Debating Corruption and Anticorruption in History
The introduction to this volume focuses on historiography, methodology and conclusions. It explains how anticorruption has seldom been treated as a historical subject except as the occasional counterpart of corruption; instead, policy makers and social scientists have linked anticorruption and good government to the historical development of democracy and Weberian-style bureaucracy, all emblematic aspects of countries consistently ranked among the least corrupt in the world. This hypothesis has struck most historians involved in this volume as either circular or at least teleological. In response, they have sought to show that efforts to control corruption are not an exclusively Western-European or modern phenomenon; rather, the history of anticorruption is far more complex and diverse. In addition, they also outline how anticorruption is an inherently political issue, related to changing power relations and acute political crises, and that fighting corruption is historically difficult to evaluate in terms of success or failure.
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