Moral Values Speech

Leaders act on behalf of the people, who entrust them to uphold basic ethical standards.In many parts of the world we are seeing massive protests because people feel their leaders are not living up to those standards.

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This applies to the public and private sector but starts with individuals.

Corruption today continues to take a great toll on our societies, and threatens to exacerbate wider challenges that our societies face - may these be poverty, inequality of income, the environment, delivering public services to all citizens or maintaining peace and stability.

This makes them further impoverished, but also sows the seeds of conflict by dissolving any ties of loyalty between people and a state seemingly captured by private interests.

The failure of leaders to tackle corruption can become a self-fulfilling spiral when people no longer take commitments seriously.

Because this happens in the dark and off books, we may never know just how great the scale of wasted, lost or stolen public money is.

Today the corrupt, the criminal organizations, the drug cartels, and terror networks are able to move their resources and operations across borders almost with impunity, through high technology and complicit networks and because of weak regulatory regimes and poor enforcement.Corruption siphons money away from public spending, and diverts valuable public income such as that coming from natural resources.It undermines both the availability and quality of these services.Many citizens think so: according to our Global Corruption Barometer, 53 per cent of respondents think government is largely or entirely run by large entities acting in their own interests rather than for the benefit of the citizenry.There is much evidence to suggest that investors would rather not operate where there is a risk of corruption.They ensure that people throughout their institutions do what is right.They act by setting codes of ethics for all to follow, setting up policies, training systems, incentives and disincentives.While elections are often won or lost on the corruption issue, those who profit from corruption can be a barrier to reformers who come to power with a promise to clean up.Early engagement often fizzles as pressure increases to stop the cleaning of the administration.Efforts to tackle corruption have often failed because of corruption in the justice system.When there are factors that encourage the judiciary to take action contrary to the public interest, it can be very difficult to create a strong disincentive to corrupt behavior: politicians, businessmen and criminals can be encouraged to break the law safe in the knowledge that justice can be evaded.

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