“Corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies.” said Kofi A. Annan. This week I went to the public defense of Liesbeth Feikema on her PhD (dissertation) on ‘ Still not at Ease. Corruption and Conflict of Interest in Hybrid Political Orders’. Liesbeth has done research in Europe, Africa and Australia on the relation between corruption and conflict of interest and the political form of a state.
FIFA’s disruptive effect on countries worldwide
Now although the dissertation itself did not use the FIFA scandal as a topic of interest, we can see that the damage FIFA has done around the world; through the corruptive way of operating and expecting others to operate, FIFA was a disrupting force on other countries laws, their lawmakers, politicians and local societies, all who turned into a frantic bid to be able to host the world cup for FIFA. The fact that the FIFA officials were known to be open for bribes made the countries around open for bribe giving, bending their own law, and disrupting therefor the trust of society in lawmakers as a whole. Corruption corrupts the trust of society in law, making countries unstable. And now the US have taken the lead in arresting FIFA officials- the country the least interested in football, but very concerned about unrest in developing democracies.
Rule of Law States in practice and Rule of law states in theory
On one hand, countries who are high on the scale of corruption (perception) are mostly found in what we used to call developing countries, but nowadays a more accurate term would be hybrid political orders: these countries do have in theory a rule of law, but in practice they are much more determined by other older rules in society, patrimonial rules, clan rules, family interests.
Local employees of multinationals torn between two different ways of thinking
For multinationals operating in these upcoming economies, local employees are a necessity, and many well educated local employees work for multinationals. From the outside, the local employee looks to be fitting into the job description: he or she has signed a contract with the MNC stating that he or she will uphold the multinationals” international code of conduct, on the other hand, in his or her country, the law and the abiding of the law has a different status; family and clan interest come first, than comes the rule of law. And Liesbeth puts this in the title of her dissertation: ‘Still not at Ease’.
Not the weighing on values, but the way you see yourself in society
Its not so much a conflict of values for a local employee, where the international code of conduct is of lesser value for a local employee: its more the way the code functions and the way family interest and decision making functions for a local employee of a multinational. Therefor, Liesbeth offers to step behind the values and ways of making decisions, and talk with all society actors (NGOs, churches, government, and multinational together) to bring about the common humanitarian goals that all concur to.
Everyone benefits from a fair game
This way, through going a layer deeper into what drives us below family on one hand, and company ties on the other, she wants to show the search for trust, human dignity that we all want to achieve when we are playing are role in society. Because we all benefit from a fair game.