"Corruption is a live topic today. Since 2005, international anti-corruption day has been “celebrated” on December 9, in hopes that a visible day marking the topic can raise awareness about corruption and bolster a sense that something can be done to combat and prevent it. The large biannual International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC17) in Panama City ended on December 4, where some 1300 very diverse participants addressed a multitude of issues, from green eyeshade detail, lawyerly discourse, to lofty principles such as trust. The meeting concluded with a commitment that: “Together we will strengthen our web of anti-corruption activists. Together, the public sector, business and civil society will hold the corrupt to account. It is Time for Justice, Equity, Security, and Trust.” The activists, many part of Transparency International, come from all over the world, widely different in ideology and approach, but they share a gutsy determination to hold leaders to account. More tellingly, corruption is a leading topic in political discourse, from Washington to Manila to Kabul to Nairobi to Abuja. The belief that corruption is pervasive drives much of the anger that we see reflected in extremist movements, secular and religious. It fuels the populist surge and the sense of rot that discredits governments and politicians in widely different countries and cultures. America’s political campaign featured narratives about a Washington swamp with bloated, rotten bureaucracies wasting or diverting public resources. The narratives can be misleading, undermining courageous political leaders and public servants, but many see little beyond stories about corrupt practices... The next International Anti-Corruption Conference will be in Denmark in 2018. It’s time to mix the oil and water. Fighting corruption is about more than exhortation: declaiming against those who steal and fail to honor their public responsibilities. Anti-corruption strategies and practices can work. But only when the passion of activists and moral leaders comes together with different parts of society, religious institutions included, to translate anger and a desire for good governance into reality. The fight against corruption, for decent governance and strong public service depends on public morality and a common commitment to ethical standards and priorities. Draining the swamp depends on linking the best of religious and civic teachings to the realities of political leadership and governance. That’s what it will take to achieve “Justice, Equity, Security, and Trust”."
Friday, December 9, 2016
Ethics in the swamp: the rot of corruption; Huffington Post, 12/9/16
Katherine Marshall, Huffington Post; Ethics in the swamp: the rot of corruption: