Is Corruption a Problem?

  • Robin Theobald


The very term ‘corruption’ with its connotations of disintegration and decay, of perversion from a state of innocence, makes it difficult for us to assume other than that its consequences are always bad. The title of Lincoln Steffens’ epochal exposure of municipal corruption in the USA — The Shame of the Cities — leaves us with few doubts about the nature of the author’s opinion (Steffens, 1904). Wraith and Simpkins liken corruption in Africa to the ‘bush and weeds’ which flourish luxuriantly ‘taking the goodness from the soil and suffocating the growth of plants which have been carefully and expensively bred and tended’ (Wraith and Simpkins, 1963 p. 12, 13.) In a recent introduction to African politics Richard Hodder-Williams sees corruption as a ‘cancer … which is dysfunctional to the political and economic system’ (Hodder-Williams, 1984, p. 111). And of course statesmen and politicians throughout the third world habitually and regularly fulminate against corruption as the primary obstacle to development, freedom, national regeneration and virtually everything else.


Public Resource Political Development State Apparatus Road Haulage Administrative Capacity 
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Copyright information

© Robin Theobald 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin Theobald
    • 1
  1. 1.Polytechnic of Central LondonUK

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