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By Bruce Buchan, Lisa Hill (auth.)

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Extra resources for An Intellectual History of Political Corruption

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209 This latter and higher order of bribery has been labelled ‘catapolitical’ corruption. 210 And yet, the claim that some bribery is catapolitical and other instances not seems to be based on an unstable distinction since, arguably, all corruption ultimately runs counter to the interests of the state and its citizens. Whether the corruption entails colluding with the enemy to imperil the very survival of the state, or whether it is a more diffuse, systemic problem – made up of many small acts perpetrated by many individuals, which in the long run lead to a dysfunctional civil service, political instability and economic decline – both end up being effectively catapolitical.

Against . . 214 Nevertheless, there is some evidence that catapolitical bribery was considered in a special class. The most pejorative adjective in Greek is aischron, which translates as ‘shameful’. 215 When Demosthenes enjoins the Athenians to purify the city of dõrodokia, it is catapolitical bribery that he finds so repugnant. 216 Perhaps the most extreme reaction to catapolitical dõrodokia is related by Herodotus in the story of Lycides, a member of the Boule, who argued provocatively in 479 that Athens should come to terms with the Persians.

232 In a similar vein, the moralistic Cicero, who usually busied himself with lecturing others on their moral failings, invokes time-honoured custom to justify the treating of ‘friends’ and tribal conspecifics with dinners and ‘spectacles’. 4. 235 The influence of Homer in constructing this fabric through gift-giving has been surmised by more than one scholar. 238 This is, after all, what gift-giving is all about, as Marcel Mauss argued in his now-seminal work on the subject. 243 The guardians ‘shall not be told that “gifts reverend kings persuade” ’,244 and they certainly shall not be led to believe, as Homer had taught, that even the Gods can be bribed and turned ‘from their will’ through ‘perfumes .

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