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Systemic CorruptionConstitutional Ideas for an Anti-Oligarchic Republic$
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Camila Vergara

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691207537

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691207537.001.0001

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Crisis of the Representative Republic

(p.1) Introduction
Systemic Corruption

Camila Vergara

Princeton University Press

This chapter describes representative democracy as an artificial political infrastructure designed by citizens themselves, which as it was first established can similarly be overhauled. It theorizes the crisis of democracy from a structural point of view. It also argues that liberal representative governments suffer from systemic corruption, a form of political decay that manifests itself as an oligarchization of power in society. The chapter traces the concept of political corruption in Plato, Aristotle, Polybius, Cicero, and Niccolò Machiavelli and offers a critique of the current juridical and individual understanding of corruption. It emphasizes the significance to move away from the “bad apples” approach, the view that corruption exists only because there are corrupt people in office, and analyzes the structure in which the corrupt elites are embedded.

Keywords:   representative democracy, systemic corruption, political decay, oligarchization, corrupt elites

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