What is corruption?

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On May 12 the World Corruption Summit will take place in London. The Tax Justice Network conference, taking place today and tomorrow, is focussing on the issue of corruption, which it defines as follows:

Corruption is the abuse of public interest and the undermining of public confidence in the integrity of rules, systems and institutions that promote the public interest.

This definition is broader than those offered by the likes of Transparency International, who suggest it is “the misuse of entrusted power for private gain” or the World Bank’s “the abuse of public office for private gain”. This is important. These very narrow definitions are themselves usually interpreted quite narrowly. What we need is a much broader perspective on this issue and in the context of May 12 this is vital: unless the definitions used are appropriate the outcomes of that conference will be inadequate.

I confess I am not confident that the appropriate  definition will be used, and would suggest that if it is not that will, in itself, be a form of corruption.