Essay on Criminal Justice White Collar Crime

Published: 2021/11/08
Number of words: 1616

Well-established democracies are commonly believed to experience reduced corruption rates compared with autocratic regimes or emerging democracies (Donchev & Ujhelyi, 2014). The level of democracy, however, does not, in the real sense, guarantee a lack of corruption. Established democracies suffer corruption in most situations because they lack transparency in political planning and financing, and this appears to increase as countries improve their democratic processes (Kotera et al., 2012). In other words, democracy is an excuse to loot public resources; it is used to manipulate the judicial systems, and more importantly, it is useful in keeping corrupt individuals out of prison. Similarly, the notion that corruption tends to increase with democratic processes has been embraced by numerous scholars, including Pring and Vrushi (2019). According to Pring and Vrushi (2019), countries that recently embraced democracy are often faced with increased corruption cases; their established anti-corruption measures, on the other hand, are always insufficient in dealing with corruption. However, to deal with corruption in developed democracies, Michael Johnston (2014) recommends embracing political means. He states that corruption can only end through the principle of deep democratization where citizens defend their interest by forcibly overthrowing contemporary social order in favor of new systems.

Fighting corruption by embracing political means such as revolutions can be practical and dangerous. Nonetheless, using such means is essential because they leave political vacuums that are later filled with new governing systems and reforms (Johnston, 2014). It is important to note that such instances can cripple the economy, and more importantly, it can lead to death. For example, despite the political reforms attained by the Arab Spring, the people who participated in pushing these reforms experienced violent governmental responses. Governments, including the Syrian government, utilized their militaries to fight civilians (Can, 2017). Importantly, the advanced violence as a result of these demonstrations led to the Syrian Civil War which led to the displacement of over 13 million people; it also led to the creation of violent militia groups that terrorized people for years in the countries of Iraq and Syria (Can, 2017). Some would argue that deaths and economic collapse are occupational hazards that come with fighting corruption. Moreover, using such measures in the fight against corruption has the potential to resuscitate political developments in societies where corruption has rationally become a social norm. Compared to other anti-corruption initiatives, deep democratization leads to the formation of better governments that uphold fairness and justice.

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Furthermore, the relationship between democratization and anti-corruption efforts should be considered and understood within a localized context. One must understand how individuals foster corruption in developing ways to eradicate it. More so, the complexities of cultural and political diversity must also be embraced, despite broad agreement regarding universal values (Ganie-Rochman & Achwan, 2016). It is also right to say that the association of democracy with honest and well-established governments depends on a country’s local circumstances and the political environment pertaining to the country in question. Therefore, to deal with this menace, it is vital to focus on aspects that make up the communities. For example, reform priorities in Oligarch and Clan situations in countries like the Philippines should concentrate on creating a secure and valued political and economic space through which people and businesses can express, discuss and defend their needs and interests. In like manner, people’s security and rights should be respected and well-established currency and banking systems should be implemented. Likewise, in the Official Moguls contexts that are usually defined by autocratic inner circles, corruption-fighting strategies should focus on securing even the modest civil liberties. The importance of this is that it would contribute to the implementation of advanced development aid projects, even in undemocratic environments. Focusing on civil rights would reduce police and military oppression. It would increase people’s interest in political life, and more importantly, it would raise corruption as an issue in an indirect way. In other words, this means that such attempts would promote positive influences.

In his writings, Michael Johnston (2014) also highlights the other two forms of regimes, each with its associated syndrome of corruption: Influence Market corruption and Elite Cartel corruption. Influence Market Corruption, according to Johnston (2014), happens in advanced democracies that have established political institutions and embrace liberal market values. In this case, the institutions have the power to restrain and sustain participation, and most are reliable and legitimate. Despite the robustness of these institutions, corruption is prevalent; however, it takes a different form. On the one hand, corruption happens between lobbyists, business people, and wealthy citizens and between bureaucrats, politicians, and party leaders. When compared to the outstandingly horrific abuses of Official Moguls and the violence and insecurity associated with Oligarchs and Clans, it is inclining to believe that Influence Markets is of less concern. Notably, this is because most societies in the Influence Market category are well-established and successful. Also, Influence Market corruption does not devastate economies and governments, and more importantly, it does not contradict the rule of law.

Dealing with Influence Market corruption can be challenging because of the perceptions that surround the entire concept. There those who believe that market corruption acts as a lubricant that smoothens the wheels or otherwise insufficient bureaucracies by overwhelming administrative negligence. This type of corruption exists because people perceive it as normal and acceptable. According to Johnston (2015), Influence Market corruption serves as a means of solving problems. Johnston agrees that in order to fight this type of corruption, the civil community must be involved. The reason to include civil communities in the anti-corruption initiative is imperative: fighting corruption at times has to be pursued in a bottom-up manner. It is also important to note that in highly corrupt states, democratic advantages such as elections, judiciaries, and transparency are often weak. These advantages exist, but instead of serving as weapons to fight corruption, they are used as tools of control and manipulation. In such circumstances, anti-corruption pressures can only be achieved from below with civil societies leading the fight against corruption. Studies likewise show that in countries where civil societies are stronger, corruption levels tend to be lower than those with weak civil societies. The functions of the civil society in fighting Influence market corruption may include channeling people’s demand to the government for suitable anti-corruption measures, enlisting pressures for strong political commitment to the fight against corruption, and ensuring the anti-corruption policies are deeply rooted in the public sphere.

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At the same time, Elite Cartel Corruption is typical in developing or new democracies, and it is defined by liberal markets and moderately strong institutions (Dahlberg & Solevid, 2016). The countries that experience this type of corruption have robust economies and strong social institutions. Cases of corruption in these countries are relatively widespread but tightly controlled by the media, politics, and elites in business. Even though the economy may be liberalized, opposition to new entrants and the sharing of power and resources are present. The elites are always looking out for rising political and economic competitors from a powerful coalition unified through corruption. Eliminating Elite Cartel corruption can similarly be challenging as most of the people involved regularly utilized established social institutions like the police to drive their agenda (Dahlberg & Solevid, 2016). Nevertheless, it can be addressed by embracing the compliance-based approach, which heavily relies on well-drafted laws and rules. Authorities can impose legal and disciplinary sanctions or their deterrent effects as the underlying means to regulate and fight corruption. Civil societies can also play a significant role in fighting the Elite Cartel corruption. People can utilize their numbers in pushing for social change; people can coerce the government to enact lethal anti-corruption laws that act as a deterrent for potential corruption initiatives. The Arab Spring in Egypt is an excellent example of such a case.

Fighting corruption through mainstream means has, over the years, proven fatal. Also, it is essential to note that most authoritarian regimes embraced democracies as a means of fighting corruption, but this, in the like manner, did not succeed. In fact, the levels of corruption increased as they embraced more democratic processes. To combat the swelling levels of corruption in these regimes, Johnston states that people must embrace unwarranted political reforms. He emphasizes on using profound democratization principles in the fight against this problem. In most cases, this principle will include mobilizing the weak against the strong and fighting against social institutions that embrace corruption as a norm. Importantly, this may be detrimental, and in most cases, it may lead to civilians’ death, but this, according to Johnston, is the price to pay for a country free of corruption.


Can, S. (2017). The Syrian Civil War, sectarianism and political change at the Turkish-Syrian border. Social Anthropology25(2), 174-189.

Dahlberg, S., & Solevid, M. (2016). Does corruption suppress voter turnout?. Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties26(4), 489-510.

Donchev, D., & Ujhelyi, G. (2014). What do corruption indices measure?. Economics & Politics26(2), 309-331.

Ganie-Rochman, M., & Achwan, R. (2016). Corruption in Indonesia’s emerging democracy. Journal of Developing Societies32(2), 159-177.×15625246

Johnston, M. (2014). Corruption, contention, and reform. Cambridge University Press.

Johnston, M. (2015). Making transparency real? Accounting and popular participation in corruption control. Critical Perspectives on Accounting28, 97-101.

Kotera, G., Okada, K., & Samreth, S. (2012). Government size, democracy, and corruption: An empirical investigation. Economic Modelling29(6), 2340-2348.

Pring, C., & Vrushi, J. (2019). Tackling the crisis of democracy, promoting rule of law and fighting…. Retrieved 26 June 2020, from

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