A big government (characterized by a significant spending as % of GDP, like the European governments, US, Canada, Japan, etc...) obviously makes it easier for a wide-scale corruption to exist. In Portugal, Italy, Greece, among others, this is where the corruption is coming from. Corruption shows up in the form of, for example, subsidizing and helping companies whose CEO has connections in politics (like private schools, hospitals, banks, etc...) and monopolies that exist because of government intervention (energy market in Portugal for example). Basically there's a misuse of political power to support private interests. In US, many banks obviously use the power of government for their own benefit. Now, on my question: are there historical examples of significant corruption on the scale of a country, without big government? If the state is very small, won't be the big companies the ones "making the rules", and exert their power onto others, for their own benefit?