Nowadays, it is easy to tell if a country is able to provide a citizen with stable ways of living or if it represents struggle and difficult attainment of basic needs. In fact, one of the strongest indicators, in order to tag a country as a developing countries, a country with low gross national income and low standards of living, is by analyzing its level of corruption.
I have spoken with a variety of international students at the U of M, and often got very similar responses when asking them to what extend they miss their home land. Most likely the response would be “it’s good to visit, but my country’s living standards make me feel like Canada is more worth it.” They also usually complain about the way things are, due to corruption, and how the only way to gain a higher position in society or be provided with certain public services, is through having specific contacts that would make you a privileged citizen. This is being done most likely through bribery. For instance, in some countries, it is possible to purchase driver’s licenses for an approximate equivalent amount of $30.
It is also common in some places to be able to purchase “fake degrees.” According to UNESCO, last year, in Saudi Arabia, 68 Emiratis got blacklisted from the US, because they bought qualifications from online “degree mills.” Even though, authorities at the time said that the punishment is up to 24 years in jail for those caught using fake degrees, the problem still exists. In Nepal, there are instances of corrupted education resulting in the possibility of purchasing fake certificates and students not using fake degrees having to wait ten to fifteen years, before making their entry into job market.
Corruption is found in both developed and developing countries, but to a greater extent in developing countries, which usually have less governmental regulations and weaker political, economic and social structures than a developed country, such as Canada. This can lead to poverty, corruption, humanitarian crisis, decreasing transparency in government, unaccountable political leadership and an overall lack of democracy. In other words, one of the terms that could be used to explain the reasons for the difference in living standards between developed and developing countries is the level of corruption that is found in a society.”
In fact, corruption is found at the bottom of every problem in a country that is in the process of developing, and it leads to being unable to climb the ladder to becoming a newly industrialized country (NIC), the category between developed and developing countries, such as Brazil, Thailand, China and South Africa.
According to Transparency International, the term “corruption” is defined as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.” Corruption is also constituted of facilitation payments and preferential treatment of some citizens through bribery.
In developing countries wages are low and civil servants, such as policemen and government officials, look for other sources of income, through bribery. In Canada there are few instances of bribery and corruption, as opposed to developing countries, such as Mexico and Latin America, most of the Middle East, Africa and East Asia, where we find that corruption is high and that transparency is lacking.
What factors encourage this corruption? According to Transparency International, it is often found in countries where wealth is unequally distributed and where strong leadership and decision making is often lacking among economic, legal and social institutions.
Corruption can create major obstacles in terms of democracy and respect for the legal system. In a corrupted system, offices and institutions are misused for private advantage and this results in a weak civil society, bribery, careless exploitation of natural resources due to lack of enforcement of environmental regulations, and national assets turned into personal wealth by national leaders. It also affects the quality of other areas, such as public resources, industry, infrastructure and health care. Corruption overall deters the investment of a country by slowing down the development of fair market structures and distorting competition.
Corruption might be found in every country of the globe, but the level of corruption is easily perceivable by observing a country’s degree of stability, wealth, and social well-being of its citizens.
The promotion of better governance across the world is a very important thing. I personally am glad to be a citizen of a country that is apparently not ruled by a corrupt system and that has successfully reached a balance among all sectors of its society. Some people might be tempted by the corrupted countries’ unregulated ways and by the lack of rules and laws, but regulation is a crucial thing, in order for a citizen to live a quality life and Canada and its high standard of living ultimately proves this fact. Personally, I would choose comfort and stability over risky and spontaneous ways of living, anytime.
The promotion of better governance across the world is a very important thing. I personally am glad to be a citizen of a country that is not ruled by a corrupt system and that has successfully reached a balance among all sectors of its society. Laws and regulations might be written in books, but it is failure to enforce the rules, through nepotism and government unaccountability, that lead to corrupt systems and all they entrail. Regulation is a crucial thing, in order for a citizen to live a quality life and Canada and its high standard of living ultimately proves this. Personally, I would choose comfort and stability over risky and spontaneous ways of living, anytime.
Sarah Khalil is the International Coordinator at the Manitoban.