Corruption Kills in Poor Countries; Big New Push to End Bribery
|December 23, 2013||Posted by Staff under Corruption|
With the realization that corruption is undermining development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a high-level panel, co-chaired by UNDP, Transparency International, and UNODC, are lobbying the UN to adopt goals and targets on good governance and transparency in the post-2015 development agenda.
The eight MDGs made no mention of fighting corruption. Yet in countries where there is more bribery, more women die during child birth and fewer children are in education, irrespective of how rich or poor a country is. In places where 30 percent of 100,000 women had to pay bribes, 57 died in childbirth, and where 60 percent of 100,000 had to pay bribes, 482 women died.
Few dispute that corruption blocks entry to services, erodes the quality of those services, and redirects resources from the poor towards the elite. Last year U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that one third of development aid never gets to its “final destination” because of corruption. The scale of corruption, particularly in weak and fragile states, is scaring many donors away.
As much as $1 trillion of illicit funds were being siphoned out of developing countries rather than being spent on them.
For the last 14 years, the Nigerian government has been trying to retrieve some US$200 million stashed in Liechtenstein during the regime of the late Sani Abacha, but had no powers to do so. Who is holding them [the banks and government officials concerned] accountable? No one.
It makes us feel good when we invent a framework, and then we think we’ve done it. We keep inventing and asking countries to join, but has this solved the problem? The answer is no. The key, instead, is to build up the institutions in developing countries that help implement government transparency and anti-corruption measures.
The UK’s Bribery Act was leading the way in anti-corruption legislation and had facilitated the recovery of 100 million pounds of assets stolen from developing countries.
Uganda’s auditor-general uncovered the disappearance of 85 million Norwegian kroner from donors, which had since been recovered. Norway is taking an approach of “zero tolerance to corruption”.
The 1.3 million people who participated in a public consultation process on the new development priorities ranked the need for honest and responsible government third highest of all priorities, after education and health care.
Ed. Notes: Other researchers have reported even a greater percentage of aid never benefits the poor. And some people in poor countries don’t want any more aid, since it only strengthens the corrupt government and elite. What some of them prefer is true free trade. Not so-called “free” trade that absolves corporations of all responsibility for the consequences of their actions but free in the sense of no more tariffs and quotas and fees, the same way trade is within nations.
What would greatly help would be a new morality about public revenue.
- First, the state does not have the right to take anything from anybody that it wants; instead, the state only has the right to recover society’s common wealth on behalf of society and fall back on taxation in emergencies only as a last resort.
- Second, the state does not have the right to give public revenue to insiders under any pretense; instead, the state has the duty to disburse the funds either as a dividend to citizens or as truly desired and widely beneficial services or a mix of both.
- Third, the value of land and resources — how much people are willing to spend to own or use a location for whatever purpose — is a flow of funds that constitutes the common wealth and is not a source of fortune for owners or insiders; instead, everyone owes Land Dues to their community for the site they occupy. And …
- Fourth, residents are not entitled to the rental income accruing to their own site but rather to a share of all the rental income of all the sites in their region; that’s what makes Earth’s worth our common wealth.
Once these ethical principles are adopted, then corruption will be no more and everyone will prosper in peace and in environmental harmony.