Monday, March 19, 2007

Anti-Corruption brainstorming

I've been a bit preoccupied with corruption and how to deal with it. Everyone says it's a problem but I've seen few plans to combat it.

Our favorite commentor from Chaoyang mentioned a movie and the more I think about it, the more I like the idea.

Any ideas?

Here's an article: Graft threatens Afghan government legitimacy

Oh and I've responded to people's comments. I'm slowly gearing up and focusing. Slowly slowly.


chaoyang said...

More info on the last Munna Bhai movie:



Official Web site:

not to say India is corruption free - far from it - but assuming all of India's public service campaigns is having "some" affect, just imagine how bad it would be without them. Is there a Kabullywood? The history of Bollywood and how they've worked with the govt for several decades to influence the masses is interesting. watch some of the stuff from the 60's and 70's and you'll choke on the patriotism and public moral messages (remember 60s and 70s were highly turbulent times for India, Pakistan, and East Pakistan - which became Bangladesh.)

But like I said, the indian subcontinent is far from free of corruption, so lessons learned from them may be more theoretical than applicable.

omg said...

I'm not knowledgeable on the subject so I should not comment. But...

My very basic and uninformed logic says that you have to get people to view corruption as morally unacceptable or a detriment to the greater good for them to change their own behavior willingly. Of course that means people have to be concerned for the greater good over their own personal gain. Hmm... Anyway, I can see how movies or other popular media could go a long way toward changing the overall view of corruption as acceptable.

Failing that (and I doubt that has been the sole successful solution in any corrupt insititution or society), you have to crack down on the corruption by punishing those requesting/accepting bribes. They have to think that the punishment will be worse than any gains from accepting bribes. Which I guess would mean removing those people from their positions and/or punishing them with fines or incarceration. Which means you have to have skilled people available to replace them. How can you be sure the replacements won't follow the same route? (Do you educate and employ people who have previously been denied such positions, i.e. women, on the assumption that they will be more likely to adhere to the proper protocol?) How do you prevent the negative impact of having a subset of formerly corrupt people now unemployed in society?

It makes my brain hurt just thinking about it.

Speaking of movies -- have you seen the Beauty Academy of Kabul? I've been meaning to ask if it's any good.

Tarous said...

Well, as un-informed and marginally educated as it may be, here's my 2 cents.

You can not get rid of corruption in Afghanistan, or anywhere else for that matter. All governments are intrinsically corrupt, from the 3rd world to the 1st. In my opinion what we CAN hope to do is to reduce the level of widespread corruption. Here you can bribe a traffic cop for 20 afs. I hate to admit it, but in all honesty, I've done it myself. The reason that these public servants take bribes is for 2 major reasons.

1. Bribery is so commonplace here that it has moved beyond a bad habit or custom, like it or not, bribery is now a begrudgingly accepted part of the culture.

2. The second reason that bribery amongst low level public servants is so prevalent has to do with inflation and low salaries.

Ever since the decimal moved to the left two spaces, the value of Afghani currency has been affected. A good principal for good governance is to pay your public servants enough so that they wont want to take bribes. I beleive that there are alot of people who take bribes to suppliment their income, so that they might be able to provide enough for their families, not for personal gain.

I agree with OMG in the sense that you have to punish the briber AND the bribee. That would help things a bit. But I see things moving in the right direction already. It's just that Afghanistan is going to have to make progress, in some areas, on its own schedule. According to its history, culture and needs. Not according to the wants and needs of the international community.

In the words of J-Zone

It's gonna be greater later
It's gonna take time