Corruption as systemic political decay

Philosophy and Social Criticism 47 (3):322-346 (2021)
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By offering an analysis of different conceptions of corruption connected to the political regime and contingency in which they developed, the article retrieves a systemic meaning of political corruption. Through the works of Plato, Aristotle, Polybius and Machiavelli, it reconstructs a dimension of political corruption particular to popular governments and also engages with recent neo-republican and institutionalist attempts at redefining political corruption. The article concludes that we still lack a proper conception of systemic corruption comparable to the one of the Ancients because we are yet unable to account for the role procedures and institutions play in fostering corruption through their normal functioning and what this means for liberal democratic regimes.



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