Why corruption matters

It hurts everyone

  • It erodes trust and confidence

  • It undermines the integrity of institutions/government

  • It wastes resources - financial and otherwise

  • It leads to the loss of and minimizes the quality of goods and services

  • It damages honest people and businesses

  • It prevents sustainable development and good governance

  • It contributes to injustice

  • It perpetuates inequality that is damaging to society

  • It decreases living standards for everyone

  • It creates cultures of fear and silence

  • It limits collective and individual growth and well-being

  • It delegitimizes democracy and the rule of law


Corruption is particularly damaging during a pandemic/crisis

  • Crises create vacuums and enhance the potential & opportunities for exploitation

  • In a crisis, corruption costs lives

  • We shouldn’t have to choose between lives and livelihood

  • We can’t be sure that non-corrupt people will be making life and death decisions

  • Specific information is lacking right now - creating opportunities for misconduct


Therefore, we focus on corruption because we must have social solidarity to make it through a global pandemic - without social solidarity we are fucked - and we can’t have social solidarity if we can’t trust our leaders, our decision-makers, our institutions, our neighbors to not be corrupt. Corruption is not a bi-product of the hard working, law-abiding masses, but usually the failure of institutions/structures under the authority of corrupted or corruptible leaders. 

What causes corruption?

  • Cultures of loyalty/duty

  • Cultures of secrecy/confidentiality

  • Habits/customs/traditions

  • Greed/lack of ethics and morality

  • Lack of transparency

  • Lack of oversight and accountability 

  • Monopolization of market and political power (lack of genuine political freedom and choice

  • Low levels of civil/civic engagement 

  • Low levels of media freedom/state sponsored propaganda/mis-information/lack of education

  • Too much bureaucracy (lack of clarity on who is the authority and who is to be held accountable) 

What is corruption? How do we know it when we see it?

  • Theft, graft, fraud and embezzlement – the various ways in which resources are reallocated to maximize personal/political position

  • Bribery – offering an unearned reward in exchange for some sort of personal benefit; kickbacks

  • Extortion – the use of blackmail or a protection racket to force a particular outcome

  • Nepotism – providing positions to family members who exhibit no qualifications for such position

  • Cronyism – appointing/hiring friends and associates for personal reasons without regard for qualifications

  • Patronage – similar to cronyism, but more likely to benefit particular groups rather than individuals

  • Retaliation – punishment for violating and exposing corrupt “rules and expectations”

  • Manipulation – using false or misleading tactics to influence particular behaviors or outcomes

  • All with the intention of benefiting off of the exploitation of people/public & private resources

  •  Has macro & micro economic indicators 

What can be done about corruption?

  • Awareness/socialization/integrity

  • Anti-corruption laws/closing loopholes

  • Exposure/transparency

  • End impunity/enhance accountability

  • Good leadership/governance

  • Empower citizens via channels for monitoring and reporting

  • Protecting whistleblowers

  • Supporting fact checkers

  • Oversight mechanisms/requirements

  • Increase in civil & civic engagement


Episode 1:


AMPLIFY  |  The Voice of The Third Space

331 W. Boyd  |  Norman, Oklahoma