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New PDF release: An Intellectual History of Political Corruption

By Bruce Buchan, Lisa Hill (auth.)

ISBN-10: 1137316616

ISBN-13: 9781137316615

ISBN-10: 1349339121

ISBN-13: 9781349339129

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They tended to be concentrated in certain areas, however, leaving vacuums in others that were filled by patronage. 140 This situation gave rise to specific forms of abuse that contemporaries understood as types of public office corruption. 2. Extortion Reports of extortion were very common in classical literature. 144 Away from the centre of Rome and off in the Provinces, governors had almost free rein to do as they pleased. Roman soldiers had myriad opportunities for extortion among native populations: they collected and enforced taxation, occupied clerical positions on the staff of provincial governors and were assigned to supply the legions.

Another complicating and confusing factor here is that, even in the literary sources that communicate a high morality about corruption, there are still conflicting viewpoints, not only between authors, but also between statements made by the same author. Hypereides may be sure that taking a pick home from work to use in one’s own garden constitutes an abuse of office, yet Xenophon seems just as certain that there is nothing wrong in Glaucon exploiting his newly conferred public office to ‘get what [he] wants’ and enrich his friends.

Oute pante, outa pantote, oute para panton [not all, nor always, nor from all]’. After all, ‘it is too uncivil to accept from nobody, but contemptible to take from every quarter, and grasping, to accept everything’. 256 7. Conclusion Rome – and to a lesser extent, Athens – may have been a pioneer of modern bureaucracy and governance, but they could not lay claim to the kind of ethic of public administration we are familiar with in industrialised democracies today, one that emphasises a firm distinction between public and private interests.

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An Intellectual History of Political Corruption by Bruce Buchan, Lisa Hill (auth.)


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