Books and documents:
Agustí Chalaux de Subirà, Brauli Tamarit Tamarit.
Agustí Chalaux de Subirà.
Agustí Chalaux de Subirà.
Agustí Chalaux de Subirà.
Magdalena Grau, Agustí Chalaux.
Annex. A Plan Against Corruption. Suggestions for a regime
Democracy loses its legitimacy when the lawful State totters. And the
lawful State totters when the judicial system is not independent enough
from all sorts of pressures and does not have available reliable information
to support its judgements with evidence in order to avoid impunity of crimes
and offences. But democracy becomes weaker also when politicians do not
know how to get rid of corruption and when public administration is neither
transparent nor effective.
In our book «The power of money. Monetics against corruption»
a number of steps are suggested to ensure a consistent and democratic introduction
of monetics (electronic money). These steps would endow Justice with an
effective information system which would ensure the intimacy and privacy
of citizens against illegal interferences and at the same time would provide
the necessary documented transparence which the lawful State needs.
The book is a contribution to the discussion on which information must
be gathered and which not, who must have access to it and for what. One
of the main theses is that through monetics, in some very well defined
conditions, society may have available a system to foster freedom (beyond
the constrictions of bureaucracy) but also to foster self-responsibility,
so that free actions leave the necessary footprints to allow the follow-up
and clarification of criminal conducts (terrorism, drugs, arms, bribery,
This is not the time to explain in more detail the technical features
and the legal conditions which may make feasible in the short term a system
of social self-responsibilization. But it seems convenient to point out
the coincidence between the publication of this book and the public request
made by politicians to find suggestions to make corruption impossible.
I therefore take this opportunity to publicly propose for discussion some
items of a possible plan against corruption. This plan starts from the
gradual application of what might be called a «transparence regime».
The «transparence regime» is based on the hypothesis that
the person or organization adopting it commits itself to make all payments
and collections by means of special cheques through bank accounts, it therefore
commits itself to effect all operations with nominal and informative cheques.
Nominal, because they will only be valid if they show the names of the
two persons carrying out the operation. Informative, because, besides its
function as a cheque, it will also have a function as an invoice: it will
show the goods or services which have caused the deal to take place, with
their prices and features. The people under the transparence regime -because
of their public function- or resorting to it voluntarily, will not be able
to use cash (anonymous bank notes) under serious penal sanction. In order
to improve the system and avoid bureaucracy and paper work, this system
of cheque-invoice may become very agile and reliable taking advantage of
the latest possibilities of monetics (electronic transfer of funds activated
by intelligent money-cards).
For a democratic use of the «transparence regime» it will
be necessary to state very clearly who will have access to this information,
and how. The information concerning the operations of public institutions
will be freely accessible to all citizens and will have to be submitted
in a form easily understandable by the different kinds of people who look
them up. On the contrary, the information of personal operations, and even
those of politicians and public officials, will only be accessible to the
person concerned and to the judicial system when it becomes necessary to
start an inquiry or to gather documentary evidence for a sentence.
On the other hand, as this regime becomes more popular, the non-personalized
information of the cheque-invoices (goods, services, prices, date, place,...)
will supply very exact and thorough information to improve economic theory
(with an increase in the quality of statistics, indicators, and so on)
and to make economic policy more operative (optimization of the fiscal
and financial system, budgetary control, separation between actual and
speculative economic activities...). It will also help to radically improve
control over the monetary mass (for every movement of money there will
be a parallel movement of goods or services: it will not be possible to
move money without reason), with a favourable influence on the control
of the monetary inflation. An important part of present day social problems
will have to be re-focused as a consequence of the new emerging framework:
some solutions will become obsolete and, on the other hand, it will be
necessary to face new challenges.
As concerns the safety of the data bases handling the information, it
will be possible to increase very much the system's selfcontrol if the
processing and storage of data are carried out simultaneously through three
parallel networks (with different hardware, software and human teams),
with extremely personalized and specified access keys. There are self-control
systems already in use for high security sectors, which, when started,
make manipulation statistically impossible. It would be necessary to guarantee
the complete independence (political and financial) of the body having
in charge the information. This independence would not be dangerous as
it would have no effective executive power.
The application plan of the «transparence regime» takes
into consideration different suggestions for the four main social groups
where it could be applied: politicians, public institutions, private concerns,
and citizens. The idea is that the plan should start to introduce compulsory
mechanisms of transparence and responsibilization in the first two groups:
politicians and public institutions; and voluntary mechanisms, with fiscal
advantages, in the other two: private concerns and citizens.
of transparence for politicians.
Most of the corruption problems come from the financing system of parties
and elections. Citizens know little the whole of laws and mechanisms regulating,
with little efficiency, the financing of the agents and of the mechanisms
of political renovation. We shall not start now discussing the complex
debate which must be carried out on the system of parties and elections.
In any of the present-day or future possible models it would be necessary,
however, to introduce a total transparence as a condition which can be
demanded from those who say they are serving the common good. The game
must be outspokenly clear. But in order to carry on this game it is necessary
for all the players to be under the same condition of transparence. The
main idea of the plan, in this case, is that the transparence regime should
be fully applied to political parties, their staffs, elections candidates
and elected charges. That means that any public or private contribution
and any expenses of the party or of its officers should be under the «transparence
regime». And that the judicial system -as we shall see, also submitted
to transparence- should be able to clearly verify the lawfulness of the
operations. Those who think that, under these conditions, nobody will be
willing to go in for politics, forget that, perhaps, the lack of transparence
is one of the many factors which stops many citizens from going into active
politics, as long as the price be the dark game where not always it is
the best who make progress.
of transparence for public institutions.
Most of the faulty management of public funds and of the ineffectiveness
of public administration comes from its excessive bureaucracy, which demands
many formal controls which, in fact, not only do not prevent a faulty management
but usually are a factor which increases it: tenders, auctions, awards,...
restrain quick and responsible decisions, put up the price for works and
services, and conceal inefficiency and maffias which, in short, harm the
citizens and the country. The «transparence regime» gives consistency
to what some administrations say they do as a rule, but which is not always
carried out: that all cheques be nominal. The system would then imply that
this should be compulsory in the whole of the public administration and,
besides, cheques should indicate the reasons of the operation (invoice).
To complete responsibilization of institutions and their officers, the
transparence regime should include all those receiving public money (politicians,
judges, army, public officials) so that the controllers may also be legally
controlled under suitable judicial protection. It would then be necessary
to consider if the transparence regime should be applied to those citizens
and bodies that receive public aids and grants: both to know if the awarding
systems are fair enough and to know if the right to get them and their
use are legally correct. Public and mixed concerns should also be submitted
to the «transparence regime»: not only because it is through
intermediary companies -much less controlled- that not very clear operations
can be carried out, but also because, through this system, almost half
of the economic activity of the country (which should give example of a
responsible management) would clearly inform of its management operations.
of transparence for private concerns.
Most of the great companies and some of the small ones have today systems
of inside information which allow them to have a very clear view of their
movements and operations, both their own and of those carried out with
other companies. Electronic invoicing and payment are asserting themselves
in wide sectors. But, because of the mistrust produced by the public sector
and thanks to an unfair fiscal pressure (the honest ones who pay, pay for
themselves and for those who do not pay: the result is that honesty spells
ruin), it is not easy to impose the «transparence regime» if
the companies and citizens are not first convinced that the public sector
sets the example and that an effective public management justifies specific
taxes. But the path to a transparence with guarantees seems democratically
unavoidable, and it should be fostered by rewarding companies and private
bodies willing to take up the «transparence regime». In this
case a number of fiscal reductions and diverse incentives should be established
to clearly favour transparent companies, granting them competitive advantages
with respect to the others. The public cost of these reductions not only
would be compensated by the reduction of costs of uneffective inspections
and controls, but also by the increase of sure incomes and the higher enthusiasm
produced in honest sectors, up to now disheartened by the unloyal and illegal
of transparence for citizens.
The technical difficulty of introducing a cheque-invoice system (paper
or electronic) for the public administration or companies is no good excuse
for not trying. It is technically feasible in the EEC. For the small companies
and shops, however, and for many citizens, a short-term introduction of
a general system of cheque-invoice may not seem so easy. It must also be
considered to what extent citizens are willing to be submitted to a «transparence
regime» without being sure, not only that institutions will set the
example, but also that they will be in a position to stop a fraudulent
access or with a totalitarian goal. It is therefore necessary to give time
so that the results of the introduction of the «anti-corruption plan»
in the public sector are clear enough. In the meantime, it must be kept
in mind that the technical difficulty of introducing a cheque-invoice system
for consumers becomes smaller and smaller. Intelligent cards (cards with
a chip able to store information and to avoid a fraudulent access to it)
are quickly gaining ground. In France is soon to be introduced an «electronic
purse». With only one personal card, where each one puts the money
of his bank account, it will be possible to make all sorts of payments:
transport, services, shops,... The French banks and «la Poste»
appear to be interested in this because it implies a reduction of costs
for everybody: for the banks (to compensate a cheque is much more expensive),
for shops (reduction of costs of management of cash-flow, stocks and accounting)
and for customers (only one card much surer than the magnetic band ones,
protection against theft or loss, protection of privacy).
for the «transparence regime» within the framework of the European
The ECU (European Currency Unit), the European currency, is a practically
electronic pure Unit of Account. Paradoxically, the European Parliament
has summoned a competition de design the future ECUS bank-notes, an anachronism
contrasting with the quick advance of the networks of telematic money all
over Europe. In the next few years will converge both the agreement to
introduce the ECU and the total compatibility of intelligent cards in all
the automatic cashiers and sales terminals all over Europe. Wouldn't it
be advisable to think of a consistent and democratic application of monetics,
which would convert the future ECU into a monetary instrument to foster
transparence and participative democracy? The ECU-CARD would be the card
of the EEC citizens, which would help to a good construction of Europe,
improving the control by citizens of institutions, simplifying the participative
systems of election and decision (in Norway the CIVIS card will allow to
vote electronically) and optimizing the fiscal management and the distributive
in the framework of international relations.
In the last months the organization International Transparence has
been created, as a result of an alliance among several organizations
and Governments, to end with corruption in trade relations. This organization,
whose head office is in Berlin, is preparing behaviour rules, and agrees
with the importance of starting to control the activities funded by public
money. These «behaviour rules» stress the need to avoid the
existence of «parallel book-keepings» and the introduction
of inner and outer control systems to ensure the enforcement of the «rules».
The «transparence regime» contributes a powerful control system
for the execution of the «rules» on level with the challenge
proposed by the electronic world operations.
The gradual introduction of the «transparence regime»
must not make us forget that national and international corruption cannot
be effectively fought while the dominating monetary system be based on
the legal tender of anonymous currencies which instrumentally foster the
double accountancy and impunity of corruption.
Social innovation must modify the rules of the social game as technical
innovations unveil new dangers, but also new possibilities.
Democracy will lose ligitimity little by little if it does not find
a system to ensure at the same time a lawful State, avoidance of corruption,
protection of privacy, and a clear and effective public administration.
The loss of democratic legitimity leads always to totalitarianism. This
Plan against Corruption wants to open a discussion on the best way to foster
a deeper and responsible democracy. Those citizens, managers, officials
or politicians who want to play fairly, have a trail to follow.
Barcelona, 24th February 1992 (First). 7th April 1993 (Second).