A STATE WITHOUT CORRUPTION? DENMARK DURING THE EIGHTEENTH AND NINITEENTH CENTURY
Languages of publication
Contemporary Scandinavian countries are seen as almost totally devoid of corruption. Naturally, this state of things was not always part of the history of the region. The scope of corruption in modern and present-day Scandinavia, and the sources of its disappareance, are illustrated particularly clearly by the example of Denmark Up to mid-nineteenth century the absolutist system prevalent in this country involved an extraordinarly expanded bureaucracy and a developed system of civil servant promotion. In the eighteenth and nineteenth century local administration witnessed such corruption phenomena as nepotism, the promotion of relatives, kinsmen or even servants. Despite the anti-corruption battle waged by the Danish state this procedure was facilitated by the absence of well-defined criteria for appointments to officers that would indicate competence and education. After 1815, and in the wake of Danish defeat during the Napoleonic wars and a profound economic crisis, corruption in the state administration grew and intensified on an unprecedented scale. Such behaviour as embezzlement and financial fraud became rampant. The vanishing of corruption in Denmark is connected, on the one hand, with the liquidation of the absolutist system, the emergence of the free market, and the growth of unhampered public opinion; on the other hand, it was caused by transformations of mental attitudes, to a considerable degree generated by nineteenth-century religious rebirth movements.
Publication order reference
CEJSH db identifier