Janez Kranjc

I am a Professor Emeritus of the University of Ljubljana where I worked for 45 years. Currently, I am endeavouring to accomplish some research in different areas. Some years ago I have started to examine the phenomenon of corruption. I came across this
societal problem when I read texts from classical Antiquity giving evidence of corruptive practices. The other reason for being interested in the problem of corruption is the present situation in Slovenia and in other European countries, especially in those, which experienced the transition from the totalitarian political system into democracy and free-market economy. The reports of the Transparency International show that there is no society without corruption. Nevertheless, there are big differences. Especially the transition from a totalitarian into democratic society can bring with itself the “privatization” of former state institutions and a creation of informal networks governing informally from behind and without any democratic legitimation. A systemic corruption can undermine democratic institutions depriving them of the real power and reducing them into pure forms. I did some initial research in this field during my stay at the University Carlos III in Madrid. During my stay in New York I would like to bring it to an end and to publish the results in a book.

 

Research Project

Corruption – a Deviation or an Inherent Part of Human Society? - Some Legal and Historical Considerations. During my stay in New York I would like to deepen my past research of the phenomenon of corruption in its historical, legal, and societal perspective. Corruption is regarded as one of the main, if not the main, problem of the modern society. It destroys the stability of the social system by undermining social cohesion, distorting economic relations, and weakening the efficiency of the legal system. It is one of the most important causes of poverty because “higher levels of corruption are associated with lower per capita income” (World Bank 2001, p. 105), a true crime against humanity and an economic crime damaging peace and security (Frank Vogel, Waging War on Corruption). It works as the AIDS of the society, destroying it from within, weakening its cohesion, and undermining its stability. It is a practical negation of the principle of equality which is the foundation of a functioning legal system. It results in an illegal and informal redistribution of social wealth and induces a revision of democratic institutions and their competencies. Corruption can be traced back to the beginnings of the history of mankind. It is not limited to a particular civilization and seems to be inherent to human society. Like crime, hatred, intolerance, and other human vices corruption can be regarded as inherently human. Several questions arise from this conclusion. Why has this phenomenon, apparently inherent in human society, obtained such an importance in recent times? Has it just recently got more intense, sophisticated, and worse or has the society only become more sensitive to it and more efficient in combating it? Why has the perception of corruption broadened to go beyond its traditional manifestations, namely bribery, and extortion? The basic question that arises from the apparent permanence of corruption is the question about the reason for researching this phenomenon and for seeking ways to remedy the problem. If corruption– like intolerance, crime or social inequality – is inherent to human society then waging war on corruption and trying to eradicate it might seem hopeless. It might even seem that analyzing corruption and seeking its origins and causes makes little sense. Yet the situation is not that simple. Corruption is and remains a social evil we have to face and combat. It cannot be eradicated but it is possible and necessary to curb it. And above all, it is necessary to make people aware of it and of the necessity to combat it. Although corruption seems to be omnipresent and permanent the situation differs from country to country and from region to region. Its presence in a given society can vary in its intensity and harmfulness. In order to reduce corruption it is therefore necessary to determine the mechanisms that stimulate or restrain it. To launch an efficient action aimed at reducing or even eliminating corruptive practices it is necessary to know how corruption works. In this context a historical analysis can be of a particular importance. Historical distance can show true dimensions of particular phenomena and can also show their internal dynamics and characteristics. A historical examination of corruptive behavior is thus necessary if we want to see it in its complexity and variety. In my research I would like to: 1. Define the phenomenon of corruption 2. Examine different types of corruption, in particular systemic corruption and the so called state capture. 3. Examine the mechanism of corruption 4. Identify the main reasons for corruption 5. Examine the main international legal documents addressing the problem of corruption 6. Endeavor the answer to the questions: What to do? and Can the law provide an efficient remedy?