OPINION

Curb the state to tackle corruption

It is true that corruption existed long before the current New Democracy administration came to power. And, unfortunately, it appears all too evident that it will exist again when ND eventually leaves power. But this is not the fundamental problem. More worrying than that are the explanations being offered by ND cadres in relation to the phenomenon of corruption – the conversations about scheming, about who denounced whom and when. And these discussions seem to indicate quite clearly that the basic body of ND cadres is not only unable to see the solution but does not even have a proper grasp of the problem. ND’s basic strategy in tackling corruption over the past few years has been quite simple – attribute it to «big bad PASOK.» And the impression that this strategy has left upon the Greek public is that a simple change in government is enough to tackle all the ailments of public life. It has been demonstrated that corruption has no particular color; it is inherent in the state sector. Whether they are green (PASOK) or blue (ND), all cadres have the same chance of being drawn into corruption, and when the current administration has been in power for a bit longer, it will become evident that incidences of corruption in each party are roughly equal in number. But a larger problem is the political conclusions being drawn within ND after the fifth (or is it the sixth?) serious instance of corruption that has come to light in its three years in power. Some even remarked that the peerless ND has been tainted by the corrupt PASOK – misleading nonsense. The virus is a general one and it’s called statism. If no party embraces the logic of reducing state influence in public life and boosting privatization – despite its occasional proclamations to the contrary – the instances of corruption will recur and the two main parties will simply keep comparing wounds. Corruption is an inevitable consequence of the state – of whichever state. However many laws we make, just as many new methods of corruption will be devised. It is hardly admirable but certainly human. The only solution is to have a smaller state.