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Corruption as Power

Criminal Governance in Peru during the Fujimori Era (1990-2000)

Alfredo Schulte-Bockholt

This book deals with the political corruption which infested Peru during the Fujimori years (1990-2000). The work is not about petty corruption, the small bribe paid to the underpaid police officer to avoid being booked for a minor traffic violation, but addresses the corruption of the powerful. Elites rely on corruption, and particularly in repressive regimes the practice is the most important tool of ‘criminal governance’. The author utilizes the concept of the protection racket developed by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno from the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory to explain the links between political, economic, and societal elites in Fujimori’s Peru such as the military, political parties, multinational corporations, or conservative groups within the Catholic Church.


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Chapter 2: Definitions and Theories of Corruption - 19


Chapter 2 Definitions and Theories of Corruption A fondness for power is implanted in most men, and it is natural to abuse it when acquired. (Alexander Hamilton) 1. Introduction Although scholarly works on the subject of corruption have been pro- duced since the 1960s, if not earlier, the topic received little attention until the 1990s (Leff, 1989; also see Friedrich, 1966; Huntington, 1968; Myrdal, 1968; Oldenburg, 1987). Klitgaard (1988) observed that corruption in developing countries was still overlooked by scholars although it was “devouring the economies and politics of many ... nations” (1988: 7; also see Perry, 1997). The recent emergence of corruption as a topic of scholarly inves- tigation cannot be separated from the United Nations’ (UN) program of good governance. The agenda stresses political accountability, judicial autonomy as well as anticorruption policies, participatory and transparent decision-making, civil society, the rule of law, as well as the protection of human rights and the environment (UNESCAP, 2006). Weiss (2000) points to four reasons for the emergence of good governance: (1) The manifest lack of “legitimacy” of repressive regimes whose transgressions were no longer ignored, and whose rulers no longer received support after the Cold War because their services were no longer in demand; 20 (2) The growing process of democratization in the global South, also styled the ‘third wave’ of democracy; (3) The rising importance of non-state actors such as non- governmental organizations (NGOs) and transnational corpo- rations (TNCs) as a result of which “economic and social policy is no longer...

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