Webinar: Conferencia ‘La maldición de la corrupción: retos urgentes para las iglesias’ – 26 julio, 2018, published on YouTube 31 July 2018.
Despite billions of dollars working inthe anti-corruption industry, corruption remains as elusive and intractable asever – until now.
Deliver Us from Evil is a fresh perspective on how corruption can be reduced by addressing the ethical and cultural roots that underlie it. While laying out a comprehensive explanation of the cultural causes and society-wide effects of corruption,Deliver Us from Evil explains why corruption has not been reduced through traditional institutional reform and explores the role of the Christian church as a fundamental agent of cultural change in Latin America.
The text weaves together a large-scale global perspective with a nuanced explanation of the details of corruption’s causes and impact. It categorizes the many forms of corruption, introduces key players, outlines the history of institutional reform with reasons for its limited success, and presents compelling academic and Biblical evidence for the Christian church to step in as a new key player.
Deliver Us from Evil sends the powerful message that the next step to solving the complex issue of corruption is a profoundly contextualized,multi-dimensional solution that goes beyond the boundaries of institutions and instead,changes the heart of society.
Roberto Laver is an international lawyer who brings his thirty years of experience in law and development, non-profit leadership, and academia to bear in this much-needed presentation of the cultural roots and solution to corruption.
Deliver Us from Evil is a mini book version of the extended, Spanish-language book Libranos del Mal.
Find Deliver Us from Evil at Regnum Books, an imprint of the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies.
Source: Facebook live video, Seminario Internacional Teologico Bautista, posted 5:19 PM, October 17, 2018.
When I joined the World Bank (the Bank) in 1989, corruption was a taboo subject. For its own lending operations, the Bank had legal safeguards against the misuse of funds. But corruption was not openly recognized or addressed as a major obstacle to development and poverty reduction. This attitude generally characterized other international development agencies as well. While the Bank gave increased attention to the concept of governance, the “c” word was too sensitive—deemed a “political matter” outside of the Bank’s legal mandate….
Interview of Roberto Laver by Juan Pablo Bongarrá. Streamed live on La Puerta Abierta on April 25th, 2018.
Originally broadcast April 25th, 2018. La Puerta Abierta. Rosario de Santa fe, Argentina: Canal Luz and DirecTV Channel 127.
Líbranos del mal: La corrupción y el desafío para la fe y la iglesia cristiana en América Latina
Deliver us from Evil: Corruption and a Challenge to the Christian Faith and Church in Latin America
By Roberto Laver
Despite billions of dollars invested in anticorruption reform worldwide, corruption remains as elusive and intractable as ever – until now.
“Líbranos del Mal” is a fresh perspective on how corruption can be reduced by addressing the ethical and cultural roots that underlie it. While laying out a comprehensive explanation of the cultural causes and society-wide effects of corruption, “Líbranos del Mal” explains why corruption has not been reduced through traditional institutional reform s and explores the role of the Christian faith and the church as a transformational agent of social and cultural change in Latin America.
The Spanish-language text speaks directly to its core audience as it weaves together a large-scale global perspective with a nuanced explanation of the details of corruption ’s causes and impact. It categorizes the many forms of corruption, introduces key players, outlines the logic and record of institutional reform with reasons for its limited success, and presents compelling academic and Biblical evidence for the Christian church to step in as a stronger player.
“Líbranos del Mal” sends the powerful message that the next step to solving the complex issue of corruption is a profoundly contextualized, multi-dimensional solution that goes beyond the boundaries of institutions and instead, changes the heart of society.
Corruption affects us all. Resources are used for the wrong purposes and are unfairly divided. It weakens our democracy and trust in our leaders. It eats away at our ethics and corrodes our moral fibre. It discourages public and private investment. It slows down economic growth and development.
The annual cost of corruption is estimated as $1 trillion.
Official global aid flows in 2016 were $146 billion.
The cost of corruption in Africa alone is estimated at US$ 148 billion a year, 25% of the continent’s GDP and about 300% of foreign aid it receives. Two thirds of all countries surveyed score below 50 (out of 100) on TI’s Annual Corruption Perception Index.
Most importantly, corruption is especially damaging to the poor and is referred to, by the World Bank, as “the greatest obstacle to reducing poverty”. Studies show that poor people pay larger shares of their income in bribes than richer people and are discriminated against in their access to public services. Resources intended for the poor, including international aid, are diverted to enrich corrupt elites. According to Transparency International, “[T]he poor, whether in developing or highly industrialized countries, are the most penalized by corruption. They are also more pessimistic about the prospects for less corruption in the future.”
A leader of Tearfund shares, “We know from our work in Africa, Asia, and Latin America that it is the poorest and most vulnerable people who suffer the most as a result of bribery.”
Corruption undermines church efforts for relief and development. In the last decades, the global church has expanded its mission programs to assist poor communities through education, health, agricultural, micro-finance, and other poverty alleviation programs. These efforts, however, are adversely impacted by corrupt practices that are endemic and pervasive in the respective communities. This may take the form of financial corruption, such as bribery and embezzlement of funds, or other non-financial forms such as unfair use and allocation of resources and opportunities through in-group favoritism and nepotism.
There are many definitions of corruption, but the most common definition is:
The abuse of entrusted authority for private gain.
Corruption crosses all sectors – public, private, and social. Corruption comes in many forms such as bribery and embezzlement, but also includes other practices that do not involve money, like unfair favoritism and nepotism. Each form of corruption gives undue and illicit advantages and benefits.
Also, corruption can be found at all levels; both at a high political and business level (“grand corruption”) and as a part of the daily lives of the common people like small bribes, skimmed paychecks, absentee employees and nepotism in bureaucratic appointments (“petty corruption”). Common to all corruption practices is a violation of trust, an undermining of the common good or interest of the community or society.
Corruption is not an isolated phenomenon found within one specific institution, sector or group – it is pervasive and entrenched in all levels of society. Formal laws try to control corrupt activity, but their enforcement is absent or weak. Institutions of accountability also exist but they are ineffective. Public officials abuse power, and are not deterred nor controlled by state-based accountability institutions or other accountability organizations.
For even more definitions and concepts about corruption, see Transparency International’s Interactive Glossary.
I don’t like corruption. I am disappointed that I can’t trust the police to protect my rights. I dislike my government using my taxes to build private empires rather than public infrastructure. But on the other hand, I actually don’t mind paying a little something to get out of legal trouble. It’s nice when someone in my network uses their influence to get me a job I am not exactly qualified for. Truthfully, it’s not that I dislike corruption itself – I simply don’t like corruption when others use it to get ahead of me, and I suffer its negative consequences.
Corruption has maintained its deep influence because we actually value what it can do for us.
If we are on top, corruption becomes our tool to maintain that position. We use money, power, and favors to convince others to be on our team. “Getting things done” means a little bit of twisting arms and promising fortune to people who cooperate. When we are on the bottom, corruption becomes a source of advantage over our peers. In today’s competitive landscape, we feel forced to do anything we can to get ahead. And because society at large has not condemned petty bribery, influence peddling, and nepotism (only publicly condemned when rich political officials do it), such practices have become the norm for conducting day to day life.
Corruption has become an unspoken source of social capital used to springboard into a good situation or leverage out of a sticky one.
Its prevalence is difficult to estimate and its influence is even more difficult to undermine because it has become intricately tied to the daily operation of our educational, political, and business ecosystems.
But its prevalence has not sounded society’s alarm. We have not yet come to terms with how extensively destructive corruption can be. Today, we roll our eyes and knowingly sigh when we hear our neighbor talk about paying off the police. We shrug it away: “Well, that’s just how it is here.” But that shrug means that we believe there is no chance for change. We have come to expect corruption, and simply dream to one day be in control of those purse-strings ourselves. But if we truly want our public services to be fair, our police to be responsive, and our taxes to flow through proper channels, we need to stop shrugging away corruption and begin talking about corruption as the oppressive power brokering that it is.
The Faith and Public Integrity Network produces Corruption and Faith Country Profiles. These profiles take a deep dive into a country’s Christian and Corruption characteristics. Their striking side-by-side analysis provides a compelling view into the potential of revitalizing the church to shift the status of corruption in a country.