Corruption and Integrity
Corruption and integrity are two forces contradicting with each other. Corruption are generally rampant on the society where integrity is not valued as it is to be.The society where corruption is reasonably controlled requires that all technical-institutional components like laws, regulations, procedures, surveillance and enforcement, judgment, reward and punishment be in place. This requirement is extremely important, and much attention has rightly been focused on it. Public and private institutions may have share many common corruption challenges. Any large-scale organization or a country that interacts with different kind of people, multiple suppliers and customers must ensure that politicians and / or employees do not take advantage of their entrusted powers and solicit bribes. Codes of conduct and promoting integrity – alongside effective customer complaint, whistle blowing and financial tracking systems – have been applied successfully in both areas of governance.
Myanmar and Iraq are considered top most ranking corrupt nations in the world. Myanmar is located in the eastern part of the Asian continent, in a geographical area rich in natural and mineral resources, which provides significant economic potential. Hundreds of government officials were done on charges of corruption. Since then, this topic has remained highly politicized, limiting the room for third parties to address this issue. It does, however, remain pressing: in November 2004, the non-governmental organization Transparency International published its annual corruption perception index, with Myanmar ranking among the five worst countries surveyed (on 142nd place out of 145). In Iraq corruption is also rampant. Estimated confirms that the official corruption costs Iraq $5-7 billion per year as estimated by one senior Iraqi official. Notable steps have been taken: Iraq has a functioning audit board and inspectors general in the ministries, and senior leaders including the Prime Minister have identified rooting out corruption as a national priority. But too many political leaders still pursue their personal, sectarian, or party interests. There are still no examples of senior officials who have been brought before a court of law and convicted on corruption charges (Transparency International, 2008).
In contrast, Denmark and Singapore are two of the least corrupt countries in the world according to transparency International. It has a highly developed market-based economy, which historically revolves around extended Centerport trade. Denmark is a country with high morale populations and effective leadrers (Stone & Bain, 2008). Singapore has been rated as the most business-friendly economy in the world with thousands of foreign expatriates working in multi-national corporations. Singapore has a successful and transparent market economy (Mirza, 2006). Companies which are government-linked were dominant in the local economy’s various sectors, such as utilities, media, and public transport. Singapore has been consistently rated as the Asia’s least corrupt country and one of the world’s ten most free from corruption as reported by Transparency International (Transparency International, 2008).
Myanmar and Iraq are considered as developing countries. In the last few years, corruption in the developing countries has come to the forefront of development thinking. Tight fiscal situations at home have made donor countries focus more on the impact of their aid to developing countries, raising concerns among bilateral and multilateral aid agencies over the effect of corruption on economic performance. At the same time, the trend towards democratization has made developing country government subject to a greater scrutiny and accountability from a broader segment of general public. Despite this, there remains a significant degree of ambivalence among many policy makers about the real impact of corruption in the economy. This less-than-enthusiastic response is due in part to the to the so called corruption puzzle. In a number of Asian countries, high rates of growth had been sustained over a long period despite high levels of corruption (Transparency International, 2008). Empirical evidence indicating that corruption impedes growth and investment has begun to emerge, with academics and scholars increasingly devoting more time to study the surrounding issues. These findings parallel to the emerging concerns of politicians and policy makers around the world about the deleterious effects of corruption on economic performance and increasing efforts to try to address the underlying causes.
Corrupt actions are often rationalized by those who perform it. Two forms of corruptions that are partly susceptible to such rationalization are noble cause of corruption. In case of Myanmar, corruption induces performing actions for good end. Given the goal motive, this form of corruption is highly susceptible to rationalization. Unfortunately such actions notwithstanding the good motive are tainted. In particular, although the person who performs such actions might believe that he/she is doing what is right; this belief is a mistaken one (Svensson, 2005). The action is morally wrong. In contrast, Iraq is operating in Trans cultural and religious setting which is often finds it easy to rationalize away their engagement in corruption by invoking arguments, such as ” When in Rome, Do as Romans do”. When one is operating in an environment in which one has, so to speak, no moral stake, such arguments can be tempting. This is especially the case if the condition conducive to corruption, for example, power imbalances, are in play. Unfortunately, the rationalizations for corruption that arise in transcultural setting do not in fact justify it (Miller et al, 2005).
What values are needed to complement the system in Myanmar and Iraq or other corrupt nations? Obviously, a comprehensive answer is outside the scope of this paper. However, a core syndrome needs to be identified and focused on. That syndrome will include rationally decision making that leads to action which is effective in achieving purposes which it is intended to achieve. Important decisions of dubious rationality, or neglect of rational ones, are often made even if no corruption may have been intended (Svensson, 2005). The recurrent disasters involving seagoing vessels and loss of lives and property in the burning of discotheque place and hotel in recent years in these nations are at least partly results of lack of rationality in decision making.
The rural character of Myanmar and Iraq as compare to Singapore and Denmark did not change significantly until the 1990’s. In the meantime, the particularistic values and norms that have worked so well since the ancient times can continue to be emphasized over other values and norms, and help maintain public order (Kaing, Thet & Aye 2005). However, in the rapidly urbanizing society, the same personality values and norms are no longer sufficient to cope with the decision making situations involving large concentrations of diverse populations. Commitment to more impersonal or universalistic norms has become necessary. It is evident, however, that at this historical juncture, Burmese or people of Myanmar generally continue to fit decisions to the more familiar and comfortable personalistic framework (United Nations, 2004).
Ultimately, corruption adds inefficiency into a system and increases the risk for investors. Consequently, market prices are higher due to increased risk and increased transaction costs. Deep rooted corruption causes companies to rely on paying bribes as their main source of competitive advantage (Klitgaard, 2000). This is opposed to innovating, taking risks and becoming more efficient. Being morally corrupt is the lowest form of existence as they take advantage of the weak and most vulnerable in society through the pursuit of personal gain. By applying stakeholder theory, morally corrupt people have total disregard for the well being of people, and have no concern for the future well being of society. By applying strict principals, all forms of corruption are immoral as it does not benefit society over the long run. However, this should not be used as an excuse to partake in corruption indefinitely. One can morally partake in corruption provided that there is a net positive benefit for the society, and that the corrupt act is made with the intention of reducing overall corruption (Svensson, 2005).
According to Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2009, p.4), morality refers to an ideal code of conduct, one which would be espoused in preference to alternatives by all rational people, under specified conditions”. However, corruption is a highly subjective matter which depends upon persons, cultural, ethical, moral and religious backgrounds. A perception of person regarding the corruption also depends upon their understanding and education of corruption. Hence, it is difficult to define an ideal code of conduct that “all rational people” will abide by, even under “specified conditions”. In many cases, the seemingly black and white scenario has large portions of grey. Morality is a term that spans many meanings (Miller et al, 2005). It is shaped the country’s cultural, moral, ethical and religious backgrounds. Despite religious diversity throughout the world, morality at its core is shared by all of human kind. Religious scriptures and ancient philosophy echo similar beliefs; that we should “love our neighbor” and “take care of others less fortunate”. Thus, these implications are commonly variable of corruptions in any country, specifically Myanmar and Iraq (Klitgaard, 2000). By removing corruption, we are creating value. In reality we sometimes need to partake in corruption in order to make progress.
Just as important a component of this desired values outcomes, and the value that will be seen everywhere, is universalism. These are the foundations of countries with high level of integrity and low level of corruption. The concept is taken from Parsons and is interpreted in practical terms to mean valuing principles that apply to the larger group as opposed to select few. From these values is a derived lower level norm that regulates relationships among individuals in the larger society. These lower level norms include the application of the merit principle in the hiring, firing and promotion of personnel in organizations; the application of the first com first served principle in the making or delivery of claims; the use of rational criteria in delivering services to members of general public, in accounting for use of power and others (Svensson, 2005).
There are variety of are possibility of ways to lessen the corrupt and unethical behaviors. In Denmark, there are programs implemented to monitor the budget allocation of each government officials as well as the organized system of Singapore.
Unlike Myanmar and Iraq, there are no specified programs regarding these issues. There are some visible programs but it was inefficient in combating the corruption which is commonly committed by higher officials of the government. The members of the population, who recognize the importance of integrity and values, if they have not internalized this as central part of their value system and repertoire, may be in the minority at the present time, but they are there. The success of Singaporean working in organizations is one indication, as is the operation of such enclaves as the main factor for their economic success and unrivalled progress in Asia. What seems to be called for is the leadership and support that they need at the same time that efforts are made to increase their progressions. An effective leadership system that will promote progress and economic sustainability will be a great help, but so will more direct action at inculcating the appropriate values itself (Mirza, 2006).
The ethical dimension of corruption activity does not consist simply of constraining rules and minimal standards, and certainly no simply of and legally enforceable rules and standards. In the first place, many principles and standards are not legally enforceable but are nevertheless highly ethically desirable. Anti-corruption system is one of the ways to lessen these deleterious activities. Anti-corruption system can be thought of as being both predominantly reactive and predominantly preventive. Naturally, the distinction is somewhat artificial, since there is a need for both reactive elements, for example, investigation and adjuration, as well as preventive elements, for example ethic training and transparency, and an adequate ant-corruption system. At any rate, there is a proposed to concise anti-corruption system under two broad headings, the reactive and preventive approaches. There are also subheadings in these approaches; promoting ethical behavior, corporate governance and prerogative and transparency (Klitgaard, 2000).
Denmark and Singapore employed different approaches from Myanmar and Iraq, their approaches to combat corruption in their country this is the main reason why there is very relatively small rate of corruption in these two countries. They used criteria in each approaches employed, manner of implementation, and results of the activities undertaken. The typologies and the specifications and examples given are worth looking at. In Denmark, leaders are being non institutional, characterized by spontaneity among adherents. It takes highly emotional and moralistic stance against corruption. Singapore value changes in actors of various institutions as a goal. In fact, in the approaches they implemented, the emphasis is on moral and legal, there is no provision for effective technical, legal and bureaucratic means in combating the corruption. These countries also emphasizes the use of institutional means to achieve stated goals, including legislative measures, anti-corruption bureaus and anti -corruption campaigns aimed
at securing the cooperation of the public in the drive of corruption. This approach is led by their powerful rulers in their society and utilizes constitutional legal, organizational and procedural means to achieve a very high level goal; the elimination or eradication of corruption (Miller et al, 2005).
Transparency International (2008). Global Corruption Report 2008.
Cambridge University Press.
- Svensson, J. (2005). Eight Questions about Corruption. Journal of Economic
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Religion and Morality.
2 June 2009. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/religion-morality
- Miller, S., Roberts, P., Spence, E. (2005). Corruption and Anti Corruption: An applied
philosophical Approach: New York: Prentice Hall.
- United Nations. (2004). Strategic Framework for UN Agencies in Myanmar. Country
Team in Myanmar Yangon: UN Country Team in Myanmar
- Kaing, Thet & Aye (2005). New Government Accuses ‘Super Power’ of Role in Yangon
Bombings. The Myanmar Times.
- Klitgaard, R. (2000). Corrupt Cities: A Practical Guide to cure and prevention.
Oakland California; ICS press
- Stone,A. & Bain, C. (2008). Denmark?; Denmark delineated:
sketches of the present state of that country?
- Mirza, H. (2006). Multinationals and the growth of the Singapore economy? –