Who Beats Corruption?

Corruption undermines the quality of life for people around the world, not only in poor countries. The US currently is witnessing several corruption scandals. Even America’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, responsible for providing relief after natural disasters and man-made catastrophes, was in the hands of inept political cronies rather than professionals. When hurricane Katrina struck America’s Gulf Coast, that incompetence proved fatal.

All societies require an effective government that can provide vital and irreplaceable public services and infrastructure. Thus, governments are invested with unique powers, especially the powers of policing and judicial control. But these powers are also readily abused. How, then, to ensure that governments are law-abiding as well as strong?

The best answer, both in theory and practice, is to find ways to hold governments accountable to the people that they serve. Elections are obviously one method, though campaign financing can be a source of corruption. Politicians around the world trade favors for cash needed to win elections, and they often use that cash to buy the votes of desperately poor people.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/0vNJsFG;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.