Political Corruption: The Ghana Case

By Victor T. Le Vine | Go to book overview

-- 5 --
Causes and Consequences

Thus far, in presenting a descriptive, process-centered argument, we have only suggested some of the consequences of Ghanaian political corruption and we have deliberately avoided discussion of its causes. The reasons are two-fold: first, these matters are best examined against the background provided in the preceding chapters; and second, questions of cause and effect raise sensitive problems of data limitation and analysis that are best considered separately. Now, confining our analysis to the themes and topics of this study, we shall discuss causes in three contexts of particular relevance to political corruption in Ghana: corruption in traditional societies, the relationship between the growth of corruption in Ghana and the rise of the "new men," and several institutional-structural factors associated with the phenomenon. A brief examination of some of the Ghanaian consequences of corruption concludes the chapter.


The Searchfor Causes

The search for the causes of political corruption has never been an idle academic pursuit. Most analysts have assumed that an understanding of the root causes of corruption may lead to ways to overcome it, or at least to curtail its practices and mitigate its effects to such a degree that it no longer poses a threat to orderly public life. The logic of this assumption is simple: if corruption is a disease of the body politic, then correct diagnosis-which means understanding causes, workings, and effects-can lead to a cure. James C. Scott, for example, hints at a hope for such a cure in his recent comparative study of corruption: "The obstacles to a non-corrupt political order in less

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