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Corruption and ethics--what's the difference? This presentation explores the similarities and differences between corruption and ethics.

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  1. 1. Donald C. Menzel President Ethics Management International & Professor Emeritus Public Administration Northern Illinois University
  2. 2. Session Objective  To have a conversation about a very, very important subject so that  We can make some meaningful distinctions between unethical behavior and corrupt behavior.  Let’s begin with some observations about ethics, law, morality, and corruption.
  3. 3. Ethics  Everybody knows something about ethics, is it not so?  Life is an ethical journey of sorts.  A Question I often ask: Is there anyone who has not, never, never ever, lied, stolen, or cheated? Please raise your hand!  It’s the human condition, is it not?
  5. 5. Ethics  Morality in action.  Ethics are internal rules that guide one to follow or not to follow external rules.  Values and principles that guide right and wrong behavior.
  6. 6. Three Components  Values and principles  Right/wrong  Behavior
  7. 7. Values and Principles  Values are things we attach worth to.  A value can be an idea, object, practice, or most anything else to which worth is attached. Of course, ethics does not encompass all values. Consider money or status as a value. Most people attach worth to money and status, but we do not call them values that are essential to a definition of ethics.  Principles are guides to action—Golden Rule or treat people with respect.
  8. 8. Behavior  Ethics is not a spectator sport; it is a contact sport!  Jimmy Carter in 1976
  9. 9. Right and Wrong  The final perhaps most important component in defining ethics is “right and wrong” behavior. In years past right and wrong was typically the province of custom, tradition, and religion. Indeed, one essential reason why ethics has become increasingly important in the modern age is the waning influence of custom, tradition, and religion. Right and wrong are now firmly woven into the fabric of professional occupations and individual choice. Thus right and wrong can be viewed as residing within the individual (some would even contend it is innate) or outside his or her being such as prescribed by codes of ethics or law.
  10. 10. are values and principles that guide right and wrong behavior.
  11. 11. Corruption Defined  Something spoiled, defective, debased, tainted, impure  Behavior which deviates from the formal duties of a public role because of private-regarding pecuniary or status gains  Intentional deviation for personal gain.  To profit personally from public office.
  12. 12. “what is corruption?”
  13. 13. Bribery and graft While bribery includes an intent to influence or be influenced by another for personal gain, which is often difficult to prove, graft only requires that the official gains something of value, not part of his official pay, when doing his work. Large "gifts" qualify as graft, and most countries have laws against it. (For example, any gift over $200 value made to the President of the United States is considered to be a gift to the Office of the Presidency and not to the President himself. The outgoing President must buy it if he or she wants to keep it.) Another example of graft is a politician using his knowledge of zoning to purchase land which he knows is planned for development, before this is publicly known, and then selling it at a significant profit. This is comparable to insider trading in business.
  14. 14. Other Forms of Corruption  Forgery  Embezzlement  misuse of public funds  Cronyism--patronage  Non-performance of duties  Influence peddling
  15. 15. Other Forms of Corruption  Cover-ups  Perjury  Abuse of power  Manipulation of regulations  Vote buying and election rigging  Acceptance of improper gifts
  16. 16. “where does corruption flourish?” The most corrupt and patronage ridden governments seem to be at the local level in many countries, including developed countries such as the United States and Germany. Why?
  17. 17. The close cooperation between public authorities and private interests limits partisan politics and the oversight it provides.
  18. 18. “Discretion Increases corrupt incentives.” “what is the relationship between discretion and corruption?”
  19. 19. “Do different cultures breed different levels and types of corruption?”
  20. 20. “Subtle differences in culture and basic values exist across the world. But there is one human motivator that is both universal and central to explaining the divergent experiences of different countries. That motivator is self-interest, including interest in the well-being of one’s family and peer group. Critics call it greed. . . .Endemic corruption suggests a pervasive failure to tap self-interest for productive purposes.” – Susan Rose-Ackerman, Corruption and Government: Causes, Consequences, and Reform, 1999
  21. 21. Discussion Questions  Is it corrupt for officials to profit personally from public office?  What does it mean to reap personal gain when serving in a public office?  What about gifts? Should public officials practice a “zero gifting” policy? Why? Or why not?
  22. 22. Thomas Jefferson  When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself a public property.
  23. 23. Donald C. Menzel President Ethics Management International & Professor Emeritus Public Administration Northern Illinois University