It can even undermine our security, as Sarah Chayes argues in her essay, if the perceived corruption of local governments makes people more susceptible to the poisonous ideology of extremists.
The longer I have been Prime Minister, and the more I have seen in this job, the more I believe that we cannot hope to solve the big global challenges of our time without making a major dent in the whole cycle of corruption.
For too long it has just been too easy for those in authority to ignore or pretend not to know what is going on.
As David Walsh puts it in his essay: this “longing to indulge the irresponsibility of not knowing” has been the rock upon which corruption is built.
No country has a perfect record on these issues – and so there is a hesitation in raising them.
For too long there has been something of an international taboo over stirring up concerns.That is why we are holding the Anti-Corruption Summit in London and why I have compiled this book.The essays in this book are not about trying to claim the moral high ground, nor about telling others what to do.It traps the poorest in the most desperate poverty as corrupt governments around the world syphon off funds and prevent hard-working people from getting the revenues and benefits of growth that are rightfully theirs.It steals vital resources from our schools and hospitals as corrupt individuals and companies evade the taxes they owe.I profoundly believe that this has to change – and it has to change in every country.Make no mistake, corruption affects us all, Britain included.From tax evasion and overseas territories who have been accused of hiding the proceeds of corruption, to an MPs’ expenses scandal that tore at the fabric of the world’s oldest democracy, we have our own problems and we are very much still dealing with them.That is why I have made tackling corruption such a political priority.If we continue to hide from this problem, how will developing countries blessed with natural resources ever break out of the poverty trap?How will we stop people from risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean unless we enable them to build a better life back at home?