Despite a widespread discourse in favour of ‘contextual’ explanations, corruption and anticorruption are still conceptualized at the level of individuals, in other words in a social context where corruption is exceptional and the norm of ethical universalism already enshrined. But clearly this is not the case when corruption is a policy problem. As the social context proves to be the level where causes of corruption become manifest, the behaviouralist approach to corruption as an individual choice – without being necessarily wrong – applies only to a minority of situations (where corruption is an exception), and nowhere else. If we admit the evidence that individual choice is largely dependent on the social context, we in fact agree that little individual choice exists.
Driven by an international agenda, the act of ‘rethinking’ corruption has already taken place more than once in the past two decades, contributing further to a post-truth about corruption than to anything else. This book makes a clear argument in favor of rethinking corruption across any contingency and offers a forecasting method, alongside the latest generation of analytical, fact-based tools to map, assess and predict corruption risk.
Recent evidence shows that Germany is a laggard on anticorruption policies in Europe. This is acknowledged by OECD, as Germany’s implementation of the anti-bribery convention is no longer convincing, by the Council of Europe, whose GRECO body has labelled Germany’s compliance as unsatisfactory and by the German media and civil society. The new data on transparency and public accountability produced by our centre shows that GRECO is right, and Germany falls below the European average at most public accountability regulations. Moreover, while the EU asks accession countries to have a pro-active policy related to corruption scandals, Germany repeatedly failed to do so. The new government should propose a comprehensive anticorruption policy plan, implement GRECO recommendations on conflict of interest for politicians in full and revive the attempt to make businesses truly responsible for corruption. The new majority in the Bundestag should also move decisively to have anti-corruption institutions truly independent and acting far more decisively and prompt against a large set of practices amounting to systematic undue profit from political connections. The elections winners should propose a comprehensive anticorruption policy plan, implement GRECO recommendations on conflict of interest for politicians in full and revive the attempt to make businesses truly responsible for corruption. The new majority in the Bundestag should also move decisively to have anti-corruption institutions truly autonomous so that investigations are prompt and independent of political considerations. But as the Green Party proposed the only comprehensive plan against corruption this might not happen.