4 myths about corruption

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Kate Whiting, Senior Writer, Formative Content

  • 9 December is International Anti-Corruption Day.
  • During COVID-19, corruption has seen funds diverted away from those in need, says the United Nations Secretary-General.
  • From the prevalence of corruption in rich countries to its connection with inequality, here are four myths about corruption exposed.

Corruption thrives in times of crisis. This is the message from the United Nations on International Anti-Corruption Day, 9 December.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement: “Corruption is criminal, immoral and the ultimate betrayal of public trust. It is even more damaging in times of crisis – as the world is experiencing now with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The response to the virus is creating new opportunities to exploit weak oversight and inadequate transparency, diverting funds away from people in their hour of greatest need.”

Billions of dollars have been mobilized around the world to help those most affected by the pandemic, but the UN says “significant opportunities for corruption” exist where compliance, oversight and accountability have been overlooked in exchange for rapid impact.

Corruption governance trust United Nations
Image: World Economic Forum

Here are four myths about corruption and its impact.

Myth 1. Small corruption has a small impact

Corruption isn’t all multibillion-dollar money laundering. For many, it’s part of daily life: from having to pay bribes to access to public services, to being offered bribes in exchange for votes, which is the case for one in two people in Lebanon.

But small-scale corruption adds up. Between 2008 and 2009, people in Afghanistan paid out $2.5 billion in bribes, with around one in four paying at least one bribe to police and local officials during that time, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. And cumulatively, the constant demand for bribes can push people further into poverty. https://www.youtube.com/embed/lZpRscR4u1o?enablejsapi=1&wmode=transparent

Myth 2. Corruption only happens in poor countries

It is more widespread in countries where “big money can flow freely into electoral campaigns and where governments listen only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals”, says Transparency International.

In its Corruptions Perception Index 2019, which uses a scale of zero to 100 (highly corrupt to very clean), more than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of just 43.

Western Europe and the EU was the highest-scoring region, while Sub-Saharan Africa was the lowest.

But even high-scoring, developed countries like Canada (77) are not immune to corruption. It has dropped down by seven places from 2012, due to a bribery conviction involving Libya (18).

Pre-pandemic, fraud, bribery and corruption cost the UK’s NHS around $1.27 billion a year.

Myth 3. You can’t do anything about corruption

Multilateral organizations are doing plenty to raise awareness and encourage best practices.

The UN’s RECOVER with INTEGRITY campaign calls for countries to reduce the risks of mismanagement and corruption during the pandemic and to bring their national anti-corruption frameworks in line with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about corruption?

It hosts the Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI), the largest global CEO-led anti-corruption initiative.

Realizing that corruption hampers growth and innovation, and increases social inequality, PACI aims to shape the global anti-corruption agenda.

Founded in 2004, it brings together top CEOs, governments and international organizations who develop collective action on corruption, transparency and emerging-marking risks.

PACI uses technology to boost transparency and accountability through its platform, Tech for Integrity.

While the World Economic Forum’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative serves as the leading business voice on anti-corruption and transparency.

Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International, calls on governments to “urgently address the corrupting role of big money in political party financing and the undue influence it exerts on our political systems.” https://www.youtube.com/embed/MhLPpPb4ZYA?enablejsapi=1&wmode=transparent

Myth 4. Corruption does not affect inequality

“The COVID-19 pandemic risks deepening inequalities unless we strengthen the front-line defences of the global anti-money laundering system,” says Transparency International.

$50 billion flows out of Africa each year – money that could be used to improve lives. Instead, it’s funnelled abroad, often with the help of complicit or negligent banks, lawyers and accountants, says the organization.

And there can be a vicious circle of corruption and inequality because it causes a lack of trust.

“Corruption not only thrives under conditions of high inequality and low trust, but in turn it leads to more inequality (and thus less trust),” writes Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, Eric Uslaner.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Women Empowering inside Medical Schools

JADE Spring Meeting 2017 – day 3: JADE Academy trainings, networking session and gala dinner – Excellence Awards winners revealed

3 ways to fight stress at work

Rule of Law: European Commission takes new step to protect judges in Poland against political control

The three biggest challenges for India’s future

Fleeing violence, Cameroonian refugee arrivals in Nigeria pass 30,000, reports UN refugee agency

How debt for climate swaps could spur a green recovery

Further reforms will promote a stronger and more inclusive Hungarian economy

Robots and chatbots can help alleviate the mental health epidemic

The EU Spring Summit set to challenge austerity

COVID-19: Why we must take the widescreen view of workforce uncertainty

Why this city is paying people to move there

To build a circular economy, we need to put recycling in the bin

Digital Single Market: New EU rules for online subscription services

The new crisis is already creeping into the financial system

Digital democracy: a Swiss view on digital trust

European Citizens’ Initiative: A game of much publicity and one big lie

Few countries are pricing carbon high enough to meet climate targets

East Africa locusts threaten food insecurity across subregion, alerts UN agriculture agency

Commission welcomes political agreement on Recovery and Resilience Facility

A day in the life of a refugee: the role of nations and citizens of the world

EU: Turkey to shelter Syrian refugees and turn other immigrants back in return of €3 billion

Team Europe increased Official Development Assistance to €66.8 billion as the world’s leading donor in 2020

COVID-19: MEPs call for measures to close the digital gap in education

Children are so hungry in one British town they are eating from bins

How man and machine can work together in the age of AI

COVID-19: A new drug is tested, and other top science stories of the week

Being blinded by labels stops social change. Art helps us see a better future

4 ways Africa can prepare its youth for the digital economy

I have a rare disease. This is my hope for the future of medicine

EU to relocate 40,000 migrants across the bloc: first step of a long due substantial reform?

Iceland to take vacated US seat on Human Rights Council

EU attempts to make new deal with Turkey as relations deteriorate

UN mission welcomes Afghan government’s announcement of Eid holiday ceasefire

Rehn ready to sacrifice part of the real economy

Regional competitiveness and growth: a Gordian knot for Europe

Can the EU afford a trade war with China?

Joint U.S.-EU Statement following President Juncker’s visit to the White House

Trump’s America divides the world, bullies China and Europe

China Unlimited – The chinese tourism in Lisbon

Rights of ‘gilets jaunes’ protesters in France, ‘disproportionately curtailed’, say UN independent experts

Antitrust: Commission opens formal investigation into possible trade restrictions by Mondelēz

Facebook-Cambridge Analytica: MEPs demand action to protect citizens’ privacy

Protector or polluter? The impact of COVID-19 on the movement to end plastic waste

The EU Commission lets money market funds continue the unholy game of banks

Learning lessons from across Europe – the hidden costs of COVID-19 on lung cancer

China repels EU allegations of export subsidies

The world needs carbon-neutral flying. Here’s how to bring it one step closer

Bolivia crisis: UN chief sends envoy to support peace, amidst renewed clashes

Failing to agree climate action would ‘not only be immoral’ but ‘suicidal’, UN chief tells COP24

Agreement reached on new EU Solidarity Corps

New identity cards deliver recognition and protection for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

UN ‘prioritizing needs’, ramping up aid, as Hurricane Dorian continues to batter the Bahamas

How this one change can help people fight poverty

Haitian President at General Assembly calls for essential development aid as UN mission shifts away from peacekeeping

Preventing and resolving conflicts must form ‘backbone’ of collective efforts – UN chief

Financing economic recovery, written by United Nations Under-Secretary-General

Commission welcomes provisional agreement on the European Climate Law

UN Chief says ending poverty ‘a question of justice’ on International Day

Go early, go hard and keep it simple: how Senegal is staying ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s