The weekly death toll and ongoing human tragedy of the refugee crisis internationally is stunning for several reasons. First, despite all of the talk (and talk and talk) about humanitarian principles and human rights, the international community has not moved beyond shutting borders, denying visas, and tent cities to deal with the several refugee crises occurring around the world.
One way or another, most of us work in anti-corruption. As part of law enforcement, as government employees, as members of the private sector, community groups and even in families – at one time or another, almost all of us are involved in trying to make things better.
If you read this blog, you know that I focus heavily on prevention of corruption and decay of organizations over investigation and prosecution. I believe that investigation and prosecution are critically important, but are fundamentally incomplete as anti-corruption tools.
We understand this from our everyday experience. Let’s take the traffic cop. Every day he hands out tickets for driving violations. Day after day. More tickets and more violations.
“You give me the 30% of the deal, and I’ll make sure our government partners get their share.”
Excuse me? You’ll do what?
If you work internationally, you will invariably find that people don’t understand the FCPA, and don’t understand what they are asking. I’ve heard it for matters as small as a “cup of tea” in Kenya and a “cup of coffee” in Albania.
The Highest form of generalship is to balk the enemy’s plan. Sun Tzu
The key idea in corruption prevention is . . . prevention. To stop something from happening before it can occur. Indeed, prevention is the heart of “anti-corruption.” This is discussed further in Gradients of Anti-Corruption and is depicted in the graphic above.
Most corruption is well beyond “simple” violations of the law. Corruption is the action of process of decay of something. Criminal forms of corruption are violations of the written laws.
Other forms of corruption erode away the foundations of the social agreements we make about how society should function. For example, in the photo above, there are cars parked all over the sidewalks, and people are forced to walk in the streets. This happens in many countries and cities around the world and creates a tsunami of small obstacles for pubic policy makers that are trying to build economies. Continue reading “Decay of Social Agreements”
In a developing nation somewhere, an underpaid policemen struggles with a drunk and disorderly citizen. During the arrest, the policeman’s hand is cut.
The next day, the policeman and the formerly drunken citizen reach an agreement. The citizen is charged with drunk and disorderly conduct, and he pays $5 to the policeman to compensate for the injury to his hand.