The corruption that never ceasesCarmen P. Flores
Talking about corruption is a recurrent theme that continues to be the order of the day, and at the moment there is no sign that it is decreasing. The general public's concern about this remains among the top five current issues. The Spanish government has received several notices from the EU as regards the high level of corruption in Spain, although no measures have been taken to reduce this.
Corruption is an epidemic that affects all countries. The difference between one and the other is the way it gets treated and also in the way specific laws to combat it get implemented. Is there a will to do it? This is the million-dollar question, so far without an effective or forceful reply.
Politics is the main field in which are most cases of corruption, although not the only one. There is not a single large or small institution where there have not been cases of corruption; city councils, provincial governments, regional, public companies and a long and so on. Given this panorama, we need to ask ourselves if it is at the moment that politicians exercise institutional power when corruption gets in.
The worrying thing is that its profusion leads to the end of equality among the general public, and it seriously erodes the effectiveness and credibility of governments and administrations.
What is worrisome is the deterioration of democratic legitimacy. This provokes a disaffection, a distancing between the general public and the political elites.
Is corruption all the same? It might seem so, but the US political scientist Arnold J. Heidenheimer described corruption using different colours: white, grey and black.
The first, white, is tolerated by society and the elites. They are minor disloyalties within an administration or company. The grey is involved in many ambiguities, is known as the revolving doors in politicians and positions of trust. Finally, the black kind is unacceptable and therefore punishable.
It does not escape anyone that political corruption is quite a serious problem for democracy.
Urban corruption has been quite widespread in a large number of cities and municipalities and no-one is unaware of the fact that this has had much to do with the housing bubble that was the origin of the economic crisis.
The proposals to fight against corruption can be found in this edition throughout the different contributions of our specialists in the field. Of course, your own opinions will provide more evidence on this issue, one that worries everyone, some more than others, but to which no-one can be oblivious.