Corruption Leads to More Corruption
|June 16, 2010||Posted by Jeffery J. Smith under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Corruption Leads to More Corruption
India’s bureaucracy is the most stifling in the world
Indias bureaucracy and Mexicos democracy leave something to be desired. We trim, blend, and append two 2010 articles on lousy government — not the kind you want to be funding — from (1) BBC News, June 3, on India by Chris Morris; and (2) Miller-McCune, June 6, on Mexico by Elisabeth Best.
by Chris Morris and by Elisabeth Best
- India’s bureaucracy is the most stifling in the world
The Hong Kong based group, Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, surveyed more than 1,300 business executives in 12 Asian countries. The poll suggested India had the worst levels of excessive red tape. Yet this seems not to have impeded performance — it has just released another set of strong growth figures.
But for many foreign companies that success is despite rather than because of the system they face, the report says.
The report ranks bureaucracies across Asia on a scale from one to 10, with 10 being the worst possible score. India scored 9.41.
Frequent promises to reform the bureaucracy, the report says, have come to nothing, mainly because the civil service is a power centre in its own right.
Starting a business in India is incredibly hard, and enforcing contracts can be nigh on impossible.
There is a strong link, the report says, between bureaucracy and corruption — and a widely held belief that bureaucrats are selfish and highly insensitive to the needs of the people they are supposed to help.
A recent survey of the Indian bureaucracy found large numbers of civil servants complaining of undue political interference, and a widespread fear that anyone questioning the system would be transferred to obscure postings in bureaucratic backwaters.
Given the level of dissatisfaction among foreign business executives and Indians themselves, the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy report poses an interesting question: just how much better could India be doing if it were able to reduce bureaucracy?
One consequence, it believes, is that the inertia generated by a stifling bureaucratic system will, in the medium term, prevent India matching the growth rates of its great Asian rival China.
JJS: Speaking of bureaucracy leading to corruption
- Corruption Leads to More Corruption
A new study by Stephen D. Morris and Joseph L. Klesner finds that corruption leads to more corruption. It breeds a climate of mistrust. People who dont trust their governments are less likely to participate politically to fix them.
Morris and Klesner studied Mexico. The Institutional Revolutionary Party held power in the country under various names for more than 70 years in a kind of sham democracy. Scandals implicated people close to presidents Jose Lopez Portillo and Carlos Salinas de Gortari, and bribes sustained many law enforcement officers and public officials.
As recently as 2009, Mexico was ranked 89th on the Transparency International Perception of Corruption Index, behind China (79th), Colombia (75th) and Cuba (61st). The U.S. took 19th, following the U.K. and Japan, tied at 17th; New Zealand was at the top of the list, Somalia at the bottom.
Morris and Klesner started with two main hypotheses: Corruption will strongly determine levels of interpersonal trust, and corruption will strongly determine levels of confidence in public institutions. They also hypothesized that the opposite would be true; interpersonal trust and confidence in public institutions would determine corruption.
To test their predictions, they used data from the Latin American Public Opinion Project, which included interviews with 1,556 Mexicans age 18 and over from March 2004.
The researchers measured corruption based on whether participants thought various public officials were corrupt or had themselves participated in corruption by paying, soliciting, or witnessing payment of bribes to public officials.
They found that while corruption does not affect whether people trust each other, it does affect their faith in institutions. And when people perceived their governments as corrupt, they themselves were more likely to participate in the corruption (likely as a result of an everyone-else-is-doing-it attitude).
Mexicans who distrust political institutions are likely to believe that politicians, public figures, and those involved in law enforcement and the judicial system are corrupt, the researchers wrote. Mexicans who see corruption among politicians, public figures, judges, and the police are likely to distrust all political institutions.
If politicians are considered to be corrupt, then their rhetorical promises to crack down on corruption will tend to fall on deaf ears.
In Mexico, people blame politicians and see no way out, but at the same time they use this view to justify their own participation in corruption and unwillingness to do anything about it.
Morris and Klesner argue that in Latin America specifically, anti-corruption campaigns have their work cut out for them because they are trying to mobilize and incorporate an already distrusting population.
JJS: You think people might respond to a proposal to shift the power to spend public money — discretionary spending — from government to citizen? Alaska lets its residents spend some of the oil revenue. Even if it does not have oil, every region has a stream of economic value from some natural resources, mainly the land in the busiest part of the major city. Any region could curb spending by politicians and bureaucrats, cut the counterproductive taxes that hamper enterprise, recover all those natural values of sites and resources, then pay dividends to citizens. Thats the geonomic solution, which has worked wherever tried.
Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics.
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