General Description of Corruption - Rent-seeking or Rent-giving
There is a consensus on many issues relating to rent seeking and rent giving behavior and some are given below. 11
Corruption threatens people and their governments. It makes societies unfair. It is argued that bribery is a negotiated rent, as the beginning of all illegalities and tyranny. There is no more powerful engine of injustice and cruelty, for bribery destroys both faith and state. The serious consequence of corruption thus is not only State Capture but also Mind Capture. Rent-seeking behavior occupies the human mind and removes it from useful task.
Corruption is universal. It is present in developed and developing countries, in the bureaus of public or private sectors, and in nonprofit or charitable organizations. Shift from governance to management only changes its residence.
Consequences of rent seeking and rent giving can be seen on income distribution, consumption patterns (in each social stratification), and rise of an underground economy.
Corruption plays a central role in politics thus state objectives. Rent seeking and rent giving are major obstacles in the process of planned change of economic layers. A promise of democracy remains undone. However it does allow selective change in economic-cycle of an individual, an individual household and a business.
Media's preoccupation with corruption is understandable because it is a highly marketable commodity since they understand the general public's fascination for seeing prominent personalities in embarrassing situations. The media may have brought this common human frailty into the limelight. However, it is equally possible that unknowingly they may have helped in spreading this meme. No study has been undertaken to assess the effect of media in spreading this meme or in helping to remedy.
Increasing public interest and concern over corruption have resulted in a large volume of scholarly research on the subject.
Corruption is usually a kept secret and therefore the behavior of the corrupt agent near impossible to observe in real life. The character of rent-seeking has all the qualities one can ask for such as charm and acting talent to create a mirror image of the truth i.e., of an actor; book keeping i.e., of an accountant; to understand and manipulate rules and regulations and ability to protect, i.e. of a custodian. 12
Corruption makes distinction between "need driven" and "greed driven" necessity harder.
Campaigns against corruption have not met with much success. It is a worrisome development. When the majority of people operate under such a system, individuals have no incentive to try to change it or to refrain from taking part in it. [See p176, Corruption and Mexican History.]
Corruption is a type of strategic action in which two or more actors undertake an exchange relation by way of a successful transfer of money (material) or power (political or status) or promoting of gene (genetic), which sidesteps legality or morality or civility to regulate the relation. It is a strategic interaction or an art of nonviolent negotiation. As mentioned before, social action is strategic when it is aimed at the successful realization of personally defined goals.
With concentration of ill-gotten wealth in the hands of a few or the undesirable, there emerges a distorted consumption pattern. Many learn it by imitation thus produces this dynamic state of rent giving and rent seeking (see Figure 1.2 on p5 and Figure 4.2 on p93).
It underlies many other crimes. This social crime inflicts little visible wound on the victim-person. The entire mechanisms, under a corrupt system then are at stake, i.e. household, the neighborhood, group and the society, i.e. social coexistence. They say "honesty is likely to make a greater and more lasting impression on our children than political posturing and hysteria. 13" Though it remains a theoretical observation for most but one that is negotiable. Economic progress will remain incomplete and illusionary unless the theorists of economics address this crime.