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Moral Panics

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Key Factors Causing Corruption

There are several factors that lead to increase of corruption cases in society. It is not unique to find that cause of corruption in once country or even part of a country is different from another. In fact, one can claim that cause of corruption is diverse in lines with societal makeup. This section will however address the most common sources of corruption, which have higher chances of being seen in many societies. The four major causes of corruption (Botchwey, 200, p. 23) are discussed below in detail.

Poor Pay: This factor especially applied to developing nations, although it could also be seen in local governments of developed nations. When member of civil servants are not well remunerated, they get tempted into looking for other means of increasing their pay. Fact that they are custodians of millions of ponds of public money increases their chances of making use of the money. Governments at all levels should thus pay their employees well so as to avoid this scenario, which could plague operations and lead to loss of public funds. It has to be understood that individuals receiving less money than they should be paid would fall to the trap of using corrupt means to earn better living.

Bureaucracy: The processes used in government operations are sometimes too slow that members of the public try to have their affairs attended through corrupt means. This is also used by government employees who tell citizens in need that their papers will be processed quickly if they provide some monetary incentive. Though member of the public get attended to quickly, they end up feeding corruption monster that destroy morals of the society (Singhi, 1974, p. 188). This source of corruption can only be sealed when governments improve their systems of doing things. This is because some members of civil servant get involved in corruption because of the high demand of their services; some see this demand as ripe time to gain in monetary terms.

Poor Governance: Governance structures in local and national governments also contribute to the breakdown of societal morals. This happens because the leaders of government agencies fail to understand what individual members of their teams are doing. These leaders themselves do not get well overseen by their superiors. As a result, people in the civil servant force end up managing their affairs without contrary to they ways it is supposed to be. Only through the improvement of management of state affairs that government employees can be made to perform their roles as the public and their seniors expect. It is up to legislators, civil society and citizenry to ensure that governance structures are reformed regularly so as to increase their efficiency.

Lack of transparency: The lack of transparency in state affairs could be regarded as the biggest cause of corruption. Indeed, societies that try to reduce corruption in respective government processes do so through by increasing transparency within the government. It is understandable that member of the public, whether state or private sector employees, should hardly engage in corrupt deals when they know that someone is watching. Counties that experience wide corruption have one thing in common: secrecy in government affairs (Weir & Beetham,, 1999, p. 79), which means that member of the public, are not allowed to access information regarding government revenue and expenditure. As a result, government officials and private sector individuals supplying to the government know they will hardly be caught in the act. Increasing transparency in government operations is thus the best way of creating the foundation for protecting society against moral panics caused by corruption.

Social Damage Caused By Corruption

The entire society pays handsomely for the corruption menace that benefits few. This section of the paper shall concentrate on four basic societal damages that accrue from increased corruption incidences. The four damages are explained below in detail:

Expensive life: Rampant corruption is said to lead to the increase of the cost of doing business in the society (Rose-Ackerman, 2006, p. 116). This is because businessmen could be forced bribing government officials so they can get contracts to supply goods to the government, get licences to operate certain businesses, or even receive exclusive rights to exploit certain resources. As in all other business costs, extra costs occasioned by bribes to government officials are usually passed down to consumers. This means that consumers would pay higher for the goods than they would have paid in the absence of corruption. Thus the entire society suffers from an expensive life, just because few individuals broke morals and decided to enrich themselves.

Loss of government revenue: Some form of corruption leads to immense loss of government revenue as member of its workforce end up pocketing funds that were supposed to go to the exchequer. As a result, the government see decline it its revenue because of the loss to some of its employees. To seal the wholes that could have been made in its budget, the government has no other option other that increasing taxes or cutting the funds of some important social programmes. Government has to sometimes take both measures, which leads to more suffering among the citizenry. It is unfortunate that this damage happens in both local and national governments.

Erosion of trust: Increase in corruption leads to as a situation where member of the public loose their trust to national bodies that are supposed to make their lives easier to live, through the provision of enabling environments.  For instance, the police force is supposed to ensure there is law and order in the society; it should thus arrest and prosecute offenders. The justice system has to ensure that offenders are punished to the full force of the law. In case the corruption in the justice system leads to lack of prosecution or punishment for offenders, it becomes easy for member of the public to loose trust on this important institution. Loss of trust in such institutions lead to disastrous societies as members of the public takes the law into their hands (Porta & Meny, 1997, p. 73).

National and International Disrespect: The most corrupt societies in the country or most corrupt countries in the world are prone to national in international ridicule. ‘Corrupt’ becomes that tag that these societies become referred to, which is a bad reputations to those that want to progress. Coming from the most corrupt sections of society could sometimes make life difficult for people, especially businessmen and government official. For instance, businessmen looking for opportunities in other countries that are less corrupt could feel less welcomed, because they will be through to be corrupt themselves (Iyer & Samociuk, 2006, p. 17). It thus becomes hard for them to make business deals and thus lead to lower economic progress in their part of the world.

Societal Reaction to the Corruption Crimes

Members of societies experiencing higher degrees of corruption react to the vice in different ways. Some of their reaction is detailed below:

Everybody tries to benefit: It is common to see society members trying to benefit through corrupt means, even though they had not participated previously. Such a scenario leads to the increase of corruption in the society rather than decreasing. The problem is exacerbated by fact that it becomes so hard to reduce corruption because there are many more member of the society that participate in it.

Distrust in leadership: Since it is lack of proper leadership that leads to increase of corruption in the society, it is common to see people starting to blame political leaders for the corruption menace. This further leads to loss of faith in the leaders, because they are seen as people with power to stop the corruption and yet they are not taking the necessary measures. It is thus up to leaders to do their job of presiding corruption-free societies.

Lack of investment: As illustrated previously on the paper, people in less corrupt societies could start seeing individuals from corrupt societies as part and parcel of the corruption vice. This leads to distrust that lead to businessmen from less corrupt countries refusing to invest. Even businessman in the affected countries could even reconsider their investment options. This leads to loss of businesses for the country, which could constitute loss of jobs to the population (Harris, 2003, p. 11).

Refuse to pay taxes: Lack of business in these countries leads to loss of revenue fro the government because of the little profits that companies end up receiving. This is a big problem for these economies because the government also suffers from loss of income through the corruption of its tax collection officials. People from in these countries might also refuse to pay taxes because they understand that their monies will not reach government coffers.

Consequences of Corruption for the Victims and Offenders

People involved in corrupt deals face some consequences for their actions. However, some among them afford to escape these consequences though some canning measures. Some three consequences of corruption are explained below in detail:

Disgrace: People involved in corrupt deals are seen as a disgrace to the society. This is because they succeed in enriching themselves at some very big costs to most venerable members of the society. They could therefore find it hard to fully enjoy the fruits of their corruption.

Loss of most of what they had: In some societies, people found to have benefited from corruption could be forced into delivering what they gained to the state. This is in addition to fines that they could be made to pay. It therefore means that the corrupt will have to start afresh in order to gain their wealth.

Prison: Other corrupt individuals are not so lucky; they end up spending some time in jail. This punishment could be in addition to loosing their wealth and paying fines to the relevant authorities.

            It has been argued in the paper that corruption causes some major moral panic in the society. That goal has been achieved through detailed aspects of corruption as a state vice. Though corruption has been argued just as a state vice, it has to be understood that solving it will require input from both that government and the citizenry. 


Botchwey, K. (2000).  Fighting Corruption, Promoting Good Governance. London:

Commonwealth Secretariat.

Iyer, N. & Samociuk, M. (2006). Fraud and Corruption: Prevention and Detection.

Hampshire: Gower Publishing.

Harris, R. (2003). Political Corruption: In and Beyond the Nation State. New York:


Porta, D. & Meny, Y. (1997).  Democracy and Corruption in Europe.

London: Continuum International.

Singhi, N. (1974). Bureaucracy, Positions and Persons: Role Structures, Interactions, and Value Orientations of Bureaucrats. Boston: Abhinav.

Rose-Ackerman, S. (2006). International Handbook on the Economics of Corruption. Northampton: Edward Elgar.

Weir, S & Beetham, D. (1999). Political Power and Democratic Control in Britain. New York: Routlidge.

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