Corruption Is Only 10 Percent

Corruption gets a lot of attention, not because there’s a lot of it, but because it sells.  Everybody’s against corruption, so the media attracts viewers and, thus, advertising revenues by dredging up and broadcasting all sorts of hanky-panky, stealing, bribery, and other deviant behaviors.

With exception, corruption is only about 10 percent or less of the organization’s or  government agency’s budget, or even the world’s wealth.  Concerning the latter, consider this statement by Alan Rusbridger, “Panama: The Hidden Trillions”, New York Review of Books, Oct. 27, 2016:  “Today, the economist Gabriel Zucman estimates that there is $7.6 trillion of household wealth in tax havens globally—around 8 percent of the world’s wealth” [emphasis added].

The next time you hear about the tens of thousands, millions, billions–or even trillions!–lost to corruption calculate what percentage it is of the total budget or wealth.  You’ll see that it’s usually about 10 percent.

The lesson of corruption’s 10 percent is that way, way, way too much attention is being given to only 10 percent of the budget and not nearly enough to the remaining 90 percent.  Obtaining better outcomes or results requires analyzing the whole budget and, on the basis of that analysis, reallocating where necessary.  Analyze budgets!  Don’t spend much time and effort on corruption.

About georgebeam

George Beam is an educator and author. The perspectives that inform his interpretations of the topics of this blog–-as well as his other writings and university courses -–are system analysis, behaviorism, and Internet effects. Specific interests include quality management, methodology, and politics. He is Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Public Administration; Affiliated Faculty, Department of Political Science; and, previously, Head, Department of Public Administration, University of Illinois at Chicago
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