chapter  2
16 Pages

Defining Corruption

WithJohn Gardiner

A series of problems are often linked in public discussions of corruption. Government investigation and prosecution agencies may have the responsibility to deal with all of them together, and they may occur together, but they have different causes and may have different solutions. The first problem is "Corruption by Public Officials." A second major category is abuse of office by public officials. Here, a precise definition is impossible: the dictionary says only that "to abuse" means "to misuse" or "to do something improper," and misuse and improper are as vague as abuse. The final public problem which should be mentioned is "Organized Crime and Racketeering." Variations in definitions am'ong nations guarantee that no definition of corruption will be equally accepted in every nation. These variations can be found whether definitions are based on statutory criteria, on the impact of corruption on the public interest, or on public opinion.