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Corruption’s Impact

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“Governmental corruption has large corrosive effects on civil society.” ~ Sean Richey Professor of Political Science

The effect s of corruption on our community

Corruption has a much larger and lasting impact on the community than it has on the person or persons involved. The impact on those individuals is financial, professional, legal and reputation. The effects of corruption on a community reverberate through all layers of the community. The most obvious is its impact on politics followed by both the economy and social attitudes.

Politically, corruption impacts the integrity of governmental institutions by: damaging the government’s reputation, fomenting cynicism, and fomenting apathy in the people who we need to participate in the political process and root out the corruption.

With further apathy, the political process deteriorates as the voters become motivated only to participate in moments of political turmoil– simply to participate long enough to vote the involved political party out of office. As a result, the normal “hum drum” of politics and governance pale in the face of the intrigue brought about through the corrupt act(s) leaving people less emotionally motivated to act in times of normalcy.

Economically, businesses can become leery of a government and reticent to work with government officials and processes due to concern for potential delays due to distractions related to the accusations of corruption to as much as being “monetarily molested”.  This results in less economic growth, no growth in the tax base and potentially reducing the size of the tax base. This leaves less people and businesses to absorb the burden of rising costs thus driving up taxes. When corruption is significant enough, it can drive up the cost of governance and thus taxes.

The biggest affront socially is the break in trust. The election process is about vetting your elected officials. Voters are told by candidates that they are honest people with integrity. Voters vote their conscience, make choices based upon their “gut” , attempt to be informed and are firm in their belief about what their successful candidate has explained about themselves. It is at this point an elected official becomes a custodian of the trust that they endeared from the voters.  Corruption is therefore taken personally. It is emotionally and intellectually an affront to all those who participated in the electoral process.

Sean Richey, an assistant professor of political science at Georgia State University did a study that indicates corruption promotes a general distrust of not only politicians but the trustworthiness of the general citizenry. Trust is the mortar that holds a community together. It is pitiful to contemplate a community that lacks trust in their local shop owners and fellow residents.

In summary, corruption does not have a short term impact. To the contrary, it  has a long term impact on the affected community.


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September 2012
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