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
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
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