Teddy Winn’s article Everyday corruption: A Way of Life in PNG (Devpolicy Blog, Nov 23; The National, Nov 24 – Pg57) reminds me of Nobel Literature Laureate VS Naipaul describing India as a place where every office from top to bottom had its price.
That might have been in his book An Area of Darkness.
It is a recurring theme in Indian Bollywood films depicting an intractable reality in Indian society.
But this problem of pervasive corruption is not unique to a third world developing country like PNG or India or Fiji.
In Fiji, a recently released corruption perception report by Transparency International found 68 per cent of the people believed corruption in government was “a big problem”.
There are higher levels of corruption in first world democracies notwithstanding the checks and balances, transparency and accountability in their government system.
It’s just that the corruption in the latter is so much more subtle and sophisticated and not as apparent as the types of corruption we see in places like Papua New Guinea.
The kind of money that changes hands in corrupt, crooked dealings in Australia, for example, would make PNG corruption look like small fry.
One very important distinction, however, is that when corruption is uncovered or exposed in a first world democracy, it is NOT swept under the carpet.
The corrupt can’t get away because they are well connected to the mob in power.
They have to face the consequence of their corrupt behaviour.
The same can’t often be said in a third world country setting.