Corruption is an illegal practice that affects public and private sectors of all the nations; it has been defined as one of the most important obstacles to democracy and to the sustainable economic growth in a country. The word corruption comes from the Latin corruptio, that means alteration or seduction; but also of corrupte, that means in vicious form. According to the Transparency International Organisation (TI) corruption is “the bad use of the power entrusted to obtain private benefits”. This includes not only a financial profit but also not financial advantages, for example, favouritism. Moreover, The Convention of United Nations, against Corruption in force from 2005 and considered as the first global juridical instrument against corruption, chooses a descriptive approach that includes diverse forms of corruption and admits the possibility that others forms could arise.
In Argentina the corruption is present in all the aspect of the society. Firstly, corruption is present in each one of three powers of the State (executive, legislative and judicial). Secondly, it is also a social problem, since the cases of corruption detected in the Public administration, generally, are associated with individuals intervention that benefit with this type of manoeuvres, like bribes, increases in price, fictitious business, embezzlement, departments, bribery, etc. In addition, corruption is present in the daily life of Argentineans citizens; bribery is a usual practice to avoid a traffic penalty or get medical preferences. Concluding, highest levels of corruption represent a serious problem for a country and therefore the issue of this essay will be try to find solutions that can solve or at least reduce the corruption in Argentine, to reach this purpose it will be necessary to start by understand properly how big this problem is.| | As corruption is an illegal practice which is carry out in secret it would be difficult to measure how important the problem is in the real life, however, the analysis will be based on recent studies of the organization Transparency International (TI). This non-governmental organization monitors and publicizes corporate and political corruption
policies in international development. The work done by this organization includes the Global Corruption Barometer and Perceptions Index Corruption. On the one hand, The Global Corruption Barometer is a public opinion survey conducted in 86 countries. Some results produced by this study are, for example, the scores of different institutions: ranging from 1 (not corrupt) to 5 (very corrupt), the “political parties” and “parliament” received 4.6 points in both cases, the “police” and the “legal system” received respectively 4.4 and 4.3, the “customs” received 4.2. In this consultation, which includes fifteen institutions, the lowest score it received NGOs with 2.9 points, i.e. a score that continues to be high. In an assessment of the severity of certain national problems in a range from 1 (no effect at all) to 4 (severe problem), the “political corruption” received 3.8 points, the same score as the items’ uncertainty / crime / violence / terrorism “,” unemployment “and” poverty “. Another point is the degree in which corruption affects different spheres of social life: according to interviewees, ranging from 1 (not at all) to 4 (a great deal), the scores were 3.5 for the “political life” 3.2 for” business world” and 2.6 for” family life “.
On the other hand, the Index of Perception of Corruption is the most commonly used measure for corruption in countries worldwide. It reflects the views of business people and analysts from around the world, including local experts in the countries evaluated Study on Perceptions Index Corruption (CPI) is based in 176 countries. The evaluation is done on a scale of 0 (countries with high levels of corruption) to 100 (transparency index). In 2012 Argentina falls two places compared to 2011: 100 to 102 and the country received 35 points of 100 which means an alarming level of corruption. The precedent two study shows that Argentina is one of the most corrupts countries in the Latin America with higher levels of corruption than the other countries in the same region, therefore the next step will be to study the factors which can explain this situation and which can be useful to lead us to solutions, A set of economic, cultural and political factors influence the level of corruption in a Nation.
Firstly, the level of development and education of the society are factors inversely proportional to the level of corruption in the nation. We considered as level of development the manner in which citizens have the necessary tools to demand transparency to the government. Meanwhile, education, the principal mean of fighting corruption, provides universal values and a more information to the society to demand greater accountability. Subsequently, the research explains that political factors also influence the level of corruption, since the data show that countries with more politic plurality often have lower levels of corruption. This is because citizens can have the opportunity to choose the best candidate; in countries with strong democratic institution have the tools to demand transparency from politicians.
Finally, the two most significant variables of corruption are the inequality levels and the economic openness or economic freedom in a country. Both are considered a cause and consequence of corruption. Unequal distribution of wealth tends to encourage corrupt societies and corruption tends to be higher in countries where the most powerful are so different and so far from regular people that they enjoy all kind of privileges that in turn, by their behavior and example, encourage the people below their level, to use power in the same way.
Keeping in mind these factors we can justify the high levels of corruption in the country. In the field of education the PISA, a report relating to the quality of education in the world shows that in 10 years, the quality of education in Argentina fell from 418 to 398 points, while the rest of the countries in the region rose from 16 to 40 points. Furthermore, scandals in the administrative institutions of the country can show that the public institutions as well as controlling institutions are corrupt and they have lowest levels of transparency and reliability in their functions. Finally, the distribution of wealth and incomes in Argentina improved from the first quarter of 2010 to the same period in 2011, the country reduced the income ratio between the poorest and richest homes of the population. But nevertheless much of the country income is still concentrated in the hands of powerful politics groups or unions who practice the corruption.
The factors that can explain the corruption in Argentine lead us to the study of the impact of this phenomenon; actually, corruption has negative impacts on three important aspects of a Nation; politic, economy and society. Firstly, in a political field, corruption causes inefficient in the Argentinian government and of the control institutions of a country, particularly affecting the defense of national interest against internal and external threads. Corruption negatively affects national development and the efficiency of public investment in productive activities. Moreover, the government loses credibility and reduces the effectiveness of the public policies. Secondly, in an economic field, economic experts from around the world agree that corruption from, bribery and extortion to nepotism can have devastating effects on the economies going through a difficult situation. Therefore, corrupt practices emptied economic resources and free trade and ruin the investors. The World Bank estimates that corruption can reduce the growth rate of a country between 0.5 and 1 percentage points per year. According to IMF research, investment in corrupt countries is almost 5% lower than in countries relatively free of corruption.
Finally, has also a social impact; corruption not only encourages the violation of laws and regulations but also it compounds the inequity in the distribution of income and wealth. Corruption in a society increases illegally the entering in a state bureaucracy and reduces the efficiency of public services. All these factors erode the civilian moral and genuine capability of creating wealth. Consequently, Argentina is a state in which the people are condemned to live a daily corruption and corruption has incorporated as a lifestyle. A work becomes crucial is seeking change; the following paragraphs will have the purpose to the search solutions to this situation. One could ask if the problem comes from the lack of anti-corruption dispositions that in the case could fast and effective regulate the situation and impose more transparency in the country. Unfortunately, this is not the good answer to the issue; in fact, today there is a large and well-developed international legal system anti-corruption, Argentina is member of numerous of these conventions; for example, we can mention the inter-American convention against corruption and the United Nation Convention Against-corruption.
Likewise, Argentina sanctioned corruption in its Constitution and has special organism responsible of the controlling of corruption in the country called the Anti-corruption Office created en 1999. The Inter-America convention anti-corruption assumes binding commitments not only from a political point of view but also from a legal point of view, to address corruption. The convention responds to a holistic concept of the fight against corruption: Its two main purposes are in the one hand to promote and strengthen the development by each one of the States Parties of mechanisms needed to prevent punish and eradicate corruption and in the other hand, to promote, facilitate and regulate cooperation among States Parties to ensure the effectiveness of measures and actions to prevent, detect, punish and eradicate corruption in the performance of public functions and in the acts of corruption specifically related to such performance. Moreover, a couple of years later in the other side Argentina become party of other convention “The United Nations Convention against Corruption” (UNCAC). This convention commits signatory countries to change their legal frameworks, in search for mechanisms and tools to prevent and punish corruption.
Additionally, it becomes a need for Member States to cooperate allowing the establishment of effective mechanisms to combat corruption. Some of the measures in the convention tend to promote access to public information, promoting transparency around procurement and governance, the promotion of accounting and auditing standards in the private sector, as well as measures aimed at preventing money laundering. This convention criminalizes public sector corruption and corruption among private. It also encourages protection mechanisms and reporting of corruption and provides mechanisms for international cooperation among States Members. Finally Argentina has taken measures to implement the actual applicability of Conventions and new laws against corruption, creating for this purpose the Anticorruption Office (OA).
The Anti-Corruption Office prepares draft rules and makes recommendations on possible legislative reforms, to promote the improvement and efficiency of the formal system to prevent, investigate and punish acts of corruption. This entity also designed a mechanism (called procedure Participatory rulemaking) so that all stakeholders can participate in the development of certain regulatory projects. Concluding, the facts show that the problem doesn’t come from the lack of regulations or legislations in the subject but it comes from the ineffective application of them. As Argentina is a sovereign State, any other State can intervene in the issue and force Argentina the applied to the rules. The effective application of this convention must begin by the authorities in Argentina. Therefore, from the recommendations of these conventions and the analyses of the precedents paragraph of this essay, an action plan to reduce corruption throughout society Argentina can be propose. It is very important to stand out that in the development based on corruption, the crucial variable is education. The better educated the society is, the lower is tolerance to the phenomenon of corruption and, consequently, the degree decreases.
The first step to Argentine is to provide a good quality education, high quality education based in ethics and respect of others, of institutions and, of the law. The second step to solve corruption in a country where illegal practices are rooted in all aspects of the society is to change the public opinion, increase the interest of the population in corruption and the demand of specific policies that can change the system which produce corruption. Therefore, the goal will be to get in Argentina high quality governance which will reduce the level of corruption, a prerequisite for reducing corruption is selecting people considering their ability, wisdom and honesty. Moreover, the appointment of judges is a very interesting way as they are the guarantee of citizens before the power. Regarding the Public Administration the insufficient salaries cause waiver of legal practice and leads to corruption, an increasing of the salaries of public servants could ensure the fulfilment of their functions.
In a context of high corruption like Argentina, it becomes necessary to control the authority by making efficient and effective controls to lower the level of corruption. We have seen that the political organization of the underdeveloped countries is almost incompatible with effective and independent functioning of control systems. However the vote of the citizen is the first control, they are the persons who elect the president and members of Congress. We must reassess the vote; each person has to be aware of the importance of their participation in democracy. Another tool to control corruption is transparency; no one gives a bribe in public and an informed society is more democratic, because it is a society where power is more distributed, therefore, the channels that connect society with the officials are: • The media
• Official information
• Information given by staff and customers
The three forms are combined with each other and should be used by citizens to express their position and engage them to the change. We must ensure that candidates in elections are competing with each other to improve the quality of the state and the control of corruption. We can conclude that corruption today is a “disease” that invades and grows every day in the economies of most countries around the world. This has great impact both socially and economically, as it weakens the moral and ethical values in public and private sectors. Corruption is as an inevitable cost of money for a country as Argentina but also an important cause of social inequality.
It is for this reason that there is a need to improve our educative, political and judicial system to fight against this situation, we have to keep in mind that with higher levels of education, culture, access to media and to a fair justice system, the social sectors of our country will have the ability to defend themselves against corruption. Moreover, transparency is the best tool for the fight against corruption, is an extremely important value that can control and prevent corruption in the public service. In the other side, an anti-corruption legal system already exists and it provides us an effective way to fight against corruption, it becomes necessary to control the implementation of this system by Argentine, to make it effective. Finally, this work helps me to come to many conclusions and also it has guided me to a professional future as good moral and ethical values.
[ 1 ]. http://www.uca.edu.ar/uca/common/grupo3/vc/files/segunda%20parte/03-Terzano.pdf (2012) [ 2 ]. http://www.transparency.org/whoweare/organisation/faqs_on_corruption (2012) [ 3 ]. United Nations Convention against Corruption ( 2005)
[ 4 ]. http://www.clarin.com/opinion/Argentina-corrupcion-matando_0_672532819.html (2012) [ 5 ]. Global Corruption Barometer (International, www.transparencia.org.e, 2006) [ 6 ]. Corruption perception index 2012n (International, transparencia.org , 2012) [ 7 ]. Corruption in Latin America, an empiric overview http://elauditor.rocketweb.com.ar/files/4fc5e8e846f9b.pdf [ 8 ]. (OECD, PISA 2009 Database)