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This book offers new ways of thinking about corruption by examining the two distinct ways in which policy approaches and discourse on corruption developed in the UN and the OECD. One of these approaches extrapolated transnational bribery as the main form of corrupt practices and advocated a limited scope offense, while the other approach tackled the broader structure of the global economic system and advocated curbing the increasing power of multinational corporations. Developing nations, in particular Chile, initiated and contributed much to these early debates, but the US-sponsored issue of transnational bribery came to dominate the international agenda. In the process, the ‘corrupt corporation’ was supplanted by the ‘corrupt politician’, the ‘corrupt public official’ and their international counterpart: the ‘corrupt country’. This book sheds light on these processes and the way in which they reconfigured our understanding of the state as an economic actor and the multinational corporation as a political actor.



Chapter 1. Introduction: The Origin Story of Global Anti-Corruption Governance

The introduction highlights some of the main contributions that the book makes to the origin story of global anti-corruption governance. The introduction further offers a presentation of the project and an overview of the seven chapters.
Elitza Katzarova

Chapter 2. Corruption and Its Discontents

The chapter provides a roadmap through the complex landscape of the global governance of corruption and an introduction to the implicit and explicit hypotheses on the factors and agents responsible for the global anti-corruption eruption in the 1990s. The first part of the chapter presents an outline of the major global anti-corruption initiatives and introduces the main actors in five different groups. The second part of the chapter starts to problematize corruption as a global issue by introducing the six factors that have contributed to the rise of corruption as a global policy problem: the end of the Cold War, the good governance agenda of the World Bank, the coalition building of TI the quantification of corruption through the publication of international perception-based indices, the instrumental use of the issue of corruption as a smoke-screen for policies of liberalization and finally, the role of the United States in raising corrupt payments on the global agenda. The third part of the chapter then proceeds to examine four major ways of conceptualizing global anti-corruption work: anti-corruption as an issue for global governance, as an international regime or regimes, as a movement and as an industry.
Elitza Katzarova

Chapter 3. The Social Construction of Global Problems

One of the key tenets of James Buchanan’s political thought was the centrality of the status quo, embodied in Buchanan’s frequently heard axiom that “we start from where we are.” There is practical political value in “starting from where we are,” because we are in fact there, and not someplace else. Buchanan’s normative concern is that starting from where “we are” means that changes are more likely to be voluntary, and therefore Pareto-improving. The history of this notion of the status quo in contractarian thought is developed briefly, and then a particular example, the Chilean Constitution and its problematic implementation, is discussed.
Elitza Katzarova

Chapter 4. Building a New World: Global Claims in the 1970s

The chapter examines the first anti-corruption discussions at global venues and the first instances of global institutional legitimation. Since the 1970s, claims on corruption within international organizations developed in two major directions. The chapter argues that these clashing interpretations of the same condition can be called the Chilean and the American (US) legacies. The major difference between these two approaches was that the Chilean legacy developed at the UN, and defined corruption as corporate influence on politics, while the American legacy developed predominantly at the OECD, and defined corruption as bribery. The chapter examines the content of global claims at the OECD and the UN in the 1970s, and argues that the successful campaign to establish corruption as a global governance problem in the 1990s can only be understood as the legacy of the 1970s. By showing that nation states pioneered the process of global social construction, the chapter lays the groundwork for the argument that state power is essential in the creation of global problems and that powerful states can be pro-active participants in this process.
Elitza Katzarova

Chapter 5. The Corporate Watergate

US claims on illicit corporate payments came to dominate global anti-corruption debates in the 1990s. This chapter traces the steps that led to the re-launch of global claims-making in 1989 and shows how the US concern with illicit/corrupt payments emerged in the first place. The main reason for the US initiative of 1989 was the FCPA, which can be seen as a product of Watergate, as much as a product of the ITT aftermath. While the ITT affair triggered debates in the United States on the foreign policy repercussions of corporate misconduct, Watergate made these debates more domestically oriented. It was the combined work of the Subcommittee on Multinational Corporations, the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, the SEC and a number of follow-up Senate committees that shed light on the illicit payments problem and informed much of the thinking behind the FCPA. The US congressional hearings on multinational corporations and foreign corporate payments provide testimonies on the putative condition out of which global claims on corruption emerged. The chapter further establishes the re-emergence of claims after the 1988 Amendment to the FCPA, when the US chose the OECD as the appropriate international forum to achieve consensus on corrupt practices.
Elitza Katzarova

Chapter 6. The Road to the New Orthodoxy

If in the 1970s anti-corruption debates in international organizations were dominated by the problem of corporations as political agents, in the 1990s the role of the state as economic agent came center-stage. The Global South lost its strategic importance with the end of the Cold War, but also much changed with the Latin American debt crisis. Yet, the UN venues dominated by developing countries, such as the UNCTAD, the G77 and the UNCTC continued to argue for regulatory activism in the developing world and that the US-sponsored issue of bribery should be understood within the broader agenda of international regulation of multinationals. When the United States re-introduced the issue of bribery at the OECD in 1989, other major competitors from the Global North seemed largely uninterested in the appeal to ban transnational bribery. This chapter traces the position of OECD member states, as well as the work of the OECD Working Group in controversy management. The chapter further discusses the anti-corruption debates at the UN after 1980, and the different take that developing nations had on the good governance agenda, which emerged in the early 1990s
Elitza Katzarova

Chapter 7. The OECD Convention and Beyond: State-Powered Coalition Building in a Broken World

In the period 1994–1997 the foundations of the global anti-corruption governance were laid out. As this chapter shows, the success of the anti-corruption endeavor was to a large extent determined by a systematic approach of state-sponsored coalition building. Non-state actors contributed to the process of coalition-building, but much of what they achieved was shaped by previous efforts of state actors, in particular the United States. The instrumental use of venues and publicity contributed to the success of the OECD anti-bribery initiative. The advancement of talks at the OECD led member states to introduce the topic of corrupt practices in the OAS, the CoE and the EU. The formal agreements reached at other organizations then provided the legal and discursive underpinnings for the re-introduction of the subject at the UN. Building on Chapter 6, the first part of this chapter zooms in on the talks at the OECD, while the second part zoom out to show the bigger picture of how, in relation to progress at the OECD, the subject of corruption was introduced in regional organizations. In this way the chapter strikes a balance between showing how the social construction of problems is negotiated within and between organizations.
Elitza Katzarova

Chapter 8. Global Anti-Corruption Talks in the 1970s and 1990s: The Story of Two Utopias

This chapter compares global anti-corruption debates in the 1970s and 1990s in order to provide the big picture in the development of a global corruption problem. The chapter analyzes the main differences in terms of problem content, venues and external events, as well as the the strategy of the US executive and the level of uncertainty within which this strategy operated. The chapter argues that anti-corruption rhetoric was indeed neoliberalized in the 1990s, but the link between anti-corruption, as part of a broader agenda to regulate multinationals, and neoliberalism, as an agenda for de-regulation, could be more complex than previously thought. The diachronic comparison shows that depending on their membership base different venues such as the UNCTAD, the G77 and the UNCTC on the one hand and the G7, the OECD and the World Bank on the other, have offered two distinctive competing versions of how is corruption to be understood and how it should be tackled. These competing narratives are indicative of two different projects of world-building proposed by the Global South and the Global North, and their convergence in the 1990s, is what made the institutionalization of corruption as a global governance issue possible.
Elitza Katzarova


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