Momo — More Monitoring Action in the EU
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Are you aware of the power you have over others, and that others exercise over you?

Corruption and integrity are all a matter of power, and our society relies on power.

Momo — More Monitoring Action in the EU

Power is everywhere: your parents exercise the power over you to decide what time you go to bed; the teacher exercises power over you, deciding how to run your instruction; the government, at the highest level, exercises the power to decide how to use tax money to influence your life. But, even when you do not notice it, you have power too. You have power over friends to persuading them  where to go out at night. You have power over your colleagues to persuading them to take one decision instead of another.

Power has a relational nature. It is always exercised within social interactions and it is never static. It shifts and changes, it ebbs and flows. In this regard, it can be delegated as ‘entrusted power’: we can entrust it to others, so that they can make decisions and act on behalf of our good, or we can be entrusted by society, especially through the work we do, and in all roles and tasks we hold within any social groups (friends, family, sports team, school class, association etc).

Power is not good or evil per se: there can be good or evil uses of it. Entrusted power makes us responsible for the well-being and the life of others. Therefore, delegated power can be used judiciously and with care, or badly and for private interests, with disregard for and ultimately to the detriment of those who entrusted the power.

A bad use of power can be called ‘abuse of power’ and leads to corruption. Or even better: to the ‘abuse of entrusted power for private interests’.
Therefore, It is up to us to make good use of the power others entrust to us.
We need social trust (the pillar of our society, see call to refl-action 1) to think the power we delegate will be used for public interest, but it is always important, as citizens, to monitor how others use their entrusted power for the best public interest.


Definition box

Power is commonly said to be the ability of a person, group, or system to influence someone’s behaviour. 

Social power refers to the ability of an individual or group to influence the thoughts, feelings or actions of others within a social context. This influence can stem from various sources, such as authority, expertise, charisma or social relationships and can be exercised both consciously and unconsciously.

Entrusted power refers to the delegation of power to other people to make decisions that influence our lives. A certain degree of trust is necessary whenever we delegate or society delegates us of the power to make decisions that will influence our and others’ lives, based on the idea that the power will be used on behalf of the common interest. That is why we call it ‘entrusted’ power. 

Corruption occurs whenever a person to whom we have delegated power to represent and look after our interests betrays our trust and abuses that power to pursue private goals or the interests of a few. This is, in fact, the most common definition of corruption: abuse of entrusted power for private interests.

Questions for reflection


A young, promising politician is having a great career in politics. In fact, she is so influential and beloved in her party that she will probably become the next prime minister if her party wins the election. Instead, she becomes involved in a public scandal after it turns out that she used her government credit card to buy chocolate bars and other small personal items. No criminal or legal responsibility being recognised, she is however forced to leave the party and must take a break from politics for the following three years. What do you think about this? Do you think the sanctions she received are fair?

The new mayor of your town realises that there is a percentage of the budget allocated for the construction of a school that will be left over, because the company awarded the contract has spent less than expected. Instead of using that money for a public need, he uses it to buy airline tickets for a trip he and his family have been wanting to take for a long time. However, journalists discover this fact, a scandal breaks out and the Administration asks him to leave the role and that new elections be held. What do you think about this? Do you think the sanctions he received are fair?


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A video to further explore the topic

If you are looking for summary content on this topic, we suggest viewing the video prepared by Transparency International.