Dimitris Rapidis

The index on state sector corruption, published by anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) on Wednesday, placed Greece on the last position between the 27 member-states of the European Union and in the 80th globally. But is this something not expected? Some thoughts over this multi-faceted and structural problem.

It has been over 50 years that corruption in Greece was officialy brought into public discourse. Corruption comes and stems from any possible transaction or service in the public sector and as there are no efficient measures to combat it, Greece will continue falling down in European and global indexes.

But this is something nobody should get puzzled with. After so many years, after so many legislations, after so many endeavors to combat this phenomenon, it is finally apparent that there is no solution through neither the previous nor the current measures. Governments and citizens should stop pondering and deliberating on how to control corruption, but start initiating ad inventing other means of dealing with it.

To deal with corruption one should first make the following question:

Why do we have such an extensive corruption?

If somebody could approach this structural, but also cultural problem, it will start pondering over possible solutions. In every nation, every state in the world, corruption is linked with the three following facts:

1. corruption comes from deficiencies in the function and the services of bureaucracy.

2. corruption comes when the state cannot provide a solid welfare system which functions in favor of every single citizen, without discrimination.

3. corruption is, many times, a critical component of human behavior regardless of race, colour, age, or education.

If we take 1 and 2, we come to answering why welfare states, such as the Scandinavian ones or Canada, demonstrate low rates of corruption. In these cases the state functions more in favor of the citizen by providing solid healthcare, insurance, social solidarity and education regulations, eliminating therefore the need to overcome state function and behave illegally.

In addition to that, the more clear the limits, borders, and responsibilities of bureacracy, the less necessary the human tendency to abstain from legality. Corruption is inherited in public transactions, tax obligations, and patronage in states where lawfulness is frequently questioned. As far as a state cannot guarantee lawfulness and equal opportunities for all, corruption will continue increase and get established even in the deepest spheres of social and economic life.

If we now take the third (3) fact, it is proved by behavioral sciences’ axioms that corruption is a feature innerly inherited in human nature. But this axiom depends from the level of lawfulness in a society and cannot be justified in an horizontal basis. Observation shows that states will less corruption present higher levels of social welfareness and economic prosperity, whereas growing corruption is observed in states with weak or absent welfareness and growth (e.g Africa; authoriotarian states).

Greece has traditionally been a state with “neither this nor the other“. A state and a public function that move between lawfulness and discrepancy. A democratic state with soft democratic imperatives. And all these combined with a deep and extensive network of political patronage that starts from the electoral region of the micro-world, continues up to the higher cliffs of hierarchy of the mezzo-world, and ends up to a wide and silent admission of the self-anomy of the individual and the community afterwards.

After all, it is at least pretending for Greeks to feel ashamed of or astonished with corruption rate in Greece. It was the case and it still be.

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