What is Anti-Corruption?

Working on USAID Anticorruption projects I have often found that anticorruption institutions need access to very simple materials that help explain what corruption is.  Something odd happens when people enter government around the world and they seem to shift from the idea that anticorruption is about preventing things that cause the degradation of society to thinking that anticorruption is primarily about investigations, arrests, prosecutions and jail.

Investigation doesn't prevent the cows from being stolen.  Brian Pinkowski
Investigation doesn’t prevent the cows from being stolen. Brian Pinkowski

People will talk about corruption prevention on international development projects, but it seems to be pushed aside in favor of the sexier efforts to prosecute and convict criminals.  In other words, corruption prevention gets pushed aside in favor of basic law enforcement capacity building.

While the law enforcement skills are essential, they don’t really PREVENT much corruption.

This is also true within private corporations.

After having given the presentation over 200 times to public and private sectors audiences, I decided to create a few short videos to help anticorruption tools as they explain some of the more basic concepts in anticorruption.  The first video is 6 minutes and discusses application of the dictionary definition of the words “Corrupt” and “Corruption.”

Follow-up videos discuss application of the terms to individuals, groups and societies.

The videos can help where you have access to internet, but the material in the videos is basic enough to be communicated with a stick in the dirt (as I have done on more than one occasion).

I have the transcript in English and Arabic, and am having the material developed in other languages with the help of my colleagues.

Results have been quite good with sophisticated audiences such as prosecutors, and with people with weak literacy skills.  I welcome your use of the material.

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14 Replies to “What is Anti-Corruption?”

  1. Really good to see a well planned, strait forward explanation- would be great to make the diagrams more visual / illustrative.

      1. I am semi-retired in Quito, Ecuador. Only do short term work and speaking/seminars in Latin America. Your videos would be great for whenI have speaking engagements or seminars.

  2. Brian, this great. Outlines the key issues. Looking forward to the rest of the videos.
    Dr. Cephas Lerewonu

    1. Thanks. The second video is posted on YouTube. Here: “http://youtu.be/m6MXiip3nAc” I’ll post more videos there, and here. Subscribe to both to make sure you get the updated material.

  3. Reblogged this on How To Fight Corruption and commented:

    The basic definition of corruption is an ongoing source of discussion. Here I am sharing a recent response to a reader.

    Sindi, Firstly, sorry for the delay. I am currently on an assignment in a location with limited internet. To your question: There are a few definitions of corruption wondering around. Many organization use some version of “The abuse of public resources for private purposes.”
    Personally, I don’t like that definition because it limits our view of corruption to matters that can prosecuted under the law.

    We all generally recognize that corruption of society includes the law enforcement related definition but goes beyond that to examine behaviors that may not be illegal, but weaken (corrupt) the functioning of society. Legalized drug use, for example. (I am not attempting to engage a debate on drug use. Nonetheless, few can argue that drug use makes things run more effectively.)

    The basic dictionary definitions seem to be more helpful and describe the term corruption in contexts used by people around the world – relating to the process and action of decay. I have discussed this concept more fully in an article here “What is Anti-Corruption?“, and in two YouTube videos with the same title. There is a short version (2 minutes), but if you are really interested in the subject, you should take a look at the 5 minute version.

    The 2 minute video can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQZ0GmcfCDY

    The 5 minute video can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5SO1Oj_Qqo


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