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Is country-scale corruption possible without a big government?

  1. Nov 4, 2013 #1
    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?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 4, 2013 #2


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    Gold Member

    I cannot understand your question. It may be possible to gain some insight into the subject you've raised here:
    “Transparency International is the world’s foremost organization on fighting corruption. It has 90 chapters worldwide, which aim to raise awareness and establish methods of tackling corruption and measuring its harmful effects.”
  4. Nov 4, 2013 #3
    Are there historical examples of countries with high corruption and a small government?
  5. Nov 4, 2013 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    Of course there are, think of small towns where all officials are corrupt and run the town. Size has nothing to do with corruption. Think of small countries in Africa.

    You need to do more research if you want to start a thread about the subject.
  6. Nov 5, 2013 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    Dictatorships are the ultimate example of this: tiny governments, total corruption.
  7. Nov 5, 2013 #6

    D H

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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Corruption knows no bounds. It works at large scale and small scale. Small scale:

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
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