Skip to 0 minutes and 8 secondsSo Tokyo is a mega city. It has a population of 13 million people, which actually makes it bigger than many countries around the world in economic terms and in population terms. And if you think about greater Tokyo, that's the metropolitan area, there's some 37 million people living here. So to be the leader of Tokyo, to be the Governor of Tokyo metropolitan area is a position of great responsibility. But sadly, the last two governors have actually been embroiled in financial scandals. And it was really only through the efforts of the media that this became publicly known. And also, that they found themselves in a position where they had to resign.

Skip to 0 minutes and 53 secondsBut what's interesting right now is the current governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, is actually a longstanding national politician and from a conservative background, and who models herself on Margaret Thatcher. She's really come into office on a platform of cleaning up government and increasing transparency and accountability.

Skip to 1 minute and 16 secondsSo that's just one example of how corruption can undermine governance. Japan isn't really one of the most corrupt countries in the world. In fact, it's actually the 18th-least corrupt country, according to Transparency International. So perhaps in your city you find a situation which is even more difficult and more intractable and difficult to solve. And that could be because you can't even get a corrupt leader out of office, or even a situation where corruption is pervasive across local government. Now this week in the course, we're going to look at the notion of ethical leadership. We're going to ask ourselves, what kind of leaders do we need in order to take our cities forward?

Skip to 2 minutes and 0 secondsIn order to tackle issues like corruption, the misuse of public funds, and the undermining of public trust. And really, our argument is that ethical leadership is really important in shaping the direction of each city and in making sure that public interests are properly reflected.

Corruption, corruption, everywhere! What to do!?

Corruption is pervasive across the globe and affects emerging and developed economies alike. Corruption will be present in the place where you live — in your town, city or region. However, how corrupt a city is and how it compares to other cities is a difficult question to answer.

When you consider corruption in your city government this often involves political corruption in the form of bribery and extortion, embezzlement, nepotism and patronage. Transparency International defines corruption as the “abuse of trusted power for private gain.” It takes different forms including petty, grand and political. If left unaddressed corruption can have severe negative political, economic, social and environmental consequences.

According to the World Economic Forum each year 5% of global GDP (US$ 2.6 trillion) is lost to corruption, which can take many forms. These include bribery, conflicts of interest, bid rigging, cartels, price fixing, revolving door, patronage, illegal information brokering, insider trading and tax evasion. The World Bank estimates that over US$1 trillion is paid in bribes each year.

These figures are estimates and the situation is probably worse. This level of corruption is both an ethical dilemma and a waste of resources that could be utilized to support development.

In a recent article The Guardian examined the extent of corruption in cities around the world and argued that:

“…part of the problem is that identifying which cities are most exposed to corruption is a daunting task; although there has been some piecemeal regional research, at the moment there is no standalone corruption index for urban areas that spans the globe.”

The level of corruption will vary considerably in individual cities in a given country.

Up next we investigate what are the most corrupt and transparent countries.

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This video is from the free online course:

Ethical Cities: Shaping the Future of Your City

RMIT University