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Corruption & politics / The Rules of the Economics

Anno XXXI, n. 137, novembre-dicembre 1996
Centro Einaudi


Testo disponibile solo in lingua inglese.
It is wrong to classify one type of conduct or another as corrupt in "legalistic" terms: after all, an unjust law may be a cause for corruption. Corruption is rooted in lack of freedom, that is in monopolistic authority and regulation of the state. Every time a government allocates rights discretionally and modifies them irrespective of the democratic nature of the means deployed, corruption is fostered. Furthermore, wherever there is no property right, there are no incentives to control corruption. Although, in the final analysis, corruption descends from an absence of moral virtue, institutions do play a key role. The subsidiarity principle is crucial, if the state's role is defined with a negative connotation; if that is, it is entrusted only with the activities which the private sector cannot and will not perform. If the good safeguarded is the autonomy of individuals and organisations, the result is a social order founded on freedom which, in turn, is one of the most efficient, morally acceptable means for fighting corruption.