Global Anti-Corruption Talks in the 1970s and 1990s: The Story of Two Utopias
This chapter compares global anti-corruption debates in the 1970s and 1990s in order to provide the big picture in the development of a global corruption problem. The chapter analyzes the main differences in terms of problem content, venues and external events, as well as the the strategy of the US executive and the level of uncertainty within which this strategy operated. The chapter argues that anti-corruption rhetoric was indeed neoliberalized in the 1990s, but the link between anti-corruption, as part of a broader agenda to regulate multinationals, and neoliberalism, as an agenda for de-regulation, could be more complex than previously thought. The diachronic comparison shows that depending on their membership base different venues such as the UNCTAD, the G77 and the UNCTC on the one hand and the G7, the OECD and the World Bank on the other, have offered two distinctive competing versions of how is corruption to be understood and how it should be tackled. These competing narratives are indicative of two different projects of world-building proposed by the Global South and the Global North, and their convergence in the 1990s, is what made the institutionalization of corruption as a global governance issue possible.
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