Our era is closely connected with the ‘digital revolution’ that has irreversibly extended humanity’s capacity for progress. This is especially clear when one compares the digital revolution with innovations across the entirety of human history. Meanwhile, the topic of ‘barbarism’ remains on political agenda; this is a phenomenon antithetical to civilisational achievements. Barbarism is mentioned when discussing extremely aggressive inter-ethnic clashes and inter-religious conflicts and is used conceptually to signify destruction of historical and cultural monuments. Barbarism is also discussed in reference to something else: as a by-product of a contemporary civilisation that oversimplifies culture, the dissemination of ideas about the world, and the realities of humanity, and does so at the level of collective consciousness. The topic of barbarism is important for contemporary scientific agendas. Sociologists, psychologists, and ethnologists study issues relating to barbarism and try to find an explanation for its social roots, in order to better understand the nature of ethnic and religious conflicts, and the psychology behind terrorism. In this essay, we will approach barbarism from an academic point of view, as a complicated socio-cultural and political phenomenon, which has appeared across historical eras, regions, and civilisations in different ways. We examine two concepts of barbarism: the first, horizontal barbarism, which is closer to traditional interpretations of barbarism. The second is ‘vertical barbarism’ (Rathenau in Ortega y Gasset, 1929), which entails making social realities rougher, simpler, and more primitive. Whereas the first notion is related to direct clashes between different ethnic groups, religions, and civilisations, the second concept refers to complicated social processes, primarily involving powerful vertical mobility, with increasing opportunities for different groups of people to gain access to the advanced achievements of human civilisation. The contemporary era is unique: despite the massive technological progress associated with globalisation, which many argue is supposed lead to the unification and standardisation of social reality, discrepancies between social and economic patterns of life Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute 2 remain, and different civilisations and political regimes interact with one another in complicated ways. In our research, we do not consider barbarism some sort of evil personified by ‘bad guys’, a notion that contradicts and hinders the ongoing progress of human civilisation. Such an approach might result in the illusion that barbarism can be easily eliminated. Adhering to such a fallacy must be avoided so that accurately informed decisions can be made. For the authors, barbarism, whether it is ‘horizontal’ or ‘vertical’, is a phenomenon inseparable from human civilisation’s development, and in most cases, is neither reactionary nor a ‘force of reaction’. The progress of human civilisation, while reducing the likelihood of barbarism, creates certain conditions for the its sudden appearance in unexpected and illogical circumstances. That is why the main goal of this essay is to understand the processes that lead to barbarism, and how barbarism can be weakened. We see the fight for the diminished influence of barbarism, and its consequent marginalisation, as a complicated process, based on a deep understanding of the mechanisms of barbarism’s evolution. Thus, we employ a historical approach that makes it possible to better understand the reasons for the increase in barbarous activity and helps reveal the characteristics of its evolution. The essay begins with a theoretical analysis of the phenomenon of socio-cultural and political barbarism. Then we analyse this with reference to specific historical periods,countries, and regions.
Do radical anticorruption measures such as lustration reduce corruption by systematically limiting the political participation of former authoritarian actors? While research has largely overlooked the role of transitional justice in addressing corruption, some scholars claim that lustration may increase corruption by reducing bureaucratic expertise. Analyzing original panel data from 30 post-communist states from 1996 to 2011, we find that lustration is effective in lowering corruption. Lustration disrupts the political, economic, and administrative malpractice of the preceding regimes by limiting opportunities for corruption of former communist elites. To illuminate the causal mechanism, we examine the cases of Estonia, which has adopted lustration and lowered corruption; Georgia, which has reduced corruption since first considering lustration; and Russia, which has not adopted lustration and maintains high levels of corruption. This study breaks new ground with a novel system-level explanation and an integrative approach to causation for the entire post-communist world.
The article analyzes the influence of motivation of public officials on their corrupt behavior. In the framework of normative-value conceptualization corruption is considered as anti-social, autodestructive deviant behavior. The represented two-dimensional curve of motivation consists of two segments. The first, “thirst for recognition” segment consists of pro-social, positive and altruistic motives, and the second, “greed” segment consists of negative and selfish motives. This article shows that motivation, especially with external locus of control has a decisive influence on corrupt behavior as means of the goals achievement. Particularly, it directly allows public officials to use “aim justifies the means” principle, or indirectly predetermine the very aim of their actions.
The paper is devoted to instrumental conceptualization of corruption, including classification of its forms and definition of the institutional mechanism. It proposes an analysis of conceptual approaches to corruption and demonstrates that the major aspects of normative approach are as follows: value judgment of corruption as an unambiguously negative phenomenon; associating corruption with contempt of the law or violation of moral and ethical standards; consideration of corruption as a deviant behavior. The author emphasizes challenging issues and ambiguity of this approach. The rationalist approach to corruption, including the economic approach, does not address value judgments or various norms and standards, but describes it in terms of functional assessment of its symptoms and consequences. The paper counters the claim that corruption fulfils some positive functions such as the function of deregulation and overcoming bureaucratic barriers. The paper reveals a generalized mechanism of corruption: exceeding authority and violating the official powers and duties regulations, including code of conduct and ethical standards, and (or) social behavioral, moral, and ethical norms, an official of an administrative organization illegitimately distributes and uses resources of the organization to gain personal or group benefits, not to implement the functions and objectives of the organization. The author proposes a new definition of the term “political corruption” and describes an hierarchy system of types of political and economic corruption, where the “state capture” is at the top. The author also determinates the institutional mechanism of corruption in the sphere of public power, the essence of which lies in the various types of abuse of its resources. While conceptualizing corruption in public policy in an instrumental way, it is defined as an abuse, misuse of public power resources by a public official not for implementing functions of the state or providing social progress, but for obtaining undue preferences or deriving tangible or intangible personal or group benefits, including gaining advantages in favor of third parties.