The Structure of Corruption: A Systemic Analysis Using Eurasian Cases
Corruption is gaining recognition among civil society and government decisionmakers alike as a central factor in many of the world’s worst problems. It is acknowledged as a cause not only of persistent poverty and underdevelopment but also, increasingly, of many of the security challenges undermining global stability. Yet the understanding of the way it functions lags behind this realization—as does, therefore, the likelihood of devising good remedies.
A prerequisite to building an effective anticorruption approach is an intimate—and unflinching—examination of the specifics of corrupt operations in the individual country of interest and its physical and electronic neighborhoods. The picture that emerges from such an analysis can help in tailoring effective anticorruption efforts, and should inform any interaction with such a country, to avoid reinforcing such networks and their practices.
SOME FRAMEWORK QUESTIONS FOR A STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS OF KLEPTOCRATIC SYSTEMS
THE ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK
Does a single network dominate?
How dependent is the network’s functioning on the person of the chief of state? Or instead, is there a significant cadre of network members who could re-combine and retain their grip on the economy and key aspects of political function if the network is decapitated?
How important is kinship to the network structures?
To what extent does competition exist within the dominant network?
Where one network does not dominate, do relatively evenly matched networks peacefully coexist?
In the case of multiple networks, how contentious is their rivalry?
What elements of state function have been deliberately bent or distorted by the networks with the aim of extracting resources and/or ensuring compliance?
What instruments of coercion or violence do the networks rely upon to enforce discipline, both on network members and on the population at large, especially activists or media?
What elements of state function have been deliberately crippled or allowed to languish or else cannibalized for the revenue streams they provide?
How vertically integrated are the kleptocratic networks?
How horizontally integrated are the networks?
Does the horizontal integration include ostensibly charitable institutions?
Does horizontal integration extend to outright criminals?
Does the network incorporate terrorists or other violent insurgents?
Do the networks extend across national boundaries?
What are the key enablers for the kleptocratic networks, especially outside the country?