[OPINION] How does corruption hurt you?

August 14, 2017 at 13:00

How does corruption hurt you?

For years the Integrity Initiative tries to create Integrity Nation, a nation where transparency and integrity rule and corruption is no longer part of everybody’s life. Have we succeeded? Obviously not if you read my last week’s column: Corruption is Dead! Long live Corruption!

Given the fact that business allegedly does not like corruption, but unfortunately—at the same time—is not willing to financially support anticorruption, it may be useful to highlight once again how corruption hurts and convince society at large or better—every individual—to fight corruption and make a choice to only deal with companies that evidently are involved in anticorruption and have been verified or even certified that they adhere to transparency in business and implemented antibribery and anticorruption policies.

Let’s be very clear that corruption impacts all of us in many ways. The pain corruption creates can be divided into four categories: political, economic, social and environmental. Politically, corruption is a major obstacle to democracy and the rule of law. Remember the formula I wrote about before: Corruption = monopoly + discretion – accountability? In a democratic system, offices and institutions should lose their legitimacy when they are misusing their influence for personal advantage. As we see on a daily basis, it is extremely challenging to develop accountable political behavior in a corrupt environment.

Economically, corruption depletes national wealth (that belongs to the people). Corrupt officials invest scarce public resources in projects that will line their pockets rather than benefit communities. In 60 LGUs, the Integrity for Jobs project has created Integrity Circles, which will see to it that infrastructure projects are benefiting less spectacular sectors, like schools, hospital and farm-to-market road also. Corruption also hinders the development of fair market structures and distorts competition. In this context, we wish the Philippine Competition Commission more than good luck in achieving their mandate in creating fair market conditions that will provide Juan de la Cruz with better products and services at better prices.

Socially, corruption is exploitive. Inequality breeds corruption by:

  • leading ordinary citizens to see a system as stacked against them;
  • creating a sense of dependency among ordinary citizens and a sense of pessimism for the future, which, in turn, undermines the moral dictates of treating everybody honestly; and
  • distorting the key institutions of fairness in society, the courts, which ordinary citizens see as their protectors against evil-doers, especially those with more influence than they have.

Corruption aggravates inequality: the well-off can afford bribes, but the poor often do without basic services. Inequality, trust and corruption form a vicious circle that is very difficult to break. There is one institutional factor that has a big impact on corruption: the fairness of the legal system. This is an institutional measure of inequality: whether courts and the police treat people of different backgrounds and incomes as equals
before the law. This is the reason the Integrity Initiative is supporting the Judicial Reform Initiative started by Finex.

Let me conclude by saying that working against corruption is everybody’s mandate. As we at the Integrity Initiative say: Integrity starts with I. Every person must make the decision: I am part of the solution! I will contribute to positive change! Because, if I don’t do it, I am part of the problem.

If you agree with this, you must join us.

Source: http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/how-does-corruption-hurt-you/

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