Can a One World Economy Exist In a World of Corruption?
In this modern world economy; money, goods, services, transactions and agreements reach across country boundaries consistently and are ever increasing. What Western Cultures call corruption; exist in eastern countries in terms that recognize it as a part of the norm for social and political dealings. This paper is written to reflect the author’s view of how these differences between the different cultures must meld into acceptable formats for doing business.
Corruption comes in many forms from outright bribery to favoritism in awarding contracts to individuals or companies. I do agree that there are many different opinions between countries on acceptable forms of doing business. In the United States it is a violation of law to accept or offer bribes to public officials. In countries to the south and to the east it is common practice. The differences force corporate leaders to make choices to remain ethical or bend and make these bribes to gain favorable dealings with these foreign countries. (Myint, 2000)
In example, a news article recently discusses how in Kabul, Afghanistan, leaders are seeking four billion dollars in aid donations from international countries to fortify its police forces and military in preparation of departure of the occupied forces by the end of 2014. Much of this money will also help to rebuild schools, hospitals and other infrastructure. Unless these systems of government are improved it is said that the country could easily slip back into chaos and a civil war. Potential donors though, have requested that Afghans present a plan to guarantee that these funds will not fall into the hands of corrupt officials or to mismanagement. (Tokyo Conference Crucial to Future Afghan Aid, 2012)
Even though Afghanistan seeks to have elections and seek a democratic society there are many corrupt individuals that seek to profit from the potentially large sums of money that are expected to flow into a newly organized country. Due to the lack of government checks and balances within the new government, there is potential for officials to accept bribes or other incentives to award contracts to companies that self-serve the interest of the official. This has in part been part of the history of this country and several of these eastern countries that view it as part of an acceptable means of doing business. What has been termed as economic rent by some of the references can represent millions of dollars to the officials in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan corruption will only change if the highest ranking officials make an effort to stop it from the top down. They will have to hold accountable some of its highest ranking officials and make example of them to show that it will not be tolerated. A change in the social norm that has long considered these corruptions as the currency of peace into the injustices that reduce the amount of money that actually reaches the desired programs. (Labelle, 2012)
Even though it is a necessity for countries to come under an acceptable standard of accepting relief efforts, it is the way Afghanistan has done business for generations. To ask them to change is asking them to change part of their culture. Do we really have a right to ask them to change? On the other hand, maybe we as a country could change to make it acceptable the acts of corruption. I personally think not, it is hard enough for our congressional leaders to stay ethically sound. Every day it seems that our own leaders are accused of some wrong doing. Why should we call it "just the way things are in the world", enabling our leadership to engage more and more. We are enabling them by not condemning them.
Even though we now are said to exist in a One World Economy, I think we are still culturally, very different. It will take a world wide effort to eliminate corruption. Most likely I will not see it in my lifetime, but maybe my children or their children will see it. I think we all share the earth, and by only sharing the wealth of the world among those in need will we ever reach a true One World Economy.
- Billions Down the Afghan Hole - NYTimes.com
Corruption in Afghanistan is nothing new, but it is worsening. Donors and the Afghan government need a comprehensive, believable and enforceable plan to tackle the issue. They don't need more words.
Additional Reading-Global Peace and Humanity
- The Costs of Political Corruption in America: A Discussion with Stanford's Bruce Owen
Hudson Institute's Center for the Economics of the Internet hosted a discussion on the costs of political corruption in America with Bruce Owen.