Opposing corruption in international forums is easy. Nobody is openly for it, and popular sentiment is strongly against it. Global public opinion surveys show that corruption is a primary concern of citizens all around the world, and a host of public ills can be attributed to it, from economic stagnation, to the global decline of trust in democracy and a range of other societal challenges.
And corruption does play a role in these issues, which is why it makes for such a convenient target. Major leaks exposing corruption have grabbed public attention and inspired a raft of policies aimed at calling out and sanctioning individuals, governments and business that have engaged in bribery, kickbacks, embezzlement, money laundering and a host of other abuses of public and private power.
But is the international community devoting too much attention to corruption, at the expense of other structural and more difficult-to-tackle concerns? Have we oversold the benefits of tackling corruption, even making the wildly optimistic assumption that this global scourge can be eliminated or significantly reduced?