless anti-corruption service that was part of the interior ministry. Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) was established instead of it in 1973. It began to report directly to the governor of Hong Kong.
To avoid the corrupt policemen influx into the ICAC, mainly progressive young people were hired: graduates of the best universities and novice specialists who did not yet acquire bad connections. The governor personally appointed each member of the commission for six years without the possibility of re-election.
The ICAC consists of three parts:
- Operative department is engaged in detective work: finds the bribe takers, develops their cases, interrogates and sends the criminals to court.
- Preventive department reveals corruption links in the political apparatus and studies the maleficent schemes. Its main task is to find vulnerabilities in the state machine.
- The department for public relations conducts propaganda work and monitors the mood in the society.
Corruption in Hong Kong was a ramified system. Understanding this, the ICAC first hunted large targets. Having imprisoned the most influential officials, organization decapitated the criminal world.
It is very important that in the minds of the townsfolk, the members of the commission did not become punishers who persecuted bribers at night. This was facilitated by the fact that their work was actively covered by the media from the very beginning. In parallel with the military actions, the government carried out propaganda trying to attract the whole society to the problem. This is a good illustration for an essay on corruption in public life.
The ICAC received unprecedented powers. In fact, its employees work under the laws of the military court: they can arrest an official guided only by reasonable suspicions, keep him under arrest without charge for a long time, and freeze bank accounts.
Many radical innovations are fixed in the legislation. One of the laws established a presumption of guilt for bureaucrats living in luxury. For the ICAC, this is enough to initiate criminal proceedings. The accused will escape persecution only if he proves the legality of the money origin. Otherwise, he is threatened with ten years in prison.
ICAC employees could easily get into the ranks of bribe takers, but the government prevented it. Salaries in the ICAC are on average 10% higher than the incomes of other citizens. The organization is overseen by public committees consisting of officials, businessmen and representatives of the intellectual elite.
The work of the ICAC proved to be effective within a year. In 1974, the number of bribery cases brought to court doubled compared to the previous year - 218 against 108. Now, Hong Kong is one of the least corrupt countries in the world. So, you will not go wrong focusing attention on ICAC experience in corruption essay for students.
"Asian tigers" have succeeded in fighting bribery. Another confirmation of this is Singapore. Having gained independence in 1965, the state was forced to solve many problems simultaneously. One of them was corruption.
However, work in this direction began even a little earlier. The country's meager budget did not allow the government to conduct an expensive campaign. The first step was the change of legislation. In 1960, the Prevention of Corruption Act (ROCA) was adopted. It pursued two goals: to neutralize corruptive sources and to tighten the punishment for bribery.
Even before that, a special body was created - the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) whose head was directly subordinate to the Prime Minister of the country. But before the adoption of the ROCA, the agency's work did not bring tangible results. ROCA eliminated several serious obstacles:
- First, it gave a clear and comprehensive definition of all corruption types. The bribe-takers could no longer shirk the responsibility of receiving "gratitude" in the form of gifts and hiding behind blurry formulations.
- Secondly, ROCA regulated the work of the agency and gave it serious powers.
- Thirdly, it increased the prison terms for subornation.
All this untied the bureau's hands: it received permission to detain potential bribe takers, conduct a search in their homes and work offices, check bank accounts, etc.
The organization has three departments: operational, administrative and information. The latter two, in addition to supporting operational work, are responsible for the "purity" of the bureaucracy. They select candidates for high government positions, conduct preventive measures and even organize tenders for state orders.
Later, Singaporean legislation was supplemented several times. For example, in 1989, the confiscation of property was practiced. Hard control gave good results and the authorities switched to the "soft" stage of the fight against bribery.
Since the second half of the 1980s, the government began to work on the "quality" of the bureaucracy. Salaries were seriously raised for officials (in the future it was done every few years). High incomes were supposed to keep them from bribes. Now, wages of top persons of the country are calculated depending on average earnings in business and reach $ 20-25 thousand per month. Both parliamentarians and population took this initiative with mistrust, but Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew publicly substantiated its practicability.
The government intended to make the profession of an official not only highly paid but also respected. In Singapore, the principle of meritocracy is preached at the state level. The way upstairs opens before the smartest, progressively thinking and capable people. The CPIB is responsible for this.
Enrollment takes place at the school. State helps the future elite to enter the university, to study abroad, encourages children for success. So, gradually the bureaucratic apparatus was updated with properly learned and well-educated staff. Many of these specialists replenished the ranks of the CPIB. This is an exemplary practice to describe in the prevention of corruption essay.
The method of punishments and rewards proved to be effective: the level of bribery has significantly fallen in Singapore. Local bureaucracy is considered one of the most effective in the world, and the most highly paid. The earnings of officials are higher than salaries of US employees with similar posts.
Your money in politics essay should put forward an idea that no society with a high level of bribery can be considered hopeless. Even in rather difficult situations, the authorities of the above-mentioned countries were able to take effective measures to combat crime. Their experience is an invaluable example for other states.
However, no strategy can be copied in its original form. Mental and economic differences will not allow this. But the analysis of all four campaigns makes it possible to understand the main thing: the special conditions are required to fight bribery (democracy in Italy or a paramilitary situation and meritocracy in Asian countries). When developing an anti-corruption program, each state should understand its weaknesses and strengths, use available resources, attract competent experts.
We hope that the information in this article inspired you to write a quality essay about politicians and venal practices. Now you have enough reliable facts that will serve as a basis for a persuasive academic paper. However, whe you write an argumentative essay, remember that listing of historical events and formulations from the textbooks will not be enough.
The text should contain your personal attitude to the problem. Do not hesitate to express own opinion, make contradictory questions and give the answers which may not be approved by some scientists. Whether it’s about a short article on corruption or extensive work with several chapters, show creativity while compiling it. Good luck!