The Hidden Costs Of Corruption
No matter how wealthy or poverty stricken a country may be, there are only so many resources at any nation's disposal. With good governance and forward thinking policy making, even a country that is not naturally blessed with profit creating natural resources can become quite wealthy indeed. On the other hand, if those same resources are mismanaged such a country could end up in very dire straits. This is bad enough when the reason is mismanagement but the extremes bear even worse consequences when the mismanagement is done intentionally. This essay looks at some of the less often discussed costs associated with corruption.
Missing or Poorly Delivered Public Services
The funds that are diverted from the country towards government officials, their family members and friends always have other uses. Some of these include the building and maintenance of roadways, bridges and other infrastructure, the upkeep of hospitals and the provision of other services that citizens cannot easily provide for themselves. The things that should be at a high level of efficiency can grind to a halt under this circumstance and the repercussions of this can be felt for generations.
The lack of governmental support can lead to failure of institutions. If teachers, health-care workers and others in government run professions find themselves being paid infrequently, almost everything in the country can be stopped by industrial action. If children consistently receive poor service from their teachers they can become angry and rightfully so. This sows the seeds of revolution which may not even be noticed until several decades have passed.
Fueling more powerful criminals
Often corrupt politicians are on good terms with members of organized crime syndicates. The money that they funnel away from projects that could help the public is more than likely going to also reach them. By having access, even in part, to public funds, these criminals are better able to expand their operations into fields that might otherwise have been unattainable. A small time drug dealer can begin to import on a larger scale. A more established drug dealer can begin to diversify into human trafficking. This all comes about because corruption ripples outward when allowed to flourish.
When things go badly in a country the more visible crimes are committed by poor criminals. A more thorough analysis of the situation often points that deviant behavior back to the corruption of someone with wealth and influence.