Author: Floristeanu, Elena
Date published: April 1, 2010
"... for as the offerer of a bribe, if it be accepted, has vanquished the taker, so the person who refuses it and is not corrupted has vanquished the person offering" (Demosthenes, De corona 247 B.C.) 1. Introduction
Corruption has been and will be a permanent reality, the harmfulness of which hurts both the individual, and the society. The consequences turn this phenomenon into a highly media-covered topic, being used for gaining votes as well. Its adduction for personal or group interests can turn the subject into old news, and the lack of interest can diminish the efforts to combat it. Most of the times, however, its emergence in public debates is proof of the extent of corruption and its degree of nuisance. A theoretical approach to corruption that can stand as the basis for practical means of fighting it or, at least, for population education, implies both a clear definition of the term and finding answers to some of the questions it raises, as well. Although the specialized literature is very reach in theoretical approaches to corruption, we will only mention those that will clarify some of its causes and effects. The corruption's multiple causes, dimensions and effects have made researchers eager to come up with an antidote. The initial question, one with multiple answers and that generates in its turn other questions, deals with the significance of corruption. Hereinafter, no matter the questions and the answers, it is essential that both categories contribute to the phenomenon's diminution.
2. What Is Corruption?
Corruption has begun to be a topic in economic publishing since the early 60s, and at the time there were authors that thought of it as beneficial, from some points of view (Leff, 1964). The neutral sense of the term, without any specific implications is: "deflection from morality, honesty, duty" [I]. A broad definition of corruption is the abusive use of power with the purpose of satisfying personal or group interests . Due to the fact that corruption expands on the goods and services considered to be "public goods" and that it reduces the expected public benefits, some authors consider corruption to be "public evil" (M. Negruç, 2006). This public evil represented by corruption affects persons, companies, fields of activity, national economies as well the global one. With this perspective, it is clear that the phenomenon cannot have a universally accepted definition, as it can be defined by different criteria, including its national and international dimension. According to Vito Tanzi's  definition of corruption, the phenomenon is viewed at macro level, as it stands as an obstacle in state's fulfillment of its functions, in macroeconomic policies, in resource allotment and income and goods redistribution. Although admitting that corruption affects the private sector of the economy as well, Michael Johnston, in an ample study on corruption, defines it as "abuse in public office and resources for private benefits" . The 1999 Law that ratifies the Civil Law Convention on Corruption, mentions the two parties in the phenomenon, the defendant and the plaintiff, the fact that corruption means requesting, offering, giving or accepting, directly or indirectly, a bribe or any other undue advantage or prospect thereof "which distorts the proper performance of any duty or behavior required of the recipient of the bribe, the undue advantage or the prospect thereof . As far as corruption in public office is concerned, the phenomenon is considered to be "abuse of a public servant, no matter his/her status, structure or position in hierarchy, for direct or indirect undue advantages, for a person or a company . Corruption is the means through which people come across resources (influence, money) and manage to get what should be theirs, as tax payers, but that can be supplied by the state to a limited number...