Democracy and the corruption question

Problems, solutions and future possibilities

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  • Published 20200204
  • ISBN: 9781925773804
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

I’M RUNNING ON a beach near Cairns, spending a rare holiday moment trying to regain some of the fitness I’ve lost to far too much international travel. Next week it’s to Hong Kong to speak at a symposium hosted by the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the World Justice Project. Then to Nairobi for a meeting of the Transparency International board – joining colleagues spread from Santiago to Istanbul to Phnom Penh, working together in the global coalition against corruption – followed by more meetings in London, Berlin and Malaysia.

Apart from punishing travel, the big challenge in these discussions is how to fight what threatens to be a new worldwide slide towards more severe corruption, just when we thought we were really starting to beat it. When Transparency International was born twenty-five years ago, better governance seemed to be a worldwide inevitability. Francis Fukuyama proclaimed famously that the trends towards universal, stable, liberal democracy had inaugurated ‘the end of history’. Instead, by 2016, Fukuyuma saw the rise of right-wing populism as tumbling the world into a period of political decay: ‘the “democratic” part of liberal democracy is,’ he said, ‘rising up and taking revenge on the “liberal”’.

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