On The Matters of Corruption
By: Raphael Kutota Basisa, MBA
From as far back as it can be remembered, Government and Corruption have often walked hand in hand. Especially in the developing countries where civil servants and public officials are poorly remunerated and the legal repercussions for outright accepting bribes are very much relaxed; the issue becomes much accentuated.
Governments all over the world, because of their nature: “Belong to no one – but owned by All”, it presents the façade that certain holders of high political or public service offices, because of their office ranks, feel that they are warranted a bigger stake of the pie than the other average citizen of the country.
Corruption is a noun deriving from the definition of the word “Corrupt”: per Dictionary ***, it means an immoral, depraved, dishonest, perverted, unauthorized act (a serious breach of trust).
Corruption, to the contrary as we have often concluded, is just not intrinsic to the developing countries. Lately here in the United States , there have been allegations in the news media for two billion dollar in cash of American foreign Aid money is lost in Iraq . How in the twenty-first century and in the year of 2006 such a large volume of currency disappear – just melt into thin air! Unfortunately, it did happen. In the United States of America and many other politically and socially matured Western countries, checks and balance of power, accountability and transparency in the affairs of the State have such vigor in trudging corruption that chaotic situations in places like Viet Nam during the war in the 1960's and 1970's, and Iraq and Afghanistan in the recent history presents great opportunity to by-pass those normal protective measures such the ones cited above. It opens up that loophole, thus, the opportunity for the wrong doers to profit: the old saying that no one benefits from war had been proven wrong since the beginning of time. In my opinion, those lost Iraq 's two billion dollar are hidden somewhere in the wilderness of McLennan County , Texas (the County where the Town of Crawford , Texas is located).
No one can deny the adverse effects of corruption on the free flow of the wheel of public administration or the public trust to the authority figure, but at any case, it should not let be a stopper on country's social progress and normal economic development of a nation.
How is that possible?
The key word here to respond to the question should be “Via Privatization”.
The characteristics of all governmental entities: “Belongs to all collectively that any damage to it will not affect one single person directly”; have been its most inherent dangerous feature. The same elements have been root causes that all governments, whether from the first world or from the third world, to have been proven over several centuries for failing in the management of its own assets and for failing in the operation of profit generating activities. But governments all over have thrived as guarantor and as source for assurance and surety for the private enterprise so that together they can get things done: **transform the money into public service.
In the West, being the old socially, economically, and politically matured governmental systems; corruption issues, though bad for public relation, are protect by their robust structures.
In Emerging markets of Asia , social, economical, and political maturity of their governmental systems are still in the infancy and their structural strength is still being constructed.
As example, in China , the chief inspector of their food and drugs administration faced firing a squad in 2007 on corruption charges that resulted in tainted pet food sold in the markets in North American and Europeans countries supermarkets. Although corrupt, the Chinese economy grew in double digits in 2006 and 2007 and many years before hand.
In the recent decades two Pakistani and a couple South Korean prime ministers have been tried and indicted on corruption charges and one prime minister in Pakistan even served some prison term. Despite these corruption incidents, Pakistan and South Korea have been making big strides in the world's economy.
In Indonesia , as **Paul Collier describes it in his “The Bottom Billion”: “So Africans were voting with their wallets, taking their money out of the region. What was driving this massive capital flight? If you ask Africans, they tell you it is corruption. Those in power loot public money and get it safely abroad. This is surely part of the story, but it is not at the heart of what is going on. For example, Indonesia had the corruption on a world-class scale. President Suharto took what we might politely term “Asian family values” to extraordinary heights of paternalistic generosity. But most of the money stayed in the country. Africans took their money, whether corruptly acquired or honestly acquired, out of Africa because the opportunities for investment were so poor…did Indonesians in 1980 hold nearly all their wealth domestically,…So don't count on global capital mobility to develop the bottom billion, capital-scarce as they are. It is likely to reinforce the traps.”
Let's go back to privatization. Asian countries, despite rampant corruption, their countries have not been hampered by it to the level of economic stand still such that experienced by the countries of sub-Saharan Africa because in Asia , the bulk of their country's tools of production are in the hand of local private ownership. These companies belong to some one (somebody) as opposite to governmental entities - belonging to (not somebody) all people collectively.
When the bulk of the country's apparatus of production is in the hand of local private ownership, the following scenarios are likely to happen:
Public projects reach completion
National productivity is palpable
Commerce is rolling and Work is being done
Obvious change for the better
Economic progress is obvious
Employment are continually created
Per capita income is increasing
Upward mobility out of poverty is real
Lives are being changed
Every one is happy!!!
All of that is because Private enterprises, for the reason that of its innate disposition, are islands of good governance, economic stability, social prosperity, and political sanity.
In the developing countries, the absence of this mindset makes all the difference why corruption in the developing countries of sub-Sahara Africa is inhibitive to socio-economic progress and elsewhere it negatively affects the overall country's economy only very little.
***Third Edition, “The American Heritage College Dictionary”.