According to Transparency International, Brazil appears as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Of 91 analyzed countries, Brazil occupies the 69% place. In Brazil, corruption is historical, was naturalized, you can even say it was considered as a natural given, and it is attacked only later after it occurred and reached many millions of dollars and enjoys widespread impunity. The data are startling: according to Fiesp (Federation of Industries of Sao Paulo) each year it represents 84.5 billion reais. If this amount were applied on health, it would raise by 89% the number of beds in hospitals, on education, it would be able to open up 16 million new vacancies in schools, and if applied in building, it would enable to build 1.5 million homes.
Only this information already denounces the gravity of the crime against society that corruption represents. If they lived in China many corrupt eventually would be hanged for crimes against the popular economy. Every day, more and more facts are now denounced as the most recent one of Carlinhos Cachoeira that to ensure his business has infiltrated people corrupting the political, police and even government. But doesn’t matter to laugh or cry. It’s important to understand this wicked criminal prosecution.
How do you explain corruption in Brazil? I identify three basic reasons among others: the historical, the political and the cultural.
The historical: we are heirs to a legacy of colonialism and evil slavery that marked our habits. The colonization and slavery are violent and unjust institutions. So to survive and keep the least freedom , the people were taken to corrupt. It means to bribe, to curry favor by trading, embezzlement (illegal favoring with public money) or nepotism. This practice originated the Brazilian way, a form of navigation in an unequal and unjust society and the law of Gerson which means taking personal advantage of everything.
The political: the basis of political corruption lies in patrimonialism, in indigent democracy and capitalism without rules. In patrimonialism it is impossible to distinguish from private to public sphere. The elites have treated the public thing as theirs and organized the state structures and laws that serve their interests without thinking about the common good. There is a neopatrimonialism the current policy that gives advantages (concessions, means of communication) to political cronies.
Cultural: The culture dictates socially recognized rules. Roberto Pompeu de Toledo wrote in Veja magazine in 1994: “Today we know that corruption is part of our system of power as much as rice and beans in our meals.” The corrupt are seen as smart and not as criminals which is what they really are. As a rule we can say: the more unequal and unjust is a state and on top of that, centralized and bureaucratized as Brazil, the more it creates a cultural melting pot that allows and tolerates corruption.
Why is that? Hobbes in his Leviathan (1651) beckons us to a plausible answer: “I note, as a general trend of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power and more power that ceases only with death, the reason lies in the fact we can not guarantee power but by seeking more power.” Unfortunately that’s what happened with the PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores). They raised the standard of ethics and social transformation. But instead of relying on the power of civil society and the movement and create a new hegemony, they chose the short path of alliances and agreements with the corrupt ruling power. They guaranteed governance at a price to sell political relations and to abandon the flag of ethics. A dream of a generations was frustrated.
How to fight corruption? By full transparency, by increasing the amount of reliable auditors that attack corruption before it happens. The World Economic Forum informs us that Denmark and the Netherlands have 100 auditors per 100,000 population; Brazil only 12,800, while it would need at least 160,000. And fight for a less unequal and unjust democracy that if it stays like that will always be corrupt and corrupting.
From Leonardo Boff, in http://www.jb.com.br/leonardo-boff/noticias/2012/04/15/corrupcao-crime-contra-a-sociedade/