International Anti-Corruption Day Approaches

December 8th, 2009

As many of you know, tomorrow (Wednesday, December 9th, 2009) is International Anti-Corruption Day.  Among the days festivities, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development is sponsoring a roundtable on the fight against bribery and corruption, and Task Force member Transparency International is hosting a lecture with Lord Robertson of Port Ellen.  Both of the events should be fascinating if you get a chance to attend.

It’s also important to remember that on a day as symbolically important as tomorrow, we (in the developed world) have a tendency to think of corruption solely as a problem for public officials in the developing world.  Indeed, government corruption is not good, but Raymond Baker’s work has shown that only a small percent of the illicit financial flows from developing countries result from public corruption.  The vast majority of illicit financial flows are caused by private corruption – specifically trade mispricing by multinational corporations.  The problem is also facilitated by the opacity in the international financial system – a system that is dominated by Western financial institutions.

So this International Anti-Corruption Day be sure to reflect on both private and public corruption, without forgetting the enabling role of Western financial institutions in this systemic problem.

Written by Clark Gascoigne

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