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Corruption Antidote: Political Will and Renewed Social Justice

Johanna Martinsson's picture

A reader's comment to the blog post, "If Only Corruption Could Be Defeated with Pocket-Less Trousers":

If we are looking to understand how to change the social norms related to corruption, I think that we should give the Nepalese and Kazak governments credit for developing initiatives that force individuals to think more about their actions.  These anti-corruption initiatives demonstrate that the governments of Nepal and Kazakhstan are committing political will to change the societal perceptions of and acceptance of corruption.  Imposing a change in behavior can be seen as a first step to changing norms (smoking bans is an example).

But there is another interpretation of why individuals engage in petty corruption that may not necessarily be related to socially accepted norms of behavior, but rather more to their socioeconomic well-being.  If a person does not have enough income/resources to meet their (and their family's) needs, and if this person lives in an area where the inequalities between rich and poor are stark, manipulating the system could be seen as a means of  survival and betterment. Perhaps ensuring that people have adequate food, shelter, health care, education, and a sense of empowerment would go a long way in decreasing the prevalence of (petty) corruption.


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