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Why are some countries so much more corrupt than others?

Hi all,

It's quite odd that some countries are so much more corrupt than others, you could draw a line across Europe and the northern countries such as Germany, Scandinavia etc seem to be methodical and precise in their business (apart from the car air pollution fiasco). The southern countries, however, are notorious for their corruption - the Italian mafia and the joke of Berlusconi and his bunga parties, the Greek politicians stealing millions. I only need to say 'Albania' for people to immediately think of feral gangsters and crime. There certainly seems to be a north/south divide in Europe as far as corruption goes.

It doesn't stop there either, Russia takes corruption to a new height as it's openly encouraged by the state (I used to date a Russian girl and her father bribed a policeman after speeding). I'm less familiar with how things work in Asia/China.

Perhaps the most curious observation one can make is the Americas. South America has far more natural mineral wealth than the north and yet it consists of crackpot regimes and poor countries, whereas the north is an industrial powerhouse. I think this is due to the fact that south America inherited southern European corruption and government systems and the north inherited the British system and protestant work ethic.

Why are some countries corrupt and others not? In my mind it must be due to cultural and historical factors. What was it that turned the countries of southern Europe into nefarious criminal ghettos and Scandinavia into sophisticated and law abiding countries?
 

MoleBath

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
The Protestant work ethic, the Calvinist work ethic, or the Puritan work ethic is a work ethic concept in theology, sociology, economics and history which emphasizes that hard work, discipline, and frugality are a result of a person's subscription to the values espoused by the Protestant faith, particularly Calvinism.
 
Hi all,

It's quite odd that some countries are so much more corrupt than others, you could draw a line across Europe and the northern countries such as Germany, Scandinavia etc seem to be methodical and precise in their business (apart from the car air pollution fiasco). The southern countries, however, are notorious for their corruption - the Italian mafia and the joke of Berlusconi and his bunga parties, the Greek politicians stealing millions. I only need to say 'Albania' for people to immediately think of feral gangsters and crime. There certainly seems to be a north/south divide in Europe as far as corruption goes.

It doesn't stop there either, Russia takes corruption to a new height as it's openly encouraged by the state (I used to date a Russian girl and her father bribed a policeman after speeding). I'm less familiar with how things work in Asia/China.

Perhaps the most curious observation one can make is the Americas. South America has far more natural mineral wealth than the north and yet it consists of crackpot regimes and poor countries, whereas the north is an industrial powerhouse. I think this is due to the fact that south America inherited southern European corruption and government systems and the north inherited the British system and protestant work ethic.

Why are some countries corrupt and others not? In my mind it must be due to cultural and historical factors. What was it that turned the countries of southern Europe into nefarious criminal ghettos and Scandinavia into sophisticated and law abiding countries?

Every mofo one of them is corrupt...some are just better at hiding their crimes than others.

Nigerian conman?..Pah , try the 36 billion, yep 36 Billion squidly diddleys - scammed from the Westerners by smiley men in shiny suits under the PPI scam
 
The Protestant work ethic, the Calvinist work ethic, or the Puritan work ethic is a work ethic concept in theology, sociology, economics and history which emphasizes that hard work, discipline, and frugality are a result of a person's subscription to the values espoused by the Protestant faith, particularly Calvinism.
And with all the scientific validity of phrenology.
 
First problem is greed, its a trait of anything with a pulse, even a goldfish will eat itself to death if you feed it enough.

Second is energy conservation, again, a trait of anything with a pulse, always the easiest way to do something.

The only thing that stops us all being corrupt is morality which I imagine is not a natural trait but something we learn from parents, school, the church and experience.

The law is pretty useless, if you cannot see the lack of morality from stealing, a law is just something you need to be smarter than, or take a chance with.
 

Bob65

War Hero
The southern countries, however, are notorious for their corruption - the Italian mafia and the joke of Berlusconi and his bunga parties, the Greek politicians stealing millions

I think there are two different things going on here. Some countries have very strong social institutions, these are typically "high trust" countries, with a high proportion of the population recognising civic duty as a thing and respecting participating in it. England used to be such a country, as you say the Scandinavians still are (but for how much longer, they are subject to the same forces that dismantled it here). But the Mafia (and the Yakuza etc) are social institutions too and they are considered to be corrupt yes, but they are not concerned entirely with personal enrichment and opportunism - they also have a social agenda. Are they corrupt-corrupt or are they simply operating on a different but still internally-consistent value system than ours? If you pay the Mafia protection money will they actually protect you, in other words. If you do them a favour will they do you one in return, or is it pure extortion? (The answer being it varies with time and place, but the typical image of the Mafioso is that they do live by a code and punish their own members who transgress it).

Then there's corrupt-corrupt, like the Greek politicians, who are solely interested in looting for their own personal benefit and are utterly amoral about it.
 
I believe that some countries are more open about their corruption than others or else it occurs in different areas. The UK, for example, is the repository for £billions of the world's dirty money.

Heaven help the guy on the Clapham omnibus with a poor or undocumented credit record who wishes to open a new high street current account or apply for a credit card. But if you are a foreign national with a vast fortune comprising corruptly acquired funds and assets or that has no traceable provenance, then it's Liberty Hall.

I am also reminded of the BAe-Al Yamamah bribery investigation, which was shunted into the sidings at the orders of the Blair government, for no other reason that it was embarrassing to the Saudi royal family. (The SFO would probably have managed to stuff up the investigation, in any case.)

This country has no room to be sniffy about South American banana republics.
 
The northern country's, Scandinavia, Viking heritage, no discernible invasions and total integration of other cultures that imposed their will, England, a collection of close knit country's that have existed un-tainted by foriegn invasion for nearly a thousand years,. Then we have the Americas, a vast influx of foriegn invaders, firstly the British In, great number, the local indigenous population harried and them all but killed off, and many century's of mass, on a colossal scale, immigration, predominantly at first from Ireland, and then central Europe. The common factor here is a clash of cultures, mind-sets and work ethics.

Africa, where do you start, the British, Germans, Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish etc, the common factor is a racial mix that has evolved a clan mentality, and such is inclined to favour their clansmen over all others, this is prevalent in the formation of organised crime, in all of the industrialised nations, including the middle and far east, and all powerful enough to influence politicians, bankers and the judiciary. Money talks, and controls.

Any 2nd or 3rd world country that has vast mineral resources lends its self to rampart corruption, its a paradox that the gold and diamond rich country's, of central Africa, have the biggest political and economic corruption, and some of the lowest standards of living on the planet.

Where there is wealth in vast quantities, and a piss poor grass roots economy, then the temptation to skim it off the top is dominant. Nigeria anyone.

Russia, as Churchill once said, " A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma" vast gas and oil wealth,
coal and iron ore in abundance, and now with the fall of its totally controlling communist regime, Quick witted individuals have soaked up its riches, and have morphed from canny businessmen, into somewhat corrupt oligarch, but not all.

China. something of an unknown quantity, as we do hear of corrupt officials being executed and imprisoned, however, there must be vast legions of local area and remote state officials that are skimming it off the top. its human nature. The bigger the country, the bigger the temptation.

Conclusion:- There isn't one, and there is no definitive answer to why some country's are more corrupt, in politics, economic or law enforcement, only that that when opportunity's arise, there will always be individuals, and multi-nationals , that will spot the opening to make a fast buck, pound, yen, rouble, dong, riyal, rupee etc.

I await a more definitive answer, from the more knowledgeable, and vastly better educated than I, members of this august forum.

All of the above is pure conjecture, not to be taken seriously, or in any way belived.....TAXI!:p
 
And UK is rather famous for its corruption and nepotism in high places. Royals and Saudis, MPs and expenses, cash for questions, honours for donations (or being a relative), government advisors and ministers with shares in PPE companies that made millions but weren't fit for purpose and so on.

Glass houses and all that.
 
As some have already noted no country is free of corruption, like so many things once you add humans into the mix, then all bets are off to some degree.

That said the majority of western countries are based on a overarching 'high trust' societal system with an agreed rule of law which all are subject too. Perhaps its a reflection of the underlying issue is that our 'high trust' system where the law is supposed to rule on simple rights from wrong, has been 'corrupted' by some in the legal system who disingenuously exploit it to argue black is white.

Humans like to find and exploit loopholes.
 
And UK is rather famous for its corruption and nepotism in high places. Royals and Saudis, MPs and expenses, cash for questions, honours for donations (or being a relative), government advisors and ministers with shares in PPE companies that made millions but weren't fit for purpose and so on.

Glass houses and all that.
No more or less than other English speaking country's, or for that matter any northern hemisphere country, although I have reservations on the Scandinavians, as we do not hear of any major corruption scandals, on such a vast scale as everywhere else. I will stand corrected on that.

Thought:- Iceland and the banking fiasco?
 
20 years ago or so our young Pakistani office girl flew home to meet and marry her husband.
When she got back I asked her how it had gone.
'Brilliant, Musharif is great, I didn't have to bribe anyone to get off the plane'.
Says it all.
 
Every mofo one of them is corrupt...some are just better at hiding their crimes than others.

Nigerian conman?..Pah , try the 36 billion, yep 36 Billion squidly diddleys - scammed from the Westerners by smiley men in shiny suits under the PPI scam
I've always said that there's little difference across the world, others are just a bit more honest about it. Kickback is accepted and indeed expected in some places. It happens here but in less obvious ways.

The UK is a haven for money laundering, that doesn't happen without corruption and if you think about it, it means we have a fundamentally corrupt system.

The OP doesn't seem in the least bit interested in Panama or Paradise Papers style corruption.

BMW Mercedes anyone?
 

Bob65

War Hero
I believe that some countries are more open about their corruption than others or else it occurs in different areas. The UK, for example, is the repository for £billions of the world's dirty money.

Certainly. For example in a filthy corrupt foreign country, a man might have his friend give his son a plum job. Whereas in honest upstanding Britain, a man will get his son into Eton, and then have his friend give him that job.
 
Certainly. For example in a filthy corrupt foreign country, a man might have his friend give his son a plum job. Whereas in honest upstanding Britain, a man will get his son into Eton, and then have his friend give him that job.
The gold vaults of the bank of England, hold secure billions in gold bar, for some of the worlds most corrupt unstable and poorest country's....... Business is business.
 
Hi all,

It's quite odd that some countries are so much more corrupt than others, you could draw a line across Europe and the northern countries such as Germany, Scandinavia etc seem to be methodical and precise in their business (apart from the car air pollution fiasco). The southern countries, however, are notorious for their corruption - the Italian mafia and the joke of Berlusconi and his bunga parties, the Greek politicians stealing millions. I only need to say 'Albania' for people to immediately think of feral gangsters and crime. There certainly seems to be a north/south divide in Europe as far as corruption goes.

It doesn't stop there either, Russia takes corruption to a new height as it's openly encouraged by the state (I used to date a Russian girl and her father bribed a policeman after speeding). I'm less familiar with how things work in Asia/China.

Perhaps the most curious observation one can make is the Americas. South America has far more natural mineral wealth than the north and yet it consists of crackpot regimes and poor countries, whereas the north is an industrial powerhouse. I think this is due to the fact that south America inherited southern European corruption and government systems and the north inherited the British system and protestant work ethic.

Why are some countries corrupt and others not? In my mind it must be due to cultural and historical factors. What was it that turned the countries of southern Europe into nefarious criminal ghettos and Scandinavia into sophisticated and law abiding countries?
Think about all those happy argentines cheering on the Junta after the invasion of the falklands..... The term used in social studies is 'social capital' and what that means in practical terms is a population might one day cheer on a government, but the next after a sharp defeat is rioting.

Countries without social capital, lack stamina, or resilience and react weakly to crisis.. Sadly the UK has over time adopted policies, which have degraded our social capital to the extent that we will cheer on an old vet walking around his house, but then do nothing ourselves to slow down covid (see summer holiday chaos and heaving roads and an exodus to the airports).
 
Corruption exists in all countries. It’s just a question of scale.

The UK in terms of scale is at the lower end. I’d suggest halfway between the middle and the bottom of the scale.

I spent twenty years working for a local authority and while corruption was a minor problem, it did happen.

Some building control officers were definitely at it. The rewards for “helping out” ranged from a day out at the races or a weekend golfing to cash exchanging hands. Those at the lower levels of the ladder would cop a bit of secret overtime working on the tools for a contractor at weekends.

Since the early eighties, local authorities have been compelled to put certain activities up for tender for private companies to bid for the work. That means that each local authority had to set up an evaluation and monitoring element to decide who won the the work and then ensure that everything went ok for the duration of the contract. Although it could never be proven, some people did very nicely out of that and although it’s over twenty years since I was last there, I know it still goes on.

Then of course there’s planning. Corruption in planning takes place at the top of the hierarchy of local authorities with very senior officers and Councillors involved in influencing decisions in certain ways. A good example was a friend of mine who sat on a planning committee was offered an all expenses paid weekend trip to a hotel with numerous luxury amenities in Scotland for an in depth briefing on a planning application. He turned the offer down.

After I left the employment of the local authority, I set up a small building firm and sub contracted a few building jobs airside at Heathrow. I know for a fact that the people I subbed the work from spent most of their time entertaining various senior managers from lots of companies that operated airside. The first question asked when looking around was, “who’s the budget holder.”

I was on site once when someone In middle management from the company chatting to me mentioned that he was surprised at the amount of money they were paying for my services. I suggested if he found the senior guy who played a lot of golf, he would quickly suss out why my fee’s were so high. A few days later on site again, he told me he had made some confidential inquiries and there were two of them.

Looking at recent events with the coronavirus pandemic, there are various snippets of certain companies who appear to have links to either government officials including ministers or to advisors to the government being given in some instances, multi million pound contracts without any tendering process or indeed any process at all taking place to check these companies out. The work is simply handed over to them.

So it seems, corruption is alive and kicking in the UK.
 
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