26 October 2010
Corruption Perceptions Index...
The 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International has been released recently. I was reading about this on a blog, "the two-way", hosted over at the National Public Radio (NPR) site and came across the following excerpt:
Corruption is something that just becomes ingrained in a society and once it's there it's hard to stop. It becomes a habit of mind, a sense that this is simply how things done. An official pamphlet given to Iraqi refugees who are heading to the States advises them not to bribe police officers. After working in Iraq for years I came home from one trip and had to go to the DMV. I'm waiting in line, as one does, and all I can think is, "Who can I bribe to make this go away?" To address corruption you have to change a society's whole way of thinking about what the cultural norms are, which is not easy, to say the least.
There are no real surprises in the list in the sense that Somalia, Burma, Afghanistan and Iraq rank as the most corrupt countries on earth. There are also no real surprises in Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore being the least corruptible nations going around.
Indonesia has stayed pretty much steady. The fact that Indonesia has remained steady is not a real positive outcome for Indonesia or Indonesians. It is, though, and accurate indictment of the failures of SBY and his government in delivering on the core election promise that he made in 2004 and 2009 to clamp down on corruption. However, that is for another post.
What struck me about the NPR piece is the idea that to address corruption requires a fundamental shift in the way the community thinks. The cultural norms that have developed that allow corruption to persist have to be broken down and new norms established. This idea is just so true for Indonesia. Yet, it is also the reason corruption eradication efforts have been so unsuccessful. Entrenched interests have been very successful at thwarting most efforts for reform and change while simultaneously encouraging others to be change-resistant as well. Corruption is something that is ingrained, no doubt about that.
I am the eternal optimist. Change will come to Indonesia. It is only a matter of time. Corruptors need to known that they are on borrowed time, the game is up!