• What is corruption?

    Corruption means abuse of a position of trust for private gain. This involves the conduct of both sides: that of the person who abuses their position of trust as well as that of the person who seeks to gain an undue advantage by this abuse. It manifests itself in a variety of ways but includes bribery, extortion, fraud, deception, collusion, cronyism, nepotism and embezzlement.

    Corruption can occur in relation to officials as well as between private persons. It is particularly prevalent in certain kinds of transactions (e.g. when awarding public contracts), in certain economic sectors (e.g. in extractive industries), and in certain countries (e.g. least developed). Corrupt practices can range from small favours in anticipation of a future advantage to the payment of large sums of money to senior members of government.

    The cost of corruption is four-fold: political, economic, social, and environmental:

    • Politically, corruption constitutes a major obstacle to democracy and the rule of law. Offices and institutions lose their legitimacy when they are misused for private advantage.
    • Economically, corruption leads to the depletion of national wealth. It hinders the development of fair market structures, distorts competition and deters investment.
    • Socially, the effect of corruption is the most damaging. It can undermine trust in the political system, in its institutions and leadership, and lead to a weak civil society. This clears the way for despots as well as democratically elected yet unscrupulous leaders to turn national assets into personal wealth. Demanding and paying bribes become the norm. Those unwilling to comply may emigrate, leaving the country drained of its most honest citizens.
    • Environmentally, the lack of, or non-enforcement of, environmental regulations and legislation allows pollution, over-exploitation of natural resources, and other environmental damage. http://transparency.am/corruption.php accessed 13.10.2011)

  • How important is this threat compared to others?

  • Why is it a threat to great apes?

  • Is corruption dangerous for all species in the same way?

Compiled and edited 2011 by Kay H. Farmer
Reviewed by Hjalmar Kuehl, Josephine Head and Neba Funwi-Gabga

  • References