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Corruption & politics / Institution and Morality

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


Testo disponibile solo in lingua inglese.
Corruption as a crime is a very imprecise notion, and defining it presupposes answering a number of complex questions of political philosophy. This is why this essay focuses attention not so much on specific profiles of everything we usually label as corruption as, above all, on 1) the institutional origins of practices labelled as corrupt; 2) the notion of civic culture and its origins. The first topic indicates that the causes of corrupt practices are to be sought not so much in the congenital evil of individuals devoid of the right public spirit as in the very nature of public duties and, specifically, in the bureaucratisation of contemporary society and the different types of public intervention on the market and civil society. The second topic is interesting in so far as it allows us to uncover the merely ideological functions of so-called civic culture and the place it occupies in classic liberal thinking.