“Corruption is the price we pay for democracy“. This statement connotes that with the good governance form, democracy. We also have to abide its companion, corruption, which comes along with it. This is the fee we pay for the good governance, democracy.
Let’s talk about corruption. Corruption is the abuse of power. The person with the power when uses his influence for benefit of himself or some special person it is called corruption. The most common cause of corruption is believed to be a combination of discretion and accountability. Governments with enormous discretionary power and low accountability are more corrupt than those with less discretion and more accountability.
Mainly, there are three forms of government. Other than democracy, the two others are Monarchy and Autocracy. In Monarchy, ruling people is always from a single family. This is the most common and used form of government for thousands of years. The head of government is called king which has ultimate power. No one can ask question to him about his deeds. As in this system, discretionary power is totally in the hands of one man with no accountability. This is proved to be very corrupt governance. That’s why democracy had replaced earlier popular Monarchy.
Monarchy is not very much popular now a day. Only five countries still have absolute monarchy. Rests have changed itself into constitutional monarchy, a kind of democracy, to reduce corruption in its system. These new monarchs are more clean and accountable than absolute monarchy. So, this monarchy is less corrupt.
In Autocracy, the country is governed by a dictator or military junta. This system is almost same as monarchy. But, some major difference is no clan system and usually citizens are against the rulers. So, there is no backing from the citizens. The accountability of bureaucrats is negligible in this system. Bureaucrats use their power mostly for personal gains. It is the worst case for corruption. Most autocracies are among top corrupt nations in the world.
Now, talk about democracy. Democracy is a very popular form of government. Originally, democracy is the rule by the people. But, currently, no country is governed by this form of governance. However, almost 70-80 % of all the countries follow the improved version of democracy, i.e. Republic. Republic is the rule by the law or a constitution. May be very few of you know that officially India is not a democratic nation. But, a republic and its official name is not “India”, but “Republic of India”. In this form of government, no one is supreme. Everyone is accountable. Of course, corruption exists in democracies as well, but such corruption, trivial in both nature and sum, is fundamentally different from the massive looting by autocrats or monarchs.
In Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2008, which covered 180 countries, 90% of the 60 least corrupt countries in the world are democracies. The remaining six non-democracies are small city-states (Singapore, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain). In contrast, about 60% of the 60 most corrupt countries are autocracies, including Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Belarus, Syria, Sudan and Burma. Nearly all the 30 most corrupt countries are autocracies. India in this list is at 84th position.
These data show it very clearly that corruption is in every popular form of government. Particularly, the other forms of government are much ahead in the corruption index than democracy. So, ‘Corruption is not the price we are paying for democracy’.