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Corruption and development

Corruption is the greatest obstacle to economic and social development around the world and has enormous social costs.

Corruption manifests itself in a distortion of the distribution of income and in decisions about public spending that are subject to corrupt practices.

What exactly is corruption?

According to the definition:


To bribe action and effect or to be bribed

It is a common practice in public and private organizations to exploit functions and resources for the purpose of obtaining economic or other benefit from the agents.


The word corruption:


Is derived from the Latin “corruptionis” and consists of the prefix “con” and “rumpere”, which means something like break, spoil, destroy.


Corruption in a social or legal context:


Includes human actions that disregard legal norms and ethical principles.


In summary


Corruption is the deliberate non-compliance with the principle of impartiality with the aim of deriving from this behavior a personal advantage for oneself or for others.

Where can you find corruption?

  • Throughout society
  • In the private and public sector
  • In trade unions, political parties, religious organizations etc.

What are the forms of corruption?

  • The influence: This occurs when a civil servant (functionary) uses his relationships to carry out an action in favor of persons close to him (family members) that has an influence on the achievement of a position or the acquisition of a lucrative activity in his favor.
  • Misappropriation of public funds: This occurs when a person (subject) enriches himself illegally to the detriment of the state. The exploitation of public goods, material or facilities that differs from a purchase constitutes embezzlement.
  • Illegal funding of public parties
  • Assets hidden in extraterritorial jurisdictions around the world

What are the causes of corruption?

Internal causes:


Lack of social conscience (egoism), lack of education and training, a culture of commitment and commitment (solidarity). Negative or distorted paradigms and others.


External causes:


Impunity, low pay, concentration of power, corporatism (spirit of corps in the parties), lack of control mechanisms, participation and transparency. Constitutional structures that facilitate and encourage corruption, deficits in the educational system, etc.

Consequences of corruption

Can be devastating

Here we have listed some of the consequences:

  1. Creation and consolidation of social inequality.
  2. Protection of relationship networks by the political and economic elites.
  3. Formation of mafia networks.
  4. The rise in the cost of goods and services, the rise in taxes that are secret or covert.
  5. The World Economic Forum estimates that corruption increases the cost of doing business by an average of 10%.
  6. Promoting projects that benefit powerful economic groups and weaken the state and the environment.

This leads to:

  • Undermining citizens’ trust in state institutions.
  • Undermining the rule of law.
  • Damage to the control and counterweight systems.
  • Effects on the level of violence and insecurity.

“Corruption undermines democracy, governability and human rights”

Another problem: The social tolerance of corruption

Corruption is increasingly accepted by society.

This is shown by the reversal of the value scale.

That means proverbs like:

  • “It’s stupid if you get caught”
  • “The honest is the stupid”
  • “It is better to choose a known crook than one you will only get to know”
  • “He took, but also delivered”

Establish themselves in our society and in the “mindset” of people.

What can be done about corruption?

We must address corruption not only as a crime and an obstacle to economic development, but also as a direct threat to peace and stability (UN Development Program).

The active fight against corruption requires effort and commitment, the commitment of society as a whole, of the institutions that support it and of all important groups such as citizens’ groups, academic institutions, business organizations, trade union, professional and similar associations.

Government level:


Promotion of legislative changes to establish legal and institutional frameworks against corruption, which include clear, solid penalties and the application of legal regulations. Implementation of strong internal control processes in the institutions. Education and training, strengthening the knowledge of auditors and other people.


  • Control and elimination of tax havens.
  • Improving information systems to make them more transparent.
  • Combating lobbying in one’s own country.


Private sector:


  • Promotion of fair competition.
  • Combating monopolization in economic sectors.


Communication, media:


Control of actors and truthful information.


Citizens and civil society:


Constant pressure and mobilization against corruption (more participation and reporting of corrupt actions).

The UN Convention

A first step against corruption

The UN Convention against Corruption is the first binding document in the fight against corruption and forms a unique mechanism for combating this problem worldwide.

The existing current convention of 2005, with its aid organization UNODC, covers four main areas: prevention, punitive measures, application of the law, international cooperation and the restoration of property.

The convention also contains provisions on technical assistance and the exchange of information. At the conference of the participating states in 2009, it established a review mechanism between the states.

164 countries are currently participating. That is a large majority of the member states of the UN that have joined the fight.

It remains to be stressed that the Convention is the only global anti-corruption tool that contains innovative standards that are accepted worldwide and that can be applied to both the public and private sectors.

Draw attention to corruption with the help of your art!

Author: Dr. Rubén Cárdenas Carbajal