In its work, the government faces challenges that prevent it from operating efficiently in terms of cost and quality of service in protecting the population. One of the reasons that cultivate several different issues within the government system is the lack of transparency in the governmental work process and relationship with the citizens. The population’s trust in government is continuously endangered by the cases of corruption and misuse of power committed by individuals in positions of public officials and government employees lacking a sense of morality and responsibility. In the work, the author considered and analyzed the cases illustrated by Caro (1975) and Brown (2008) that showcase the work of the government from the inner perspective.
Many factors predict cases of corruption and misuse of power, like widespread bureaucracy, lack of moral criteria in governmental promotions, and absence of adequate punishments for committing corruption or abuse of power. However, the author suggests that the lack of transparency in governmental activities is the primary cause of other issues and emphasizes the danger from its consequences. The possible consequences of such issues include a decrease in the level of trust in authorities among the population, a growing level of dissatisfaction with the government’s actions, and difficulties in meeting the citizens’ expectations. According to experts, overcoming corruption and misuse of power within government requires external pressure and supervision. Thus, the author emphasizes the need for improvements in the hiring process for future government employees and public figures and suggests a morality-oriented hiring policy.
As a public administration student, one could not live without learning new information on different aspects of governmental work and asking themselves about what parts could be improved and work more effectively. Compiling thoughtful reflection from the learning process with an already existing body of knowledge and previous research shows which challenges prevent the government from efficiently operating in serving and protecting people. It turns out that lack of transparency in governmental actions and plans is one of the biggest challenges for the government and presents a cause for other issues in governmental work.
One of the most common problems in most countries that is deeply related to issues within government and prevents the government from effective work, leading to waste of valuable resources, is corruption. In my research, I discovered that corruption exists for a long time in modern history due to human beings’ tendency to favor friends and family (Fukuyama, 2018), and several factors support corruption’s emergence and development. The factors include lack of transparency and openness from the government on an institutional level, bureaucracy, lack of moral criteria in governmental promotions, and absence of substantial punishment for those who commit corruption. I think that corruption and the ones who commit it undermine the trust of citizens who pay their taxes in hopes of living in improved conditions. Sometimes public officials commit corruption to reach positive outcomes; according to Caro (1975), Robert Moses, the famous New York public official, and city planner, organized the corruption to bring his building plans to life. However, the prevailing lack of the moral compass in government corruption indicates that the government favors the promotion of people that lack morality and a sense of responsibility to their job and their duties as public officials.
The lack of transparency supports the emergence of another equally important problem of subjective private advantages of specific individuals or groups of people that prevents the government from effectively protecting the citizens. The problem was identified by Brown (2008) when he stated that a much bigger problem than corruption is the involvement of cartels and other criminal groups in the decision-making process of government. I was able to find Brown’s (2008) illustration of the issue in his narration for his experience in building affordable housing in San Francisco. Not only do cartels force their decisions on the government; public figures frequently misuse their power to oppress other people or to support a decision that benefits them. The issues include involvement in the hiring process for governmental jobs, misuse of government property for personal purposes, abuse of access to private information, etc. In my opinion, the government can help produce a fairer and more equitable society, but public figures and authorities’ misuse and abuse of power stop this progress.
The cases of corruption and misuse of power lower the level of trust among the population. Meeting the population’s expectations becomes more challenging, which increases the level of dissatisfaction with the authorities from society. I assume that overcoming corruption and misuse of power could be achieved through increased transparency in government. However, in his work Fukuyama (2018) pointed that transparency initiatives often fail because of the inability to shape already existing incentives of governmental employees, which explains the absence of transformative effect from initiatives. Thus, I suggest that the only plan for solving the current situation with existing public officials is increased external supervision. As for the future, the issues of corruption and misuse of power could be reduced through a morality-oriented hiring process.
Brown, W.L. (2008). Basic Brown: My life and our times. Simon and Schuster.
Caro, R. (1975). The power broker: Robert Moses and the fall of New York. Knopf.
Fukuyama, F. (2018). Corruption as a political phenomenon. In K. Basu, T. Cordella (Eds.), Institutions, governance, and the control of corruption (pp.51-73). Palgrave Macmillan.