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Corruption by politicians is reported every day. Bribery crimes committed by public officials such as police officers and bureaucrats were also exposed this year alone. Perhaps it's a dangerous country that corruption is so frequent-this book, "Corruption," is a must read for anyone who feels that way. Corruption is translated as "corruption" or "corruption", but the former is used here in particular.

This book explains not only the mechanism by which corruption occurs, but also what it means to be "prominent in corruption." It is written based on the research of the authors who are economists and political scientists, and many of the events covered are facts revealed by econometric analysis. It also mentions the global "corruption cases" and clarifies the background behind their uncovering and resolution.

When it comes to corruption, only such aspects are conspicuous: "Someone gains financially and someone loses." However, it is clear from this book that corruption not only leads to deterioration of the working environment and destruction of the natural environment. In order to improve the sustainability of the entire planet and the quality of life of our lives, we need to continue to fight corruption.

The events presented in this book are by no means a fire on the opposite bank. This is a book that makes me want to make use of this lesson as one of the citizens living in a certain area for a society with hope.

Main points of this book

Point 1

Corruption is "equilibrium." Looking at the country or region as a whole, we can see that there is no corruption at all, or everyone is involved in corruption.

Point 2

Corruption does not occur due to specific poverty levels, political systems, cultural characteristics, etc., but is associated with each other in a complex manner. On the other hand, it can be said that "there is corruption and we are in a specific situation."

Point 3

It is a difficult task to completely eliminate corruption. But it can continue to improve with the efforts of the public.

Define corruption

The "equilibrium" of corruption

More than half of the world's population lives in countries where corruption is commonplace. The author defines corruption as "a thing that reduces economic efficiency, widens social inequality, and undermines the functioning of democracy." However, corruption is difficult to resolve because it does not directly harm everyone.

Corruption has been studied from various perspectives, but the author sees it from the perspective of "equilibrium" in economics. The more it deviates from norms and the expectations of others, the more "expensive" it is for individuals. As a result, there is either no corruption at all or everyone is involved in corruption. Even ordinary citizens, who usually seem unrelated to corruption, pay bribes like any other person so that they can enjoy the public services guaranteed by law. There is also a gap between authority and power here.

Corruption is based on social expectations, and how to change these expectations is the key to eliminating corruption.

How to perceive corruption as unjust

This book focuses specifically on corruption involving the public sector. Political Scientist James Scott's "Comparative Political Corruption" provides three criteria for determining whether an official's behavior is corruption. That is, (1) the standard of public interest, (2) the standard of public opinion, and (3) the standard of law. If they violate these three, they are clearly considered corruption. However, it is difficult to see the balance between them.

The criteria for whether it is illegal have disappeared internationally. But even legally, it can be considered corruption. In addition, behavior that seems inappropriate in the light of public opinion and the public interest is also considered corruption, which is often perceived differently in different regions. Moreover, such corruption is often not completely independent of the press and law enforcement agencies, and may not be revealed.

There are many possible types of corruption involving the public sector. Abuse of authority by officials involves unjustified influence that politicians pretend to be blind or actively encourage. Economic fraud in the private sector also usually has accomplice officials. In addition, some of the legally-guided profits to companies are based on extremely personal connections rather than the need for specialized knowledge.

The reward system is distorted, with the goal of promising loyalty to the party, rather than gratitude to voters in pursuit of legitimate value. And in order to achieve these corruptions, there are often fraudulent elections.

Does Corruption Occur Because You Are Poor?

Looking at Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index, for example, poor countries and countries with relatively low per capita GDP have higher levels of corruption. This is the same even when comparing each region within a country. In countries and regions where corruption is occurring, government resources are often not devoted to education and infrastructure, and outside investors are reluctant to invest in such situations. On the other hand, because they are poor, people in the public sector are illicitly tampered with to pay bribes to get the rights they should be able to enjoy and to compensate for low wages.

As countries and regions become wealthier, they will be able to pay for the cost of surveillance systems. However, as can be seen from the fact that even wealthy countries have not been able to eradicate corruption, it is not enough to introduce some kind of system for the anti-corruption movement, and it is essential to continue great efforts. Absent.

The fact that scandals have become more prominent does not necessarily mean that the area is corrupt. This is because it can be considered as a sign that the judiciary and the press are functioning properly.

Spread of corruption

It's not just about the economy

There was once an argument that "corruption promotes economic growth." Bribery is the "second best logic" of pushing people aside and putting people in good shape, because it is the government's hands that hinder the "invisible hand" of the market. But in reality, countries where corruption is common have been stagnant for decades.

Even in public works projects, safety management is neglected due to the network of government officials, and a huge amount of construction costs are transferred to internal reserves due to "cutting out", and the safety of buildings is impaired in the first place. Or A study published in Nature in 2011 found that 83% of people who died in earthquake-collapsed buildings in the last three decades were in "abnormally" corrupt countries.

From a broader perspective, economic disparity (more likely to squeeze bribes from the poor than the middle class), less confidence in the government (citizens are rather politicized when politicians are corrupt) Corruption has been shown to contribute to environmental destruction (in areas rich in natural resources, supervisors may try to make money by manipulating its protection rules).

Corruption may bring immediate benefits to some stakeholders. But for society as a whole, such benefits are blown away.

It leads to the Imozuru ceremony

Civil servants and politicians are the first to come to mind as the bearers of corruption. Civil servants often take bribes and take advantage of them to increase their income. There is a risk of arrest, of course, but most of the time, the agencies and other officials who monitor them are guru. The same is true for politicians, but in the case of politicians, there is a great deal of speculation that they will be able to obtain campaign funds. This is also done in countries with relatively good results in corruption rankings.

In this way, corruption in the economic flow is easy to understand, but of course it is not the only corruption. The nomination of officials by politicians is the best of all. Intentionally hire public officials who are in their favor, and actively work for politicians so that the hired officials do not lose their jobs. Corruption due to this interdependence is very difficult to unravel. Such a corruption hierarchy can also occur between politicians and businesses.

Most people are sick of corruption. Corruption is second only to crime in the 2014 Pew Research Center Global Attitude Survey, which was answered by people from 34 countries in five regions (Middle East, Asia, South America, Africa, Eastern Europe). It was a concern. However, this data is believed to be blind to bribes for services that citizens themselves have to pay for their lives (or lose if they don't). However, even such compulsory and threatening bribes, once paid, still make the person an accomplice in the corruption system.

Dye in a culture of corruption

Corruption is closely related to the values ​​and norms of the country or region. Let us call the norms and values ​​that establish and strengthen bribery-like corruption the "culture of corruption." In order for bribes to become addictive, it is necessary to recognize the mutual benefits of bribes without any discrepancy. People can't easily change their ingrained values ​​and behaviors, just as they can't easily change their diet and greetings. But when it comes to corruption, it seems that is not the case. Going from a country with a low level of corruption to a country with a high level of corruption tends to make people think that it is justified to deal with corruption in that area.

It is generally said that areas with a strong gift-giving culture (mostly in Asia) have less corruption. However, due to the influence of religion and ethnicity, it can be seen that various cultural backgrounds are intricately intertwined in corruption.

[Must read point!] Can corruption be eliminated?

Democracy is not a panacea

Many countries have tried to solve poverty and corruption by improving various political systems centered on democracies. However, corruption, the political system, and income affect each other, making a fundamental solution difficult.

One of the conditions for an election-based competitive democracy is the "change" rule. That is, "there was a change of government in the past under the same electoral system that put the current government in power." Even with the introduction of democracy, it will take a great deal of time for this to happen. However, it is known that countries where tyranny such as royal government and one-party dictatorship are common are not necessarily highly corrupt than countries that advocate democracy.

So what, if not a political issue, could solve corruption? Elections may seem effective at first glance, but in partisan competition, even anti-corruption politicians are forced to turn a blind eye to the corruption of low-ranking officials. This is because it is necessary to prevent turning over. There is also the dilemma that voters will be enriched, the robust middle class will be less dependent on them, and their interest in politics will diminish.

In addition, various small ideas have been considered, such as election district allocation, term restrictions, decentralization, and political fund regulation. However, it is not clear that "this way we can always reduce corruption." Bad politicians appear in any political system.

To prevent the re-election of bad politicians

Now that information is available on the Internet, the situation of not being able to obtain information about each politician is decreasing. However, voters' perceptions vary depending on the source. It is common to be skeptical of information from sources that are in opposition to a candidate.

So how should voters' attitudes be changed by information? The hint is "adjustment". Coordination here refers to "a specific behavior adopted by an individual based on knowledge and beliefs about the behavior chosen by others." People do not take action easily when they are in a state where "only oneself knows". However, when he feels that "people around him have the same information" (= "shared knowledge"), he immediately begins to take action. Both camps increased the number of votes in the latter case, when a debate was handed over to individual voters on a tablet for viewing, and when they were actually gathered at the debate.

Shared knowledge is also very important not only to change the voting behavior of citizens, but also to discipline the actually elected politicians. When everyone gathers to see the debate, the candidates try to win more votes, and even after winning, they try to act with the voters in mind.

To reform for citizens by citizens

Individuals with financial motives want to go to public office if they are paid higher than other similar professions. And try to make a profit by using all the means you have. Therefore, it is necessary not only to raise the salary of civil servants, but also to improve surveillance and control in a complementary manner. Above all, it is the movement of citizens that supports this trend and helps create an environment that is less prone to corruption.

Independent and free media has played an important role in deepening shared knowledge for citizens. In today's world of the Internet, social media technology allows us to build networks of shared knowledge faster than ever before. By doing so, there is a good chance that reform will be realized at once. What is important is the attitude of using these technologies to adapt the prevailing social beliefs to their environment and to shift the whole citizen in the right direction.

Shift social beliefs

Not only bottom-up but also top-down is extremely important to change the norm. Antanas Mockus, the mayor of Bogotá, Colombia-a self-proclaimed "anti-politician" -hires a theater student to dress as a pantomime and raises a "no good" card to the offender to bring discipline to the city of Bogotá. By letting them make fun of pedestrians ignoring the signal.

Mox focused on ignoring signals to convey that it was a noticeable offense and that change was taking place. It has very little social impact, so it is an ideal starting point for changing the spirit of legal compliance. We also handed out "No" cards to passers-by and introduced a "viewer participation" type mechanism. As a result, not only did pedestrians' signal compliance triple in weeks, but homicides also decreased by 70% in a few years.

Of course, pantomime alone was not the only way to achieve this feat. Mox is also taking measures such as dismissing 2,000 traffic police officers to wipe out the corruption culture prevailing in the police. According to Mox, the combination of "rules and cultural reforms" was important for the city to change. The important thing is to shift social beliefs about correct behavior.

Recommendation of reading

Every time a corruption case is reported, you may get the illusion that corruption is increasing in your country. But that may be evidence that government, judiciary, and media oversight functions are working. This book introduces many such cases, including failures. It shows a variety of perspectives on a single incident, and is the basis for thinking about how to apply it to your surroundings. It must give you a great hint when you look back at your "justice".