Monday, January 03, 2011

American Interest: a very different view of corruption

The American Interest about seven months ago carried a fascinating article about corruption by Lawrence Rosen. We missed it at the time. It's surprising, and reveals how far the predominant corruption discourse fails to reflect the very different cultures and societies that exist around the world. We can't do better than simply to recommend reading it.

A bit over two years ago we wrote our own co-authored piece about corruption, also in The American Interest. It is a very, very different piece, and it contains the following:
A better basic definition of corruption would go something like this: Corruption is the abuse of public interest and the undermining of public confidence in the integrity of rules, systems and institutions that promote the public interest.
Now look at Rosen's article, and we think that our definition -- well, it's a loose definition, not a hard and fast one -- stands his test. It's not culture-specific, and it encompasses what people perceive to be corruption. More on this subject fairly, fairly soon.


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