Providing Technical assistance on corruption control
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УДК 340. 12
SERGE LORTIE PROVIDING TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE ON CORRUPTION CONTROL
The phenomenon referred to as corruption has now been generating a high degree of interest for over twenty years. It has in fact spawned not only an abundant literature but also a monitoring and advisory industry whose specific outlook heavily shapes the debate on integrity issues. This industry is widely supported by aid providers, be it the international financing institutions or national development agencies. At this juncture, it therefore seemed worthwhile to examine more critically an area of assistance that has so far managed to largely avoid careful review. From a development practitioner’s perspective, this article summarises the basic conceptual and factual difficulties afflicting this field, highlights the potentially negative consequences of corruption control initiatives, and argues that a different approach should be taken to tackle mismanagement.
Key words: corruption, civil society, legislation, legal and administrative measures.
While obviously not in itself a new phenomenon, corruption in public life has been attracting since the early 1990s wide attention. Indeed, as a matter of both academic interest and practical concern, the subject — conceived essentially in terms of embezzlement, bribery and favouritism — has spawned not only an abundant literature but also what can rightly be regarded as a full-fledged monitoring and counselling industry.
The various anti-corruption strategies that are generally recommended can be seen to fall under one or more of the following three approaches:
— Adoption of legal and administrative measures
Under this approach, the tactics prescribed to counter corruption generally consist of sanctions, new institutions and high-profile national programs. More specifically, the measures promoted often include the creation of anti-corruption agencies, the introduction of codes of conduct, the protection of those who expose alleged wrongdoings, the establishment of internal monitoring units in bureaucracies, and the strengthening of institutions that are seen as key players in anti-corruption efforts.
— Implementation of economic reforms
On this method, economic reforms are carried out to eliminate the structural incentives to corruption. Such reforms may involve simplifying the tax system, reforming customs and tax administrations, improving the business registration process, increasing the transparency of the state’s procedures for purchasing goods and services, or privatizing some activities of government.
— Involvement of civil society
For some, the active participation of citizens in all aspects of public life is seen as the main way of improving integrity. Projects predicated on this assumption aim at developing
civil society’s awareness of the negative effects of corruption and encouraging the public to participate in various ways in the fight against mismanagement.
Whatever their particular slant, anti-corruption activities are largely supported by aid providers, whether international funding institutions or national development agencies. Since this area of assistance is still in a state of ongoing evolution, it seemed useful to examine the main features and assumptions of the field as a whole from a development practitioner’s perspective.
2. Fundamental difficulties
It must be stated at the outset that corruption, both as a topic of study and as a focus for reform, is beset with numerous fundamental difficulties that are poorly acknowledged.
A. Vagueness of concept
In light of the amount of time and the extent of resources dedicated to the fight against corruption, one would assume that the nature of the problem to be tackled has been accurately defined. But such is not the case.
Of course, many definitions can be found. The United Nations Convention against Corruption (article 15) describes corruption as «The promise, offering or giving to [or the solicitation or acceptance by] a public official, directly or indirectly, of an undue advantage, for the official himself or herself or another person or entity, in order that the official act or refrain from acting in the exercise of his or her official duties». The 1999 Council of Europe’s Civil Law Convention on Corruption (article 2) defines corruption as «requesting, offering, giving or accepting, directly or indirectly, a bribe or any other undue advantage or prospect thereof, which distorts the proper performance of any duty or behavior required of the recipient of the bribe». In its Source Book 2000, Transparency International defines corruption as «the misuse of entrusted power for private benefit».
However, the main definitions commonly used are only superficially authoritative and cannot withstand close scrutiny. [2- 3- 4- 5] They are amorphous constructs produced by circular reasoning. Thus, in the United Nations definition, what is an «undue advantage» solicited by someone for «another entity»? Apart from the fact that the concept of 'undue advantage' can be shrunk or stretched at will, the essential «undueness» is largely a matter of perspective. The definition could thus possibly apply to the case of a public official legitimately seeking to ensure, in exchange for his support, the creation of local jobs from an aircraft manufacturer bidding on a contract to modernize a country’s national airline fleet. The Council of Europe definition is subject to the same criticism. The idea of the 'proper performance' of an official’s duties is highly subjective, since most officials must in fact be given a significant amount of freedom in order to carry out their task. Transparency International’s description
raises a similar misgiving: who will decide what the «misuse» of a power is? And since Transparency International considers that one form of corruption in the private sector is to 'exercise undue influence on regulations and policy-making, who will determine what constitutes «undue influence on policy-making» and what qualifies as legitimate lobbying ? Because of such unstated assumptions and the fundamental questions they raise, corruption can pretty well be everything to everyone. At one end of the spectrum, it describes situations that are universally condemnable, such as stealing public funds or bribing an official to be able to evade environment protection legislation. At the other extreme, the notion can be used to refer to anything that one simply does not like, such as wasteful expenditures, price-fixing, substandard labour practices, the excessive compensation of chief executive officers or even shoplifting . In fact, common usage has widened the word’s range of meanings to such an extent that it no longer describes a specific form of misconduct — corruption has become the generic term for anything that seems inappropriate .
In view of the fact that a term endlessly expanded becomes hollow, it would seem important to narrow down the notion. In reality, however, since corruption is a concept that draws its strong emotional appeal from its lack of specific content, a usefully precise definition of the word is unlikely to be found. Studies and projects generally circumvent the problem of the definition of corruption first by formally recognizing it, and then by falling back, whether explicitly or implicitly, on the World Bank’s definition — «the abuse of public office for private gain» — and treating the concept as if it were self-explanatory [9- 10, p. 319]. It is therefore worthwhile noting that millions of dollars of development assistance are being invested in the fight against a phenomenon that has no precise boundaries. Far from being only intellectually untidy, this situation, as it will be seen, has very concrete consequences.
B. Tenuousness of knowledge
In addition to building upon a vague notion, the anti-corruption movement operates from a very limited body of objective knowledge on the extent of the problem and on its causes.
The facts on which allegations about the scope of mismanagement rest are in many instances surprisingly tenuous. Like any other group dealing with a single issue, professional corruption fighters have a vested interest in finding striking examples of the situation that they deplore. Illustrations of this natural tendency can be found throughout the 2009 report of Transparency International. For instance, the report estimates that in developing and transition countries alone, corrupt politicians and government officials receive bribes «believed» to total some US$ 20 to 40 billion annually . Apart from the fact that the grounds of such a belief are impressions rather than demonstrable facts, the wide range of the estimate, moving in one go from simple to double, should by itself inspire doubts about its reliability. The truth is that it is
rarely possible to measure with a useful degree of precision the level of maladministration. In the first place, in the absence of a commonly accepted definition of corruption, it is not clear what one should try to measure [11, p. 97- 12, p. 56]. Secondly, it is obviously difficult to gather quantitative evidence and other dependable information on a situation that, by its very nature, involves secrecy. Actually, there is no firm basis for determining if the levels of corruption are really increasing, if they have remained the same but it is people’s sensitivity to abuses that has intensified or even if public fears over the issue are being deliberately manipulated [13, p. 277 278]. The anti-corruption movement deals with the difficulty of obtaining reliable quantitative evidence in the same way as with the question of definition, that is, by ignoring it or simply affirming that corruption can be measured. In the final analysis, the confident and largely unqualified statements on the scope of abuse seem to rely less on firm evidence than on questionable inferences presented as indisputable truth [14, p. 310].
A neglected issue is that of the direction of causality. For instance, the emergence in Canada of a civil service that is largely free of patronage and corruption is, by historical standards, a rather recent development. For the longest time, the public service was extremely politicized. By the end of the nineteenth century, political patronage had produced a system clogged by inefficiency and staffed with individuals who lacked initiative, let alone ability. Positions were given out to party supporters in a system so steeped in favouritism that five major public inquiries on the subject were launched in relatively rapid succession . As a result of the findings of one such inquiry, the Royal Commission of 1907, the government created the Civil Service Commission. In its first annual report, in 1908, the new Commission pointed to numerous examples of inappropriate activities within the civil service, from the persistence of patronage to the acceptance of commissions by government officials. In one instance, an individual who had obtained his appointment by political influence hired someone else to perform his job for him, at a much lower rate, and kept the difference[16, p. 42].
The reasons for the change in attitudes that led to these inquiries and to the progressive emergence of a civil service that enjoys a reputation of competence and probity remain unclear. We do not know for certain if the country owes its increased material prosperity to greater government integrity or if the emergence of higher standards in public life was a consequence of improved affluence. From a conceptual standpoint, the hypothesis that, in many cases, integrity follows economic development rather than precedes it seems no less plausible than the opposite view. The possible theoretical validity of such an hypothesis seems supported by at least one historian, who attributes the pressure for a more efficient and less politicized Canadian civil service to the demand for greater technical competence spawned by the considerable growth of the population and the rapid extension of the scope of governmental
activity [17, p. 78]. Nonetheless, in the present state of knowledge, this point remains an open question. It is true that countries that are struggling economically are generally afflicted by a significant level of improbity. But the fact that two things occur at the same time does not necessarily imply that one results from the other. China, India and South Korea are examples of countries that are regarded as highly corrupt but whose economy has grown very quickly over the past several years. It is also conceivable that economic development and government integrity both result from a third factor. The pursuit of integrity therefore occurs in a context where the cause and effect sequence is uncertain [18, p. 225]. Yet, the direction of causal connection is of crucial importance for the nature of the remedial measures that will be prescribed. If, contrary to the familiar belief, poor economic performance is the cause of corruption rather than the consequence of it, economic development is the solution and anticorruption programs, by themselves, are irrelevant.
C. Disregard of context
In corruption control as in other fields, the provision of assistance is commonly plagued by what is known in the intelligence world as «mirror-imaging», that is, the ascription to others of the same aims and motives as ours. However, those who receive assistance often have a very different view of public morality than those who provide it. The notion of corruption means different things in different places. As a result, the ineffectiveness of many integrity reforms can often be explained by the fact that the public administration practices developed in one society have limited application in another. Indeed, conduct that is regarded as improper and in urgent need of remedy by the country providing assistance may be entirely acceptable in the recipient country. Some observers even assert that corruption that is openly and systematically practiced by, for example, tax officials without being punished or even complained about by its victims ceases to be corruption, since it is no longer seen as a disorder that can be controlled, and is simply an unpleasant fact of life [19, p. 79−80].
In post-communist countries, the various socio-cultural factors to be taken into account often include traditional respect for power rather than for norms, a well-established view of law as something that can be changed arbitrarily, and variable moral boundaries .
On the first point, it can be noted that entrepreneurs in the former Soviet states had long relied not on the force of law for the attainment of their objectives but on their personal political connections and their ability to bring pressure on their trading partners [21, p. 123−124]. As a result, the constraints of a planned economy inculcated a respect for power rather than for formal norms. In other words, the prescriptions of the law in these countries are often too feeble to override the quite different messages from other sources, such as co-workers, friends or
political leaders [22- 23]. Clearly, unless this mentality changes, no purely rules-based attempt at combating corruption can succeed.
On the second point, Soviet countries were unfamiliar with concepts such as the importance of predictable rules and accountability. Soviet law was developed not so much to advance the public interest as to strengthen the state’s ability to govern. As a result, the law was continually refashioned to suit specific needs. During the Stalin era, laws were often vaguely worded intentionally in order to give state prosecutors maximum flexibility in convicting «enemies of the people». The clearest example of this approach is the doctrine of analogy, under which a person could be punished for committing an act that, although not expressly prohibited in the criminal code, was analogous to a prohibited act [24, p. 35]. The effects of this purely utilitarian approach to law are still felt today.
On the matter of moral boundaries, the problem of corruption in post-communist countries may derive, at least in part, from the fact that compliance with norms depends to a significant extent on the circumstances and the context. Clearly defined and commonly recognized borders of moral obligation are limited to very small segments of society, such as the family or the professional group. Beyond these spheres, people feel free to operate according to a different morality, one based largely on self-interest rather than the common good [25- 26].
There can also be a deep misunderstanding of factors as fundamental as the conception of bureaucracy. Assistance projects almost invariably start from the unstated assumption that the recipient country seeks the type of bureaucratic system developed in the West — that is, a system comprising institutions that are largely immune from political interference, provide fair treatment to citizens and are staffed by competent and efficient people. This implicit assumption of a shared belief in a model of public administration placing great value on political neutrality, adequate professional qualifications and continuity is often mistaken. In societies where family ties or other kinds of relationships are very strong, the expectation that the public employee will maintain the strictest impartiality in his relations with friends and relatives is unrealistic [27, p. 10]. In Bangladesh, for example, society is organized according to cultural patterns characterized by personal status, authoritarianism and the sharing of wealth. These patterns spawn public bureaucracies where the private appropriation of public goods is unofficially tolerated, internal communications are very poor and initiative is implicitly discouraged. To put it simply, a bureaucrat is expected to use his access to resources to dispense benefits . The situation appears to be similar in many African countries, where public officials often feel strongly bound by obligations to their group but have little or no sense of duty towards the state [29, p. 283−284]. And in Ukraine, the public’s indignation at the reputedly staggering level of dishonesty within the administration co-exists with its indulgence toward those committing these abuses.
According to a major study on the relations between citizens and government, a majority of Ukrainians regard themselves as victims of extortions while at the same time stating that they would be tempted to accept a bribe if they were themselves a low-paid official [30, p. 165]. Consequently, a point of great relevance when assessing a country’s true degree of support for integrity promotion measures, is to determine if public anger against corruption is prompted by moral outrage or, more simply, by envy [31, p. 232].
Furthermore, a country’s political system and political culture can by themselves contribute in various ways to abuses. For example, a structure that does not ensure a proper balance between the executive, the legislative and the judiciary branches precludes the possibility of one component exercising a moderating influence on the others. The absence of constraints in the wielding of power is conducive to all forms of abuse. The specific character of political life in a given country is also a major consideration. For example, the extensive vote buying on which political parties rely in Argentina can be seen as making corruption in all aspects of the state’s operations practically unavoidable [32, p. 30−34]. In some cases, the fundamental problem might be the very conception that people of a given country have of politics. For instance, one can wonder about the true scope of the notion of corruption in a country where, as in Jamaica, politics is driven not by ideological debates but by access to the distribution of the spoils by the party in power.
The reality is that it is extremely difficult to disentangle the different factors that could explain why there is more corruption in some countries than in others. And it seems clear that anti-corruption efforts conducted without regard to the political environment not only are doomed to fail but can also lead to anarchy rather than to a more stable and efficient democracy . Yet, the weight of the socio-cultural factors is commonly ignored by assistance initiatives. In light of the frequently rudimentary nature of the measures that it promotes, the anti-corruption movement probably has to overstate the malleability of foreign societies.
D. Overestimation of commitment
Another political factor limiting the impact of the anti-corruption programs of foreign donors is the strength of the governing class’s determination to promote integrity. On this matter, assistance providers are often forced to rely on the official position of a recipient country’s leaders. These formal statements can however be highly misleading if they are not considered in the light of the political dynamics of the country at hand. Thus, some hold that corruption and illegality among the elite in Ukraine in the late 1990s and early 2000s were deliberately ignored and even encouraged by the top leadership as a way of control through blackmail . Using its surveillance agencies, the state systematically documented wrongdoing by officeholders as well as major private actors. When compliance was required, an individual could be confronted with
detailed files containing compromising materials or evidence of wrongdoing. This stands in stark contrast to the fact that, during the same period, the country’s political leaders were enacting strict laws against abuses and setting in place wide-ranging national anti-corruption strategies.
By all accounts, the same combination of impressive talk and unimposing action has, during certain periods at least, been a feature of political life in Nigeria [35, p. 231].
E. Questionability of approach
An added difficulty comes from the very incomplete basis from which aid providers proceed. Some of the effects of this partial approach can be seen in an overemphasis on public sector abuses and in an unrealistic view of the level of integrity in developed countries.
The fight against corruption tends to be preoccupied exclusively or mainly with the public sector. From this perspective, the private sector is implicitly or expressly presented as necessarily honest, the public sector as the source of all corruption, and the reduction of the role of the public sector as the key to greater integrity . Such distinctions are specious and frequently the reflection of an anti-state ideology. As the notorious 2001 Enron scandal and the 2008 Bernard Madoff fraud clearly show, private sector misconduct should not be overlooked. According to a report of the Comptroller of the State of New York, the combined effect of the bankruptcies of Enron, WorldCom and other corporations due to corrupt corporate management and accounting malpractice contributed about $ 1 billion to the state’s revenues losses in the calendar year 2002 alone . In any event, corrupt acts often involve individuals from both sectors. The concern about misbehaviour should therefore be extended to non-public sector fields, such as the trade unions, the media and the professions.
Moreover, much of the advice offered to developing countries relies on a very idealized view of the situation prevailing in the developed world. To use only one example, the dishonesty that is taken to be widespread within Ukraine’s education system has attracted much attention from international donors. While it is understandable to be outraged at any abuse in such a critical field, it should not be ignored that the same sector has its own ethical challenges in the West. Thus, according to a survey conducted in the United Kingdom, an important proportion of the 1,200 parents questioned would consider using a dishonest tactic to secure their child a place at a successful school . Almost one in seven parents indicated that they were prepared to use a false address to ensure that their child falls within the territorial jurisdiction of the school of their choice . For the same reason, one in ten families would be ready to fake a divorce, with one partner moving with the child to a location closer to the school, and one in five to lie about or exaggerate their religious commitment. Most drew the line at bribery, but 1% said they would probably consider it. And, indeed, according to some other reports, it is apparently not that unusual for British school admission officials to receive gentle hints from desperate
applicants that, should their child be admitted, there may well be offers of free theatre tickets for the school or a generous donation of books to the school library . According to British school authorities' own estimates, there are at least 4,200 cases of applications cheating a year . The general point is not that ethical impropriety in one place makes it acceptable in another, but that starting from an unrealistic view of the level of integrity prevailing in developed countries is not conducive to the calm examination of issues that will generate useful assistance .
Finally, many projects are entirely or largely predicated on the effectiveness of the law as a tool to combat misbehaviour. However, this confidence in legal mechanisms is clearly excessive.
First, law seldom has the power that people tend to ascribe to it.
The law has practical limits that are imposed by the nature of the society in which it operates. As previously alluded to, in developing countries, law is in many instances only one normative system among others, and not always the prevailing one. Even in developed countries, it is not particularly infrequent for individuals to contravene the law, as the familiar examples of illicit drug consumption and the chronic disregard for speed limits attest [43, p. 12- 44, p. 7]. Generally speaking, the relations between law and social change are an extremely complex matter that remains largely unexplored.
As well, a law can only be effective if certain conditions exist. For example, Albania’s law on the declaration of assets is expected to be inapplicable on account of the inadequacies of the country’s banking system and the sheer number of public officials' accounts to be monitored [45, p. 50].
More simply, the effectiveness of anti-corruption legislation is likely to be relatively limited in the best of cases. Such legislation encounters some basic problems.
Foremost among them is the difficulty of discovering corruption in the first place, since corruption is an act in which all parties implicated normally have a strong interest in secrecy. Most corruption remains unknown. And even when corrupt acts do come to light, the stringent criteria of evidence that normally apply in criminal law often make it difficult for the prosecuting authorities to secure a conviction. Besides, when corruption is widespread in a country, the social consequences of denouncing abuses can be high [46, p. 10]. And the judges who decide such cases may themselves be dishonest. A punishment-oriented approach to combating abuses can therefore be expected to be more efficient in theory than in practice.
Second, legislation may increase corruption instead of reducing it.
For one thing, the criminalization of formerly permissible acts mechanically increases the scope of what may be labelled as corruption. An action that might have been legally permissible one day can, the next day, become an offence by the adoption of a new anti-
corruption rule. An illustration of this fact is provided by UK’s legislation on donations to political parties: anonymous contributions were permissible until, in 2000, the law was changed to prohibit them .
For another, the multiplication of rules can multiply opportunities for abuses.
Faith in the law overlooks the fact that legislation itself is often a source of corruption.
Upstream, dishonest law-makers can easily use their law-making power to extort benefits [48, p. 64]. Downstream, practically any law aimed at regulating an activity — and certainly all laws aimed at combating corruption through criminal sanctions — can provide an opportunity for dishonest officials to profiteer. Bribes and other advantages are given as commonly to obtain inaction as to secure a specific action. A powerful law enforcement agency can make an individual pay to avoid being prosecuted, especially if, as is often the case in such matters, the offence carries a severe penalty.
Third, legislation never captures all conduct that is inconsistent with the standards that should apply in public life.
The most obvious objection to the legalistic view of corruption control is that it is often far too narrow in scope, since it does not cover a wide range of behaviour that is generally regarded as unacceptable. It is worth noting in this regard that the scandal that erupted in 2009 in the United Kingdom around the expenditures of Members of Parliament had far-reaching consequences despite the fact that most of the abuses revealed did not involve the violation of any law . Members of Parliament are able to recover a number of expenses, including costs related to the operation of their office and to their second home. An employee made a full uncensored electronic copy of the expenses records and documentation filed by Members of Parliament to obtain the refund of various expenditures under this system. This copy was provided to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, which began publishing details every day from 7 May 2009. The details of the claims included invoices for items ranging from plasma television sets to a bouquet of flowers, to dog food. The more serious cases involved claims for the refund of the interest paid on mortgages that did not exist. Most of the outlays involved had been refunded further to their approval by the parliamentary office responsible for scrutinizing the MPs' claims, and could thus, strictly speaking, be seen as within the rules. However, the details released were politically devastating. The affair led to the resignation of the Speaker of the House of Commons and of several ministers and ended prematurely the political career of several other elected officials.
A similar situation arose in 2010 in connection with the private activities of Montreal’s Assistant Director of police — the third highest-ranking official in the city’s law enforcement hierarchy [50- 51]. It was discovered that the senior officer in question was also
running a luxury home-construction business. Most of the controversy officially centered on the fact that such activities could potentially cast a doubt on the integrity of the official, since the disclosure of this situation occurred in the midst of widespread allegations of fraudulent practices in the province’s building industry. However, much of the uneasiness owed more to the fact that the circumstances raised wider concerns about the ethical propriety of such a well-paid officer devoting his time and effort to outside activities. The ability of any person to competently fulfil such important public responsibilities and, at the same time, be extensively involved in a business enterprise seems more than doubtful. That said, the conduct of the officer did not appear to breach any legal rule. On the one hand, the code of conduct for the employees of the city of Montreal is broadly worded regarding second jobs, since it provides that employees are prohibited from having a direct or indirect interest in a business that places or may place their personal interests in conflict with those of the city or with their professional responsibilities. However, Quebec’s Police Act, which applies to all the province’s police officers, states only that 'the function of police officer is incompatible with the functions of bailiff, investigation agent, security guard, collection agent or representative of a collection agent, and private detective . Under that Act, the officer who holds other employment or receives other income from the carrying on of a business is simply required to disclose the nature of this employment or business to the director of the police service — a requirement which Montreal’s Assistant Director of police had complied with. As a result, the event led to some pointed public comments but does not seem to have had any negative consequence for the officer involved.
3. Practical consequences
In light of these major shortcomings, it would be unreasonable to expect the assistance directed at corruption control to produce impressive results [53- 54]. A point to keep in mind in this regard is that it is always in the interest of any organization to assess its activities on the sole basis of the objectives formally assigned to them. However, like any other public undertaking, anti-corruption measures should be evaluated not only on their immediate goals but also on their many other actual and generally unanticipated outcomes. The fact that corruption is inconsistent with the proper management of public affairs does not mean that the fight against unethical behaviour is free from potentially harmful side effects. It is not, and these negative consequences may include a distortion of issues, a diversion of resources and a destabilization of institutions.
A. Distortion of issues
The framing of all public administration matters in terms of corruption launches state building in unpromising directions by mischaracterizing or oversimplifying issues. In many countries, the problems to be dealt with extend far beyond the area of corruption, no matter how narrowly or broadly the latter is defined. Among other things, one frequently faces a situation
where numerous fundamental problems would have to be coped with: basic government structure matters have not been properly addressed- public administration is over-centralized- the capacity of the bureaucracy is limited- the decision-making processes within the administration are unsystematic- there are parallel decision processes outside the administration- the economy is liberal mainly in name- property rights are imperfectly protected- the tax system is predatory- political parties are weak- the media have low professional standards- knowledge of the true sources of institutional malfunctioning is inadequate- and the capacity to develop alternatives to the prevailing state of affairs is extremely limited .
A fixation on the symptoms of corruption often hinders or entirely precludes serious analysis of broader issues. For example, casting the problems of hospital administration in terms of corruption can provide a convenient excuse to avoid tackling the difficult question of healthcare financing [56, p. 50]. And a shrewd government can even deliberately use corruption as a way of taking the attention away from fundamental subjects. Thus, anticorruption campaigns have been used systematically by the Cuban regime to explain the underperformance of the economy and the shortage of consumer goods.
A corruption-centered framework also tends to direct attention to the most noticeable forms of abuses, such as bribery. This can easily lead to overlooking more diffuse but no less damaging forms of dishonesty, like the wide-scale neglect of responsibility. In some countries, public sector employees come to office late, leave early and frequently conduct private activities on government time, and so are in effect paid for work that they do not perform [57, p. 469−470- 58]. This type of deviation from proper standards of professional conduct are not confined to developing countries. Thus, in France, air traffic controllers operate for their own personal benefit a parallel system of leave. Under this arrangement, the some eight thousand controllers take a large number of unreported days of absence. In fact, it appears that control towers often function with half of the personnel supposed to be there. The issue is far from insignificant. According to an official report of the government’s main auditing body, controllers only work about 100 days per year, and therefore improperly obtain 11 weeks of unofficial leave in addition to the 20 weeks of leave to which they are entitled . These extensive abuses are not referred to as corruption, and remain unaddressed even though they have been known to the authorities for many years.
B. Diversion of resources
Anti-corruption assistance offers the aid industry tempting targets for technically elaborate projects that float on the surface of the recipient society. This leads funding agencies to support standardized remedies, including the enactment of stricter criminal legislation, the establishment of provisions requiring public officials to disclose their financial situation, the
setting in place of codes of conduct, and the creation of bureaucracies dedicated to fighting corruption. Such measures are often context-insensitive, and thus can have effects that are quite different from the ones expected. For example, politics in developing countries being what it is, there is a general risk that the structures put up to fight corruption might be misused as weapons to attack political opponents [60, p. 100]. In Bolivia, for instance, the anti-corruption measures set in place in 2008 have led to politically motivated prosecutions [61, p. 83]. And when dishonesty is pervasive, it might be unwise to assume that the specialized agencies set up to combat corruption will themselves maintain high standards of integrity or prove particularly efficient. Thus, in Tanzania, the Prevention of Corruption Bureau was found to be totally ineffective and to have contributed to the spread of corrupt practices . Consequently, it may be argued that the foreign aid resources allocated to high-profile initiatives against corruption could in many cases be more usefully directed to reforms that may be less spectacular but are likely to have a more fundamental impact on public administration.
C. Destabilisation of institutions
One of the major problems of many developing societies is the public’s widespread distrust of institutions. In such a context, anti-corruption campaigns can easily have an unsettling effect. On one hand, the anti-corruption rhetoric promoted by foreign donors amplifies the perception that mismanagement is the cause of all the difficulties that the country is facing. On the other, the adoption of anti-corruption strategies and the creation of specialized agencies to oversee their implementation convey the message that existing government institutions cannot be relied on to deal with corruption, and produce high expectations for immediate, tangible results. However, the measures undertaken to deal with maladministration rarely if ever have significant short-term results and sometimes have no discernible long-term effect. This disappointing outcome inevitably leads to increased public exasperation [63, p. 54]. By creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that corruption cannot be controlled, extensive anti-corruption campaigns destabilize the political system by weakening the diffuse popular support without which public institutions cannot exist. While good government requires constant vigilance, it is undermined by pathological suspicion. The short-term benefits obtained through a high-profile but superficial anti-corruption campaign tend to be rapidly cancelled by the longer-term damages to public institutions that result from the ineffectiveness of such a campaign. Russia under President Boris Yeltsin provides an illustration of this situation. The more the Russian state attacked abuses using the traditional anti-corruption campaigns, the more it damaged the reputation of its officials and unintentionally eroded the legitimacy of the state [64- 65].
In the final analysis, ill-conceived anti-corruption initiatives can easily compound a country' s corruption problem.
4. Concluding observation.
In theory, two general courses of action seem available to break out of the present unsatisfactory situation: recognizing complexity or redirecting resources. Under the first option, donor countries would take a more realistic view of the impact that their work can have. They would stop expecting quick results from actions in a single area, such as increasing penalties or creating an anti-corruption office, invest more in research and experimentation, move away from reductionist theses and take into account the broader historical, economic and political context in which a society functions. Under the second option, funding agencies would reduce their involvement in a field whose complexity arguably exceeds by far the capacity of an aid system that remains essentially donor-driven and complexity-averse. In practice, however, the forces at play are such that any significant change of orientation appears improbable.
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ОКАЗАНИЕ ТЕХНИЧЕСКОЙ ПОМОЩИ ПО БОРЬБЕ С КОРРУПЦИЕЙ
Феномен, известный как коррупция, находится под пристальным вниманием общества уже более двадцати лет. Его порождением стала не только обширная литература, но и целая индустрия консалтинга и мониторинга, специфичность позиций которой в значительной степени определяет полемику по вопросам порядочности. Индустрия активно поддерживается из различных источников финансовой помощи, включая международные финансовые институты и национальные агентства по вопросам развития. В данной ситуации на сферу международной помощи, которой до сих пор удавалось избежать строгого анализа, стоило бы посмотреть более критично. В статье, написанной экспертом-практиком в сфере международного сотрудничества, резюмированы основные теоретические и практические сложности, возникающие в этой области, выделены возможные негативные последствия антикоррупционных инициатив и приведены аргументы в пользу того, что для решения проблемы ненадлежащего управления необходим иной подход.
Ключевые слова: коррупция, гражданское общество, законодательство, правовые и административные меры.
НАДАННЯ ТЕХНІЧНОЇ ДОПОМОГИ У БОРОТЬБІ З КОРУПЦІЄЮ
Вже понад двадцять років феномен, відомий як корупція, викликає неабиякий інтерес у суспільстві. Він породив не лише великий літературний доробок, а й цілу індустрію моніторингу та консалтингу, специфічність позицій якої має значний вплив на полеміку з питань доброчесності. Індустрія активно підтримується з різних джерел
фінансової допомоги, серед яких міжнародні фінансові інституції та відповідальні за розвиток національні агентства. Отже, за цих обставин варто було б критичніше поглянути на галузь міжнародної допомоги, якій досі вдавалося уникати ретельного аналізу. Стаття написана з погляду експерта-практика у сфері міжнародного розвитку, підсумовує основні теоретичні та практичні труднощі, що постають в цій галузі, виділяє ймовірні негативні наслідки антикорупційних ініціатив та доводить, що для вирішення проблеми неналежного урядування потрібні інші підходи.
Ключові слова: корупція, громадянське суспільство, законодавство, правові та адміністративні заходи.