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Domestic Corruption in International Disasters

  • By: David E. Alexander
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

The term corrupt is derived from the Latin verb corrumpere, meaning “collectively to destroy.” Synonyms include graft, sleaze (United Kingdom), and kickback. The term indicates a state of moral depravity possibly involving illegal activities or affairs. A further, perhaps more limited, definition offered by the civil society organization Transparency International is “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.”

Although corruption can occur in any activity, it is concentrated in and around the underground economy (also known as the black economy or, perhaps euphemistically, the informal economy). It is estimated that almost a fifth of world trade is illegal; about half of this portion is connected with narcotics (including money laundering, the recirculation of illegal gains through licit activities), while much of the rest is bound ...

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