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The concept of state capture in anti-corruption studies

By 23rd Feb 2021Feb 2nd, 2023No Comments

First published in 2017, this explanation of the origins and true meaning of state capture is now a classic.

Key takeaway: State capture is the method by which access is established, procurement fraud is the method by which corrupt gains are acquired. 

Shrug. Roll eyes. ‘Captured’. One word says it all, whether we are referring to an overly-flattering review by an art critic, favouritism shown by a supervisor to an employee or a teenager’s infatuation with a new love interest. And so it is in the country from which I write, where the concept of a captured state pervades our daily conversations. ‘Captured’ seems to have all but replaced ‘captivated’, ‘biased’, ‘predisposed’, ‘spellbound’, ‘mesmerised’, ‘enthralled’ and even ‘bewitched’: just a few of the many words we might otherwise use to describe that state of being in which our attention is focused exclusively on one person, pursuit or position, at the expense of the many and despite dissenting opinion.

Surely then, it is time to give the origins of the concept of state capture a closer examination. This article, based on a review of the international anti-corruption literature, offers a back to basics overview of the phenomenon.

Unbundling the broad concept of corruption

Anti-corruption literature distinguishes between different types of corruption with different causes, costs and consequences.

For example, when talking about acts of bribery, it is often ‘petty corruption’ or ‘administrative corruption‘ that comes to mind: unofficial payments made by individuals or businesses at lower levels of government…

Read more here.

Penny Milner-Smyth

Author Penny Milner-Smyth

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