In democracies, the ruling power is transferred to political parties for a specific amount of time through public elections. Democracy is not perfect, but it is said to be the best of all forms of governments that have been tried over time. The people live a prosperous life only when the economy is based on free market relations. This is why Mongolians chose the path of democracy and a free market in 1990.
Then, 25 years later, why do we see our economy entering into crisis too frequently, the national currency weakening, the elderly without their pensions, the youth without jobs, the environment being harmed, and our capital city drowning in smog? Why do we have people who are doing little work but politicians being followed with great excitement? How did we end up with a government that keeps making false promises?
The people who work in the government are called civic or public servants in countries where democracy has flourished. These terms came into use because the government serves the people, not itself. However, when it comes to the government and the people who work within it, Mongolians have an understanding and perceptions that trace back to the totalitarian system. It has been taken advantage of by those who have had ruling power in Mongolia. They have been serving their interests and becoming wealthier while pretending to be working for the people. Mongolia is deeply stuck in the swamp of corruption.
IDENTIFYING THE CAUSE
According to systems theory, society is composed of wealth, knowledge, power, tradition, and arts and culture. These components are studied in greater detail in economics, science, politics, ethics, and aesthetics. Over the course of development, any component of society might face difficulty. If the difficulty is managed on a frequent basis, it is not likely that the entire system will face a crisis. When the system enters a decline, creative and destructive processes take place simultaneously, and the stronger of these processes impacts the end result. A crisis can continue for decades. Therefore, society can only develop and flourish by identifying, understanding, and overcoming the obstacles that have faced them.
The current crisis faced by our economy was caused by the failure to remove the corrupt relationships that have prevailed over the relationships of power in our society.
Corruption is a structural deficit that has occurred during the process of distributing wealth and creating knowledge. It traces back to the unequal distribution of power (where a public servant has more power than the people) and leads to a situation where all power is centralized in one place (dictatorship). Then, after some time, the next challenge comes into play. When it happens, development slows down as protests take over society. Eventually, there comes a situation where the rule of law is lost and it is unclear where the power lies (e.g. the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution). Such an environment does not guarantee the protection of human lives, and can lead to the disassembly of a nation (e.g. the current situation in Venezuela). Stopping corruption, or failing to do so, has direct consequences for the future of a nation.
WHO CAN STOP MONGOLIA’S CORRUPTION?
Corruption in Mongolia originates from the lack of transparency in political party financing. Power and positions are traded under the name of political party financing and donations.
The Members of Parliament have always said that they would make the financing of their political parties transparent. This is one promise that has never been realized. Similarly, it has always been promised that the “double deel” would be banned, and it would be prohibited in the Constitution. Again, this has not happened yet. Politicians always talk about how public servants will be selected on the basis of merit and skills, but we keep seeing that seats are still bought and sold once there is a new government. These trades dominate the process of restructuring the Cabinet, consolidating ministries, or creating new ones, and introducing the position of Vice Minister.
The Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) and the Democratic Party (DP), who have had the ruling power in turns, have reached a stage where they can’t ever stop corruption. Corruption, including buying and selling seats in the government and trading special permits, has already become their way of life. Any crimes that have been uncovered eventually disappear, because the oligarchs in these two political parties are interconnected through their corrupt acts. If thoroughly investigated, any corruption case would end up with links to these two major parties. The MPP and DP have the law enforcement agencies under their control, which means we will not be able to get rid of corruption and get the economy out of crisis. What this means is that the crisis will only be distributed to other parts of society.
The public has started to realize that we cannot keep waiting for the MPP and DP to change. These two parties will not stop corruption. The people are increasingly believing that only a new generation, which has gained experience from highly developed countries, can redistribute power equally and hold the corrupt accountable. This generation can harness support from the more educated and active population, and eventually drag the other parts into the path of progression. Mongolia does not have any other choice now.
The young people who received an education in Germany and France in the 1930s have made substantial contributions to the development of arts and culture, and to the forming of public opinion after they returned to Mongolia. However, many of them were eradicated under the direction of the Soviet communists.
Only after getting rid of corruption, can we – the Mongolian people – bring about prosperity in our livelihoods as we progress on the path that we have chosen.
Please visit D.Jargalsaikhan’s website, www.jargaldefacto.com.