Events

Gaming the system: Legal corruption in action Monday, September 2, 2019 at 4:30pm - 6:30pm

Gaming the system: Legal corruption in action
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  • Date
    Monday, September 2, 2019
  • Location
    Carnegie Mellon University
  • Category
    Speaker Series
  • Region
    Australia

Can corruption be “legal”?

Dealing with corruption and illegal criminal behavior has been a hot topic for governments and corporates around the world since the 1980s.

But interest is growing regarding the notion of “legal corruption” - actions that, while remaining within the law (or at least not clearly violating it) and employing, not challenging or undermining, major institutions – create or protect rents and unearned advantages for those engaging in them.

Whether we call it “institutional corruption”, “influence market” corruption, or by other names, legal corruption is central to issues such as surging inequalities in wealth and income; the growing power of “offshore” economic entities that seem to do business everywhere, yet be regulated nowhere; contemporary “populist” movements and their resentments; and low levels of trust - not only in government, but in major private institutions as well.

Conventional anti-corruption tactics largely fail to address “legal corruption”: indeed, some such controls actually strengthen the beneficiaries while weakening society’s ability to respond.

Dealing with corruption and illegal criminal behavior in the public and private sector has been a ‘hot topic’ for governments and corporates around the world since the 1980s.

But interest is growing regarding the notion of legal corruption - actions that, while remaining within the law (or at least not clearly violating it) and employing, not challenging or undermining, major institutions – create or protect rents and unearned advantages for those engaging in them.

Whether we call it “institutional corruption”, “influence market” corruption, or by other names, legal corruption is central to issues such as surging inequalities in wealth and income; the growing power of “offshore” economic entities that seem to do business everywhere, yet be regulated nowhere; contemporary “populist” movements and their resentments; and low levels of trust -- not only in government, but in major private institutions as well.

Conventional anti-corruption tactics largely fail to address legal corruption: indeed, some such “controls” actually strengthen the beneficiaries while weakening society’s ability to respond.

About Michael Johnston

Professor Michael Johnston, a leading global authority on matters relating to corruption, democratization, and reform, will give a public lecture at Carnegie Mellon University sharing his insights into ‘legal corruption’ and how to build good governance systems to increase integrity and reduce corruption.

Michael Johnston is Charles A. Dana Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Colgate University, New York. He has served as a senior consultant to organizations such as the World Bank, United Nations, the Organization of American States, and the US Agency for International Development.

His book Syndromes of Corruption: Wealth, Power, and Democracy won the 2009 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order, presented by the University of Louisville. He holds a PhD from Yale University.

The Hon Bruce Lander, QC, SA’s Independent Commissioner Against Corruption and Professor Adam Graycar, Professor of Public Policy, University of Adelaide, will join Professor Johnston for a panel discussion at the conclusion of his lecture.

The Distinguished Lecture is co-sponsored by the Transnational Research Institute on Corruption at the Australian National University and Carnegie Mellon University Australia.

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