Systemic corruption of politicians

Can there be a crystal clear politician, or can politics grind everyone? The last case of Minister Drobil apparently showed us that corruption is a systemic problem of state administration. How does the economy view it?

Corruption - a political evergreen
Corruption - a political evergreen

"The more laws and regulations are laid down, the more thieves and robbers are."

- Lao Tse

In fact, Minister Drobil fell victim to the laws (principles) that apply in the functioning of the state administration.

The problem of the master and the administrator and the rational ignorance of the voters

A relatively important character in the whole story is Mr. Knutig, Advisor to Minister Drobil. This person is in the current case administrator, Minister Drobil his Mr.

The first to access the information, ie the first to negotiate with Mr Michálek, was Knutig - administrator. Only he subsequently informed his master.

Minister Drobil acted only according to the information he received from his administrator. The administrator has quite a lot of power - it is mainly up to him how the master will act. After all - Mr Knutig said in one reaction that he had lied to Minister Drobilov.

But that's not all. Mr. Drobil is not just Mr in his office, but also administrator towards us, the voters (when we are Gentlemen). The voter is, of course, the one at the end of the chain - that is The voter is the one who has the most distorted information.

However, not only this fact is responsible for the voter's lack of information - tell yourself, what will change one of your voting votes? How much time, on the other hand, would cost you to get all the information you needto be able to judge all political cases well?

It is quite to ignore rational politics to some extent. It is rational that we give a chance to the media and other commentators. It's the same as not understanding computers and wanting to buy one - then indulging in the seller's knowledge. In the same way - in the political field - we indulge in information from the media.

In fact, we have a highly inefficient system here - those who should have the most information have the least. The system set up in this way must clearly lead to corruption.

Motivation and bureaucracy

We must realize that even a politician maximizes his benefit - just like a baker or butcher. It tries to start from the situation in which it is currently with the maximum possible benefit for itself, ie so that it works in accordance with self-interest. In the case of a politician, it is most likely an effort to maximize the possibility of re-election, that is maintaining your power.

Maintaining power is a process linked to expanding government spending and increasing bureaucracy.

To some extent, bureaucracies are comfortable with the government and creating an environment in harmony with each other - but mainly thanks to bureaucracy, politicians can influence the running of the whole country from their table. However, even for politicians, a certain limit of bureaucracy can be unpleasant - even if its size makes politics dependent on the whole bureaucratic network.

The politician thus tries to maintain an effective level of bureaucratic burden, but on the other hand, bureaucrats try to maximize the budget of their department (maximizing the profit of the bureaucrat), while being very resistant to the political effort to reduce bureaucratic burden. also thanks to the problem of the master and the administrator and the already described information asymmetry.

In the case of Drobil's case, we can observe the two phenomena:

If Drobil tried to raise funds for the ODS budget through Knutiga and the SEF, it was for acquisition resources that should be used to maintain power. At the same time, however, bureaucrat Michálek obtained recordings that they could serve to maintain or improve its bureaucratic position.

Annuity mining

We have already said that a politician - like a baker, for example - is trying to maximize his benefit. The difference between a baker and a politician is - a politician handles money that is not his and redistributes it to someone he doesn't really know.

This creates a perfect space for mining rents, which is divided between two sides: interest group a politika or official. This annuity is actually the "contained" inefficiency of public management due to the increased price of the "public good or service."

In other words, if there are private interest groups who want to gain an advantage in the market and have access to government or bureaucracy, they will try to take advantage of this approach and thus eliminating competition.

However, the government (and the bureaucracy as a whole) have the ability to distort information. If we combine it with that "contained inefficiency", we come to the conclusion that there is almost always room for price increases for public goods and services.

The only way such a rent can be realistically reduced is reduction of state spending. Know that she rents it exists even in the most developed democracies such as the United States or Germany. The rent may not only be the proceeds of corruption, but also income from cooperation with interest groups such as doctors or environmentalists.

For example, doctors negotiated through higher wages unions and environmentalists win contracts through environmental funds.

In our country, this rent is very clear precisely in connection with the proceeds of corruption. This relatively clear annuity from the proceeds of corruption creates pressure to change the rules (Evidence is needed Public Affairs, let the earth be light for them), but let us not be naive - she The "new rules" will not reduce the overall rent of politicians and bureaucrats, most likely just do the whole environment of corruption and rents less transparent, less transparent.

Angels and Sir

It would be naive to think that the current government will be the first in a series of morally pure, corruption-free and altruistic governments.

The principles I described above always apply. Even Petr Nečas and Radek John, until recently the showcase of the fight against corruption, our political "moral icons", were grounded by these principles - either by their actions or under the pressure of circumstances in an effort to calm things down and solve them as best they can.

One of the key outputs of the theory of public choice is the knowledge that changing people holding positions in public administration will not bring about big changes in their "products." Choosing "better" people - in itself - will not lead to better governance.

However, he successfully reformed the state administration to New Zealand Sir Roger Dougleswhich introduced in essence office management, when managers had a set budget and goals with a contract within 5 years (introduction of an element of uncertainty - greater motivation). If they did not manage to use the budget, they could draw rewards from it. These relatively simple measures led to a great streamlining of state administration.

The government's task should also be to minimize the scope for corruption and rent-seeking. This can be achieved by reducing government spending and gradually bringing government closer to the markets (á la R. Dougles). Because where there is no state, there is no corruption.

Lao Tse spoke about laws and regulations. The same analogy works with the size of the state. The more government spending, the more bureaucracy, the greater the bureaucracy, the greater the possibility of corruption and inefficiency.

"Every semi-scholar can use a whip and force other people to obey. But serving the public requires intelligence and diligence. Only a few people manage to make shoes better and cheaper than their competitors. The goal of an inefficient expert will always be to claim the superiority of bureaucracy. It is quite clear to him that he cannot succeed in a market economy. For him, the all-embracing bureaucracy is a refuge. Endowed with officials, he will enforce his regulations with the help of the police. "

- Ludwig von Mises (Bureaucracy, p. 122)


  1. Interesting article, I like Sir Dougles' approach. (I would just pay attention to the rude: "… Mr. Knutig said in one reaction that he lied to Minister Drobilov." 🙂

  2. Well, I look at it from a different perspective. While the Western parties developed continuously and built a clientelistic network vertically - that is, from mass membership (the so-called mass parties), the new parties in Central and Eastern Europe had to adapt to the possibilities created just after the fall of communism. To put it simply: the Western parties obtained funding from mass membership, the Eastern parties directly through links to the state administration and the misuse of state resources. They failed to build a stable membership base and organization. The cause is still "demobilized" civil society. Due to the highly volatile system, fragmented and generally unconsolidated party system, they began to misuse state resources both by connecting with the state administration and directly from privatization of state property, establishment of various agencies, etc. The Michálek case is just another continuation and proof of this party financing system.

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