Are Leaders or Followers to Blame for Corruption?

Are Leaders or Followers to Blame for Corruption?

Grimot Nane

Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Studies
Corruption is unsatisfactorily defined as the “misuse of public office for private gain” because it suggests corruption only happens in the public sector [1]. But the definition also indicates that the power of [high] public office is the starting point for corruption. Corruption is characteristically a top-down not bottom-up phenomenon.
We often read and hear some people say “Corruption in a nation is the problem of followers” or “every nation deserves the leadership it gets”. Such statements demonstrate an incomplete or unfair understanding of corruption and maybe ‘power’- supporting sophistry. How can lawmakers, law interpreters and law executors, the legislators, judges and presidents, respectively, of a nation and their clients be exempt from the blame or be the least culpable for corruption?

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A Response to “Botswana: An African Model for Progress and Prosperity”

Botswana, a prosperous African nation (population: 2 million), where I worked a long time ago fits very well with one of Mancur Olson’s most explicit thoughts on the conditions of economic growth and prosperity of a nation. i.e. (a) having a small population and (b) that population being homogeneous. It is a development on Olson’s Logic Collective Action in which the smaller the group (numerically) and the more they have compatible shared interests (shared incentives) which should minimise or eliminate free-riding (getting something for nothing), the better the economy will perform. Multi-ethnic societies like Nigeria (250 ethnic groups at least in 6 distinct geopolitical zones) with a large population (at least 160 million) can never emulate Botswana, according to Olson’s logic and I agree. However, there are alternative views on the subject of economic development and growth. Take a look at China and Indonesia.
Grimot Nane