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Large-Scale Corruption: Definition, Causes, and Cures

Abstract

Corruption is a social pathology. It has much the same effect on the development of a nation that cancer has on the life of a biological organism. Through a review of the literature, a definition of corruption is derived. Large-scale corruption is supported by power networks. In order to function and survive, power networks require five capabilities: economic, technical, political, physical, and ideological. Large-scale corruption is an emergent social process. The same governing factors that sustain large-scale corruption are in direct opposition to efforts to promote development. The history and evolution of a government agency for small farmers in a developing country are reviewed. While extracting wealth, corrupt power networks generated waste, reduced production, and caused acrimony on the part of the victims. For each dollar embezzled there was a resulting loss of $2.5. The corrupt networks reached such a level that the government had to disassemble the agencies. The ability to detect and neutralize corrupt networks is essential to development.

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Correspondence to Raúl Carvajal.

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Carvajal, R. Large-Scale Corruption: Definition, Causes, and Cures. Systemic Practice and Action Research 12, 335–353 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1022492112414

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1022492112414

  • corruption
  • development
  • power networks
  • emergent social process
  • government agency