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Edited by Trevor Hopper, Mathew Tsamenyi, Shahzad Uddin and Danture Wickramasinghe
Chapter 13: Corruption in the Developing Countries: ‘Thinking About’ the Role of Accounting
Jeff Everett INTRODUCTION While corruption ‘may never have been compulsory’, as former British prime minister Anthony Eden once said, it certainly remains a significant problem. According to global anti-corruption organizations such as the World Bank and IMF its economic costs alone are staggering, running in the order of between $20 billion and $40 billion each year in the countries of the developing world (Wallid, 2009). With these figures, it is easy to consider corruption as a problem worth eradicating, an unwelcome disease afflicting humankind, and those engaged in the fight, whether they are policy-makers, law enforcement personnel, or even accountants, as upholders of a rather noble purpose. Yet it may be that the definition of the problem and the solutions that follow from it are shaped in unexpected ways by the perspectives and assumptions adopted by those examining the problem.1 Consequently, the ‘global fight’ (Burger and Holland, 2006) against corruption may be less virtuous, and certainly less objective, than is sometimes thought. Indeed, those who argue that the fight has an uncommon fascination for neoliberals (Hasty, 2005) or who suggest that the fight is taking place behind a hollow veneer (Bukovansky, 2006) would be inclined to suggest that behind the fight is a politically motivated set of purposes, namely the legitimation and global spread of market practices and ideologies, and a resulting circumscription of the duties and obligations of the actors involved in it. This chapter examines this shaping process, and the way that corruption is ‘thought about’ (DeLeon, 1993)...
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