Why don't we stand against corruption

White-collar crime - corruption

Anke Martiny

To person

Dr. phil., born 1939; Journalist, 1972-1989 member of the German Bundestag (SPD); after political activity in Berlin and Israel since 1998 participation in the German section of Transparency International, Munich; there responsible for the area of ​​health.


Address: Bergham 9, 84104 Rudelzhausen, Germany.
e-mail: [email protected]

Publications including: Who does not fight has already lost. Women and the Courage to Power, Reinbek 1986; Israel - and you are amazed every day. Interior views of violence and hope, Freiburg 1995.

Corruption is taking advantage of a position of power for one's own benefit, but to the detriment of many others. Corruption undermines people's trust in the state.

Power and morality

Questions about right and wrong in a society are often all too quickly and all too exclusively viewed as ethical and moral questions for which the metaphysical superstructure - that is, philosophy and religion - provide the categories. At the same time, they are at least as central in the focus of the legal-political order that forms the foundation of a society and shapes it. Law and justice are intended to protect citizens, especially the weaker among them who have neither the money nor the power to exercise social influence. "With right things" should happen in the society in which we want to live. We find it "fair" that people get what they are legally entitled to. We are happy to be able to live in a democratic and social constitutional state that gives its citizens rights. Generations of our ancestors since the Enlightenment have fought for it with great conflict. In other parts of the world, even today, there are often only rudimentary bases of this kind - if at all.

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  • At the same time, we also measure two different standards. Everyone agrees when it is said that it is immoral and unjust to bribe others or to allow oneself to be bribed. But the question of the legal framework in which this happens is by no means posed by those social forces that pursue their goals through bribery with such vehemence as their moral indignation expresses itself. Economic competition, social balance of interests, tax advantages, health and consumer protection are fields in which there are stronger and weaker parties and in which the stronger would like to enforce their idea of ​​"law and justice" in their favor. Often with the means of corruption - but of course under the guise of decency. Corruption is a phenomenon of the abuse of power that seems to be inevitable in the coexistence of people since they established rules for their communities and sanctioned the enforcement of these rules with penalties.