Globalization of Corruption: An Introduction

(international cheating, defrauding, and dishonesty and their detriments to human progress)

International Concerns about Corruption

The classic definition, followed by the World Bank and Transparency International, views corruption as the use of one's public position for illegitimate private gains.

Abuse of power and personal gain; however, can occur in both the public and private domains and often in collusion with individuals from both sectors.

Information International in Lebanon, therefore, adopted the following definition: "Corruption is the behavior of private individuals or public officials who deviate from set responsibilities and use their position of power in order to serve private ends and secure private gains." (Lebanon Anti-Corruption Initiative Report, 1999).

The UN's Global Program against Corruption (GPAC) defines corruption as the "abuse of power for private gain" and includes both the public and private sectors.

Although perceived differently from country to country, corruption tends to include the following behaviors:

  1. conflict of interest
  2. embezzlement
  3. fraud
  4. bribery
  5. political corruption
  6. nepotism
  7. extortion

Variations of Corruption

One measure of the extent of corruption in a particular country is Transparency International's annual Bribe Payers and Corruption Perception Index

Why corruption develops varies from one country to the next. Among the contributing factors are faulty government and development policies; programs that are poorly conceived and managed; failing institutions; inadequate checks and balances; an undeveloped civil society; a weak (corrupt) criminal justice system; inadequate civil servants' remuneration; and a lack of accountability and transparency.

In most cases; however, these are symptoms rather than causes of corruption. In any case, we consider them as correlations of corruption since corruption is likely to occur when any of these conditions exist, but it is not always necessary that there will be corruption where any of them is found.

A serious obstruction to the success of any anti-corruption strategy is a corrupt judiciary.

A corrupt judiciary means that the legal and institutional mechanism designed to curb corruption; however, well-targeted, efficient or honest, remains crippled. Unfortunately mounting evidence is steadily surfacing of widespread judicial corruption in many parts of the world.

Insufficient attention has been given to the integrity of the judiciary and the broader criminal justice system.


—An excerpt, or clip, of a document from the
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime