Democratic Norms, Political Money, and Corruption
Most definitions of corruption classify categories of actions as corrupt, but encounter the questions of which standards to apply. Laws are the most common choice, but others highlight harm to the public interest, or social and cultural values. The inconclusive debate over definitions suggests, however, that all three approaches have their problems. This chapter argues that democratic norms can help us build better behavior classifications. As Warren suggests, inclusion of citizens and respect for their interests is a major democratic norm. When it is disregarded, the result can be a widespread sense that democratic politics has been corrupted. Democratic norms add to, rather than supplanting, other standards, but can also help us understand the political malaise now on display in many democracies.
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