Corruption Essay

Corruption is an old age phenomenon! It simply means being dishonest and using trustworthy job roles/ positions for unlawful and personal gain. Corruption shows lack of integrity especially when it is related to bribery. There has been a great interest by the scholars and policy- oriented studies to the definition, origin and the costs of corruption since the 1960’s. Corruption has also been a focus in its own way, as it includes forms of lawlessness and maladministration like organised crimes and fraud. Corruption occurs in developed, but mainly in developing countries. According to , Finland is the least corrupted country where as Somalia and Myanmar are the most corrupted countries and are given a corruption rank off 149. The rankings also prove that most of the countries in the Southern hemisphere are the more corrupted than the ones in the Northern Hemisphere.
In order for countries to develop faster, Corruption should NOT take place and therefore it is NOT a Symptom for third world development! A Symptom in corruption terms can be defined as an indication that it is occurring. A symptom can be evidence.

Corruption can be seen as a positive factor. A group of students in the 1970’s saw a strong and straight link between modernisation processes and corruption and argued that it was not avoidable, and developed vigorously in countries at similar stages of development despite cultural differences. Bribes can also be regarded as a positive aspect as it can overcome the obstacles by inefficient bureaucracy. The students also argued that corruption helps in political development, by stimulating economic development. However there are certain conditions to enhance this. The players should invest efficiently; make maximum use of their skills and not loosing foreign aid.

I will compare the corruption in Kenya and the corruption in India. They are both third world countries. India is developing rapidly, but it is still classified as a third world country. Their life expectancy ranges from 60- 65 years and their GDP per capita is around $2000. The US has a life expectancy from 70-75 years and their GDP per capita is over $30,000. This shows that America is far ahead than India in terms of development. Another indication to show that they are a third world country is their extremely high infant mortality rate and the illiterate population between the ages of 15-49. Kenya is also a third world country. The starvation and the malnutrition in the country lead to diseases such as Malaria. HIV aids is also spreading widely in the country. Due to the poverty, the diseases are not being cured and are therefore are becoming widespread among the population. This process is like a never ending chain. Due to diseases and illnesses, children are not able to attend school and therefore they end up being illiterate and hence no jobs.

I think that corruption is NOT a symptom to third world development. Corruption is occurring in Kenya on a large scale. “Corruption … like an orgy … refuses to let go of the Kenyan society” (Kibwana, 1996). Kenya, like other African countries have been relying on the flow of money by the World Bank and its sister body, the International Monetary Fund. The World Bank donated a record $1 billion to the Kenyan government in order to assist them to boost their infrastructure. This money is being pocketed by the government officials and the various infrastructure sectors officials. A certain proportion of the subsidy was set to improve the condition of the roads. The World Bank donated with the condition that the roads are re surfaced using the latest technology and high quality goods and services. Instead of that happening, the government and other officials pocket almost quarter the amount for their personal use. This means that the roads are resurfaced using poor technology and cheap, low quality goods and services. A few months later potholes and cracks start forming on the roads which leads them back to step one. This shows that there was no improvement in the infrastructure. If in the first place the entire amount was used to re surface the roads, there would have not been any cracks or potholes to worry about and hence more time can be spent on other infrastructures rather than concentrate on the same road over and over again.

The Police in Kenya are also corrupt. They accept bribes from criminals for cases related to parking tickets, driving motor vehicles without having insurance, motorists speeding etc. Eight out of ten cases are accepted as bribes. This means the cases are not heard in courts and here the government loose out a source of legitimate revenue in terms of fines. The money is going into the pockets of the policeman instead of the government coffers. Bribery reduces the incentive for people not to break the laws. Similarly the Police officers in India are more corrupt than the Kenyan Police. Murder cases become deliberately lapsed and police officers caught tampering and destroying crucial evidence. Anti-corruption tactics such as increased salaries, and advanced training for the police officers has shown no noticeable improvement. “Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, has said that corruption is the single greatest threat to the nation’s economic prospects.” India has the second fastest growing economy in the world. I think that if corruption was tackled, India would overthrow China and would have the biggest economy. Being the biggest economy, would also reduce the poverty line. Being the biggest economy would mean there would be more production of goods and services. There would be more job opportunities. Therefore the poor don’t have to depend on foreign aid for their daily bread. This in turn will show signs of development of the country. More than 40% of the food grains and sugar donated to the poor disappear in the black market. This shows that the corruption in India literally snatches food away from the mouth of poor people. Another issue that is similar in Kenya and India is struggling to get electricity or telephone lines connected without greasing palms of the engineers and the company. In Kenya, having an electricity line connected, is an everyday occurrence. Hotels and other big firms are asked to pay their electricity bills twice or face being disconnected. Despite receipts are shown, that the bills have been paid, little notice is taken by the judiciary and the power companies. Cases like these also take two years to be solved. This shows that if hotels pay double their actual electricity bill, their profits will not be as high as expected and this means that they would not think about future investments like the expansions and modernisation etc. I think modernisation is an indication of development.

There are also differences in corruption in India and Kenya. In India corruption takes place on a bigger scale, but it is a little less blatant, a little more under the table. Indians are more “contented” with the level of corruption in their lives. For example the amount given for paying off a police officer is usually lower than the official fines for petty offences. On the other hand, in Kenya corruption is more over the table and people often riot when they are fed up of it.

Political leaders in India buy votes in order to stand in front of the public. Due to this type of political corruption, genuine leaders are not elected. These leaders may not be well educated and may not have a good knowledge in politics but still want to be leaders to enjoy the benefits of a politician for their illegitimate private gain. This will put an adverse affect on the economy as they can make wrong decisions. Although people argue that corruption cuts out costs by reducing the red tape, bribery can also force these political leaders to bring about new laws. “Corruption also generates economic distortions in the public sector by diverting public investment into capital projects where bribes and kickbacks are more plentiful.”

Corruption would definitely not help in developing a country. “Corruption in any institution impedes and distorts its objectives. However, corruption in the judiciary is particularly damaging for several reasons” (World Bank, 2000). Why do leaders like Barrack Obama and banks like World Bank want to tackle corruption? If there was precise indication that corruption is assisting in the development of third world countries, then they would not talk about the ways to combat corruption, they would have encouraged it. The World Bank also stopped supplying funds to Kenya in 2001 as they thought that the government is not doing enough to tackle corruption. This proves that corruption is not helping in the development of the country. If corruption was aiding development, it would be encouraged! Imagine how the poor in the rural areas of India and Kenya feel about corruption. Due to corrupt practices, they cannot have decent livelihoods, sufficient education and affordable healthcare. All of these factors account for development of a country. The Kenya anti-corruption commission and the all India anti commission bureau should take corruption on a much serious note if they want their countries to develop.

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