Corruption Critical Analysis

Corruption Critical Analysis

Kaplan University


Corruption Critical Analysis

Corruption is present in any country, both developed and blossoming; however, typically it is the developed countries that receive the most notoriety from media outlets and therefore some individual’s view corruption as a western concept and that is not applicable to traditional societies. In fact corruption is an issue in both the traditional societies as well as western societies the only thing that might differ is the corruption itself. In social structures where the country is reliant or dependent on the beneficial exchange of rewards for services rendered corruption can be as prevalent as corruption in a western society where the governing entity, such as the president for example, relies on the corruption of funds to remain in office or increase his or her public opinion. For an individual to state that the concept of corruption is not applicable to traditional societies is by all accounts false because the individuals that are in a position to utilize the beneficial exchange of rewards does not account for the individual’s whose survival is dependent on the presence of corruption, which is not representative of the social structure more that it is representative of survival or human interest.

Research indicates that corruption is more prevalent in underdeveloped or poor countries and these areas contribute to the faster growth of corruption (Myint, 2000). In this type of scenario some representatives of these countries are even expected to give gifts as seen in Samoa where politicians are expected to give gifts of sustenance to voters (Larmour, 2012). These actions although somewhat accepted in traditional societies constitute corruption, even if it has become an expected behavior. If an individual has the means to sway public opinion through means of money or life sustaining gifts than how is society to measure whether or not the individual is able to oblige the people in his or her civil responsibilities and furthermore how does this differ from the corruption that occurs in western societies? According to Steidlmeier (1999), a notable case that brought attention to business ethics during the nineteen seventies was the Lockhead payment scandal in Japan, which is also a testament to the issue of corruption in traditional societies and not just western societies. Corruption might not be as prevalent in traditional societies as it is in western societies; however, that should not be confused with the lack of existence, opportunity, or presence of such activity within these traditional societies.

In contrast, in western societies corruption tends to be highly publicized, which can mistakenly lead individuals to assume that corruption is a western ideology or concept when in fact corruption is present both in developed countries and traditional societies. Minogue (2013), states that we as human beings tend to be naturally selfish creatures. With that philosophy in mind it is easy to then come to the conclusion that in any country or any civilization run by people or in civilizations where people are a major component corruption will exist or has existed at some point. In western societies a governing official or political prospects election into office is not based on his or her literal ability or willingness to bestow gifts upon their voters. Governing officials and any individual who hopes to become a representative of the people voices his or her stance on specific issues and then implies what he or she will do about said issues, then individuals decide whom they will appoint based on their interests. In western societies any gift, especially one that stems can influence the majority or sway decisions in a way that benefits a high ranking official in politics or business, is one that will often be considered as unethical as well as be constituted as corruption (Government News, 2009). Again, this is not to be confused with a mere western concept more that it is a guideline put in place to limit corruption by limiting economic privilege.

Gift giving traditions could be used by unscrupulous officials as a way to take advantage of people in the name of tradition because it would be easy to blur the lines between tradition and expectation, which would ultimately lead to corruption. According to Professor Rose –Ackerman (cited by McChesney, 2001), in traditional societies where the public pay rates are low corruption is deemed a survival strategy, which allows for the individuals on the lower end of the financial totem pole to feel the negative affects of corruption while being dependent on it as well. According to Larmour (2012), in traditional societies gift giving is an essential tool for an individual to ask a socially superior individual for something; however, educated and socially superior tend to be aware that this practice is indicative of bribery. Clearly, in situations where the gifts might differ depending on the gift givers economic status it is easier for unethical officials to only consider the needs of the individuals who’s gift was beneficial to the receiver. In a traditional society where gift giving is an acceptable means of respect it is easy for a prominent figure to be persuaded by a more expensive gift, especially if they are in a position to influence, government, business, or have influence on the people. This opportunity for persuasion, while fully engrossed within tradition, presents a possibility for unscrupulous officials to abuse this tradition.

Any society, albeit western or traditional, that presents an opportunity for officials to manipulate a situation, be influenced by a gift, or influence the people with the promise of gifts is at risk for corruption. Corruption is present or has been present in many societies and is not just a western society concept. While the tradition of gift exchange and gift giving is not a common practice in western society, it is plausible and will present the same opportunity for corruption in a western society as it would in a traditional society. In a western society there are individuals who seek power, advantage, or esteem which is no different from the presence of individuals with the same goals in a traditional society. The actual act of corruption as well as the concept of corruption is not just a western ideology, it is a threat to civilizations that has no regard for geographic location or economic standing, and a threat that is present in every society where mankind exist.


Larmour, P. (2012). Interpreting Corruption: Culture and Politics in the Pacific Islands. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Retrieved from

McChesney, F. S. (2001). EVER THE TWAIN SHALL MEET. Michigan Law Review, 99(6), 1348. Retrieved from

Minogue, K. (2013). The self-interested society. New Criterion, 32(1), 4 Retrieved from

Myint, U. (2000, Dec.) Corruption: Causes, consequences and cures. Asia-Pacific Development Journal, 7(2) 33–58. Retrieved from

Scrap token gifts, corruption watchdog warns. (2009). Government News, 29(10), 6. Retrieved from

Steidlmeier, P. P. (1999). Gift Giving, Bribery and Corruption: Ethical Management of Business Relationships in China. Journal Of Business Ethics, 20(2), 121-132. Retrieved from

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