Politieke beroepsethiek en politieke corruptie

  • Bertrand J. De Clercq


«Without a theory of corruption there cannot be a remedy for corruption unless by happy accident» (J.Q. Wilson). There are empirical theories, such as the functional approach of the political process, but how useful they may be, they essentially fall short. One needs a normative, i.e. an ethical theory of political  action.
After having evaluated the idea, that politicians and rulers have the right to make use of violence, lies and ruses in order to combat violence and ruse within the community, the article draws some important conclusions from the general democratic principle «no power without control and possibility of sanction by those being subject to that power».
Applied to the problem of corruption, this principle can be used as a guideline for a systematic exploration of the structural sources of corruption, defined in a general way as abuse of power («détournement de pouvoir»). The main thesis reads as follows. The sources of corruption are to be found in those «deficiencies of the system» that create chances for a particular pressure of power to exert an overweight - without possibilities of control and sanction - in the processes of actual definition of the «public interest» or the «common good».
An elaboration of the thesis is made by means of an analysis of this kind of «deficiencies» in the Belgian political-administrative system, most of them however not specific for the Belgian situation in particular.
Finally, some suggestions for «remedies » against corruption are made, especially in the field of legislative measures.

How to Cite:

De Clercq, B., (1980) “Politieke beroepsethiek en politieke corruptie”, Res Publica 22(4), 633-655. doi:

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Published on
30 Dec 1980
Peer Reviewed