Corruption is the grease that lubricates the squeaky gate

Corruption is said to be one of the 'oldest part-time professions' in our history. There are many advantages to allowing corruption to take place in the Least Developed Countries (LDC's) as the shortage of public services means that it is, in some places, the only way to secure basic amenities.

However, the idea that corruption is a good and moral thing to allow to happen can't be tolerated in a western developed society, and cases which arise are met with fierce resistance, because it is seen to lead to waste & inefficiency, external industrial stimulation and focus on large projects which do not benefit the community as a whole and do not promote development. The first reason that corruption is seen to promote development is that in the 50 LDC countries it allows the people within those countries to gain access to basic healthcare, policing and education which people take for granted in western societies.

For example in Kenya, there is an 86. 1% chance of having to bribe the judiciary to hear your case sympathetically and an 85. 5% chance you will have to bribe the police to take action. 1 This continues in the education (52. 9%) and health (37. 3) sectors, although the intensity of the bribes reduced, this is because there is little manoeuvrability for favouritism in these areas. 2 This shows that the need for corruption for basic services in Ghana is hundreds of times greater than in the United Kingdom, and that without providing bribes there is little chance of receiving the service.

In this case, in LDC's corruption does seem to provide the 'lubrication for the squeaky gate'. Secondary, corruption is seen to reduce the amount of bureaucracy that is systemic in LDC's, as it allows people to jump the extensive cues which plague the majorities of basic services and allows funding the flow into the country. For example if a government department is overcrowded and underfunded then the capability to serve the people and function is reduced. So when a large company need planning permission for example, their application will not be processed for many months.

If however the company were to give a bribe to the official who was looking at their application then it is not unthinkable that it would be granted straight away. This would provide jobs and economic stimulus which the LDC's need to develop. Therefore bribes allow development and investment to reach the front line where it is needed most, although it is not the correct way to resolve the problem of poor governance, it circumnavigates it in a way which all involved benefit, and therefore can be seen to be the grease on the squeaky gate.

However, there are many faults with having corruption in LDC's although it has its upside, which people see to be hindering the development. The first of these are the economic waste that they create. When money is given by international organisations to LDC's they do not believe that all of it will reach the intended destination, and almost allocate a percentage which they expect to lose. A good example of this, although they did not expect to lose any money, was the band Aid concert in the 1980's. They raised 40 million pounds, along with 23 million from other charities to give to help the hungry in Africa.

However, recently the true extent to which the money reached the frontline has been seen. Only 5% of the money which they raised, 3. 15 million managed to hit the areas in which it was needed. This meant that 59. 85 million was lost to inefficiency, bribes and theft. An example of where it had been corruptly taken was to buy Ethiopian warlord's guns to fuel their horrific war against their own people. This not only shows how 95% of aid does not reach its intended target, but countered the reason it was sent there in the first place.

This is a clear problem for international aid; as if the full amount of money had reached its target the amount of people they would have helped would have been twenty-fold, something which would have helped development in LDC's, counter to the statement. A further reason that people see corruption as negative to development is that it polarises the type of projects that are funded. The international community which gives loans used to give the amount requested, and then not dictate or monitor where or how it was spent.

This left the door open for western countries to come in once the money was received and offer 'incentives' to the government to spend it upon large projects which would benefit their company. This meant that the government official would receive a bribe for diverting the money from developing the country's economy, whilst the community would suffer from a lack of its own development. Furthermore this often manifested itself in the forms of arms contracts, which led to an overly strong military which could keep tyrannical dictators, such as Amin and Mugabe, in power.

A consequence of one nation having a large standing army with good resources is that its neighbouring countries feel that they need to gain the same capabilities to protect themselves, and so the cycle starts itself again. This cycle has been broken to an extent, as the international community realised that it was damaging the countries industrial strength by allowing outside contractors to dictate where the money was spent and introduced SAP's to ensure the money was spent appropriately.

The bribery of foreign officials is becoming frowned upon by the international community, fronted by the United States, which is allowing the industries of LDC's to develop into a more profitable and sustainable source of national income. This shows the damage which was done by the bribery, as without it the LDC's are becoming more financially and politically stable and are developing. Botswana(1994) and Cape Verde(2007) have been upgraded out of the LDC's list thanks in part to the SAP's which it was given from the international banks, showing the potential for growth without corruption.

In conclusion, whilst in the short term and small scale, corruption does seem to benefit the individuals involved, but only the individuals. The development of industry and infrastructure are neglected and the general standard of living is lucky to remain stable if not decrease dramatically. The greed from the international co-operations only cemented the position of the LDC's and elevated the western countries. The extent of development in countries with SAP's only adds fuel to the fire, and confirms that corruption does not help development but only hinders it in the long term.