STEVEN FRIEDMAN: New ways are needed to deal with deeply entrenched corruption
Common remedies do not work because their quick-and-easy solutions get the problem wrong
How do you tackle a problem if you don’t know — or care — what caused it? It was only a matter of time before discussion of the government’s response to Covid-19 fixated on corruption. The national debate isn’t at home with asking whether many illnesses and deaths could be prevented. It is very comfortable with corruption because everyone knows how to respond to it (by indignantly repeating what they said last time the subject came up).
So familiar are people with talking about corruption that they don’t need to talk about why it happens — they already know. At a discussion last week the biggest cheers were reserved for a prominent person who insisted we had no business analysing why corruption happened; we should simply get on with preventing it.