This is used more in a medical sense, but it lends itself to the discussion at hand because the people who become corrupted were not always that way (as would be the case with a genetic predisposition to corruption), but they became corrupted because of the atmosphere in which they lived. This means that the political atmosphere in which Tsang and Tang found themselves allowed the corrupting influence, rather than there being some corrupting gene which they inherited. This is important because the corruption that happens often seems to be a character flaw that is natural to the person. The truth is that many people who might otherwise have been honest and straight forward their entire lives, somehow fall into situations that foster corrupt behavior.
A History of Corruption
The primary point of this paper is that there is corruption in government and that it happens in every corner of the globe. In Hong Kong, as has been illustrated already, there are forces that work to corrupt political allies for their own financial gain. Hong Kong is by no means alone in this particular brand of corruption which should not be a surprise. The fact that there have been many corrupt dealings with political entities in other countries is the subject of this section.
The United States has long been a nation envied by the rest of the world for its economy, but the government has also been the victim of a long list of economic chicanery. It came as small surprise to many that the nation would fall under a national economic downturn (which quickly turned into a global issue) because of the governance of the country's financial system. Wall Street, as the financial district in New York is called, is rife with large brokerage houses and impressive stock exchanges. The financial sector speculated heavily on mortgages which, in part, led to a partial collapse of the economy. Part of the problem was that the financial institutions and the United States government worked together in a corrupt fashion because they believed that the housing boom they had been experiencing would never end. Unfortunately, it did end, and that exposed the government to a great deal of scrutiny from the rest o the world.
The problem is that the government has not worked hard enough to correct the problems that were at the root of the financial crisis. This has been addressed by an international financial policing body, the FATF, of which the United States is a prominent member. Recently, the FATF issued edicts that would oblige financial institutions to identify customers who are domestic political figures and to treat those that pose "higher risks" of corruption in the same manner as their foreign counterparts. In such cases, the FATF recommends getting senior management approval for the accounts, determining the source of the account-holder's funds, and monitoring their accounts closely.[footnoteRef:9] [9: Brett Wolf, 'U.S. Financial Institutions seen Lacking Anti-Corruption Policies for Domestic Politicians' (2012) 3 News & Insight]
This effort is aimed at eliminating some of the corruption in the political realm by policing not only the politicians that could be involved in shady dealings, but also look into the financial transactions of family members to see if they are suspect also. The issue here is that the family member could influence the politician to conduct business with someone who would lead them into corrupt practices.[footnoteRef:10] [10: Adefolake O. Adeyeye, Perspectives on Anti-Corruption (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2012)]
Canada seems to be a country where very low levels of political corruption take place because it is a relative backwater with its small population and relatively small international influence. However, when it comes to corruption that affects the people of the country directly, it is no different than many larger nations that are known for political malfeasance. In an article for The Whig an online political newspaper, Duff Conacher said that "Beyond the recent contracting scandals in Ontario and Quebec, loopholes in laws across the country allow secret and unlimited donations of money, property and services to political candidates (as long as they don't use the donation for their campaign)."[footnoteRef:11] Canada has three main political parties that have ruled at different times in the recent past (much like Great Britain). The system remains very British, as does that of Hong Kong, and they have only recently started to deal with the corruption that seems to be inherent in the system. As discussed in the quote, one of the major problems that the country is currently dealing with is the idea of political parties being influenced by wealthy donors who may wish to curry favor. This proves that politicians are watched both for what they are doing and for what they may do. The idea is to make sure that there is not even the idea that something is being done improperly. Influence peddling through election contributions is one of the most widespread of problems that occurs in this realm. [11: Duff Conacher, 'Canada has More Political Corruption than it Should' The Whig (Ottawa 18 November 2009)]
Another Western-style democracy, Australia, has a history that speaks directly to corruption. The country was first formed by Great Britain as penal colony, and the government officials were generally sent there as a punishment also. One group of researchers found that "Australia & #8230; inherited the world's first electoral successful working-class mass party in a political culture where 'mateship' ideology probably facilitated various forms of favoritism."[footnoteRef:12] The theory in Australian politics is that because of the prevailing camaraderie in the country, politics were designed to follow the same pattern. People in the culture, especially men, were geared from childhood to form close relationships. These friendships continued through childhood into adulthood, and whatever business or political ventures the "mates" aspired to, they were able to call upon each other for help. This established a form of cronyism, such as was first fostered in the United States by President Andrew Jackson, within which mates doled out and accepted favors for help in the campaign and administration. [12: Arnold J. Heidenheimer and Michael Johnston, Political Corruption: Concepts and Contexts (Transaction Publishers New Brunswick, New Jersey 2009)]
The small country of Singapore is closer to Hong Kong than any of the countries already mentioned because although Hong Kong had its beginnings in the British system, the Asian culture is much more prominent than the Western one. Singapore has the same sort of dichotomy to its politics. Singapore has been deemed as the Asian country with the lowest amount of political corruption among the developed Asian nations by Political and Economic Risk Consultancy and Transparency International. The reason that Singapore has received this distinction is that during the colonial period of the state, there was rampant corruption within the political body. Eventually, political parties that had allowed the corruption to continue were ousted by the people, and new leaders were put in place with a mandate to eliminate the corruption inherent in their system. In a later section these fixes will be detailed.[footnoteRef:13] [13: Jon S.T. Quah, 'Combatting Corruption in Singapore: What can be Learned?' (2001) 9 Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management 29, 35]
Another well-known incidence of political corruption happened in the Philippines. Ferdinand Marcos used the presidency of the Philippines as a money making venture. One researcher stated that
Marcos, of course, took corruption to unprecedented heights through systematic plundering of the Philippine economy. Members of the Marcos family and key associates accrued tremendous wealth from bribe-taking and kickbacks from crony monopolies. They also diverted government loans and contracts into their own pockets, made fortunes from profits from over-priced goods and construction projects, and directly skimmed from the public trough.[footnoteRef:14] [14: Clarence Henderson, 'Philippine Politics and Corruption: A Sociopolitical Digression' accessed 10 August 2012]
Ferdinand and Isabella, along with the rest of their family, plundered the treasury for personal gain while their people starved and lived in garbage dumps. The further issue here is that they did this with the knowledge of the United States and other Western powers, and were allowed to continue unchecked for many years. Sometimes the reason that corruption is allowed to continue by people who are relatively blameless in their own dealings is that the parties perpetrating the corruption are able to provide something that the others need. In the case of the Philippines, Marcos was able to provide a stable Eastern government for the Western powers to use as a base of operations. Eventually, the corruption became too much for these powers, and they helped to institute reforms in the country.
The primary issue of political country in another Asian country, South Korea, is very similar to a political situation that was the mainstay of U.S. politics until the latter part of the twentieth century. In Korea
Those who sought political office must have offered sizable amounts of money to their party boss. The bosses were the three Kims…