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Corruption, Corporate Character-Formation and ‘Value Strategy’

 While most discussions of corruption focus on administration,institutions, the law and public policy, little attention in the debate about societal reform is paid to the ‘internalities’ of anti-corruption efforts, specifically to character-formation and issues of personal and corporate integrity. While the word “integrity” is frequently mentioned as the goal to be achieved through institutional reforms, even in criminal prosecutions,the specifically philosophical aspects of character-formation and the development of corporate and individual virtues in a rational and systematic way tend to be neglected. This paper focuses on the ‘internalities’ of anti-corruption work with special emphasis on the prerequisites that need to be ensured on behalf of the social elites in order for proper individual and collective character- formation to take place throughout the society. The author argues that a systematic pursuit of socially recognized virtues, both those pertaining to society as a whole and those specific to particular professions and social groups, is the most comprehensive and strategically justified way of pursuing anti-corruption policy, while institutional and penal policies can only serve an auxiliary role. The pursuit of institutional and criminal justice policies against corruption in a society that is subject to increasing relativism with regard to values and morality is at best ineffective, and at worst socially destructive. Thus the paper suggests a re-examination of the social discourse on the level of what the author calls “value strategy” and the gradual building of a plan to create and solidify specifically designed features of “corporate character” for key sectors of the society. This approach can serve as the main long-term strategy to improve the public profile of integrity and reinforce morality in both the public and civil sectors.