Last week I had the pleasure of attending Global Financial Integrity’s panel discussion and book launch for Laurence Cockcroft’s Global Corruption: Money, Power, and Ethics in the Modern World.
The panel, which included my professor at Georgetown, Lester Myers, Michael Hershman of the Fairfax Group, Raymond Baker of GFI and Mr. Cockcroft, covered a range of topics. I cover here a few of the high points.
The purpose of my book is to look beneath the surface of global corruption.
One of the prominent themes of the discussion, which Mr. Cockcroft addressed at the beginning of his remarks, centered on disavowing the common misconception of corruption as a freestanding crime. Each member of the panel at various points in the discussion acknowledged the ways in which organized crime benefits from corruption.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, UK Bribery Act, and the OECD are not the end, but the beginning.
While we at the FCPA Blog have closely followed the passage of China’s Article 164 and Russia’s adoption of the OECD Convention, among others, Mr. Cockcroft talked about a recurring and serious dilemma facing anti-bribery/corruption professionals across the world. Namely, the lack of effective anti-bribery legislation in many countries and an apathetic attitude towards passing laws to counter it. While he and others acknowledged this unfortunate reality, Mr. Cockcroft expressed optimism in the ability of individuals and organizations such as Transparency International to create change.
Those of us dedicated to anti-corruption have to accept that the East Asian nations have developed in spite of a high degree of corruption.
The effects of corruption on economic growth have been heavily studied. Yet there's still no definitive answer on how corruption affects particular economic systems. The insidious nature of corruption appears obvious in many countries in Africa, for example. But Mr. Cockcroft and other panel members agreed that in spite of rampant corruption, East Asian nations have managed to experience astounding growth.
The panel discussion was both informative and entertaining and it was truly a joy to hear Mr. Cockcroft’s thoughts on the future of anti-corruption.
* * *
Andrew Reichardt is an editorial intern for the FCPA Blog.