Corruption Basics


In Latin is where we can establish that the etymological origin of the term corruption is found. Specifically, it emanates from the word “corruptio”, which is made up of the following elements: the prefix “con-“, which is synonymous with “together”; the verb “rumpere”, which can be translated as “to tear to pieces”; and finally the suffix “-tio”, which is equivalent to “action and effect”.

Corruption is the action and effect of corrupting (depraving, spoiling, bribing someone, perverting, damaging). The concept, according to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), is used to name vice or abuse in writing or in non-material things.

According to, corruption, therefore, can be a moral or symbolic depravity. For example: “We must not tolerate the corruption of our traditions by foreign pressure”, “The minister’s statements contribute to the corruption of the peace agreement”.

Corruption can be perpetrated in different ways.

Corruption as abuse of power

In another sense, corruption is the practice that consists of abusing power, functions or means to obtain an economic or other benefit.

Political corruption is understood as the misuse of public power to obtain an illegitimate advantage: “Cases of corruption in this country have reached the front pages of the world’s newspapers”, “The former president will be prosecuted for corruption in the purchase of an airplane”, “I will take charge of persecuting corruption so that there is no scandal in my government”.

The action of Justice is essential to combat corruption.

Politics and crime

At this time, as we know through the various world media, there have been numerous cases of political corruption. This goes to show not only the impunity with which the different leaders can act, but also the need to toughen the laws for these situations and a generalized political reform.

Spain is one of the countries that in recent years has seen more cases of corruption by its leaders come to light. Hence, not only has there been a change in the minds of citizens regarding politicians or that the nation has suffered a serious economic crisis, but also that initiatives such as the “Citizens against corruption 2.0” platform have emerged.

Likewise, it must be established that there are various institutions and organizations whose clear function is to undertake what would be the control of the aforementioned corruption. Among them stands out, for example, Transparency International (TI). A non-governmental organization, founded in the 1990s and based in Berlin (Germany), which is in charge of developing different measures with the clear objective of putting an end to the aforementioned action.

Various acts of corruption

Influence peddling, bribery, extortion and fraud are some of the corruption practices, which are reflected in actions such as giving money to a public official to win a tender or paying a gift or bribe to avoid a closure.

Other crimes are chained to corruption, since the corrupt usually incurs in the practice to allow or request something illegal. A policeman becomes corrupt if he receives money from a man to allow him to rob a house without police interference. In this case, two crimes come together: the act of corruption and theft.