Liberal Democratic Institutions and the Damages of Political Corruption

Les Atelier de l’Éthique/The Ethics Forum, 9 (1), 2014: 126-45

15 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2014 Last revised: 26 Apr 2014

See all articles by Emanuela Ceva

Emanuela Ceva

University of Pavia, Department of Political and Social Sciences

Maria Paola Ferretti

Darmstadt University of Technology

Date Written: March 10, 2014

Abstract

This article contributes to the debate concerning the identification of politically relevant cases of corruption in a democracy by sketching the basic traits of an original liberal theory of institutional corruption. We define this form of corruption as a deviation with respect to the role entrusted to people occupying certain institutional positions, which are crucial for the implementation of public rules, for private gain. In order to illustrate the damages that corrupt behaviour makes to liberal democratic institutions, we discuss the case of health care professionals’ abuse of their right to conscientious objection to abortion services. We show that the conscience clause can be instrumentally abused to sabotage democratically established public rules and thus exert undue private influence on their implementation. In this sense, from a liberal democratic perspective, institutional corruption is problematic because it is disruptive of such fundamental liberal ideals as the impartiality of public institutions and citizens’ political equality.

Keywords: political corruption, liberalism, democracy, impartiality, political equality, conscientious objection, abortion, discrimination

Suggested Citation

Ceva, Emanuela and Ferretti, Maria Paola, Liberal Democratic Institutions and the Damages of Political Corruption (March 10, 2014). Les Atelier de l’Éthique/The Ethics Forum, 9 (1), 2014: 126-45. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2406837 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2406837

Emanuela Ceva (Contact Author)

University of Pavia, Department of Political and Social Sciences ( email )

Corso Strada Nuova, 65
27100 Pavia, 27100
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www-3.unipv.it/webdsps/en/docente.php?id=ceva

Maria Paola Ferretti

Darmstadt University of Technology ( email )

Residenzschloss
Darmstadt, Hesse D-64289
Germany

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