Res publica and corrupt public officers

In classical republican thought the duty of public officers is to promote the public good or general interest. When public officers use their positions to promote their own interests instead of those of the public at large, then republicans will speak of corruption.

To put straight forward: corruption is the abuse of public office for private gain at the cost of the public good.

Corruption has many forms, the bribery of civil servants – common in many parts of the world – is probably one of the most well-known forms. Another common type of corruption is the embezzlement of public funds by government officials.

In ancient Athens people who were suspect of being potential usurpers, could face ostracism – i.e. (temporary) exile from the polis. The idea behind this was that by removing such persons, they would not be a threat any longer.

In our opinion public officers who have been convicted for corruption should be punished with deportation to a penal colony. Additional their property should be confiscated, also they should be striped from their right to vote and hold public office.

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4 thoughts on “Res publica and corrupt public officers”

  1. Would there be a trial with jury of peers?
    Would there be a fair judge or a corrupt one?
    Could the jury be bribed?

    Yes, I do agree with what you write. We read about corruption every day. There needs to be a deterrent for sure. Could the guilty provide or do some public service or work while in prison. Any rehabilitation?

    Corruption sometimes starts with small things … taking office supplies or padding expense accounts etc. Then grows.

    We can only try to do the best and fairest thing.

    Your articles do make us think. 🙂

    1. >>Would there be a trial with jury of peers?

      Our inclination is not use juries in a traditional sense, but to use panels consisting of professional judges and lay assessors – a system used in countries as Germany and Sweden.

      However, high ranking officers will face a citizens jury of 11 people.

      >>Would there be a fair judge or a corrupt one?

      The judge should be fair, though it cannot be granted for 100 percent. But if a judge is corrupt (s)he should stand trial.

      >>Could the jury be bribed?

      Unfortunately, this is always possible. Nevertheless if it should happen, the jurymen should be punished.

      >>Could the guilty provide or do some public service or work while in prison. Any rehabilitation?

      The idea of penal transportation is to detain dangerous offenders for indefinite time, at least for fifteen years. During their stay at the penal colony they could work, which will increase the likelihood of parole. The same will be true for following rehabilitation programs. In our post on penal transportation, you´ll find a more detailed discussion.

      >>We can only try to do the best and fairest thing.

      If everyone should do this, the world will be a much better place.

      >>Your articles do make us think.

      Thanks, that is one of my objectives.

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