Momo — More Monitoring Action in the EU
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Are you aware of your desires? Do you know your needs? Are you able to identify what your personal good is?

Every process of monitoring the common good starts from yourself: by identifying your desires and needs.

Momo — More Monitoring Action in the EU

In real life, it can be difficult to be aware of all our desires and needs. However, it is essential to know and recognise them in order to understand the ways in which corruption can hinder our road or offer itself as a risky shortcut.

Unfortunately, there is a widespread tendency to view shady practices and ‘shortcuts’ as legitimate: they appear an easy road to quickly reach one’s own targets. However, even if this attitude often seems like an effective solution for personal goals, the repercussions affect others negatively. In general, a culture of acceptance of corruption can undermine our life projects so seriously that we risk giving up our dreams.

As human beings, we have the desire to fulfil ourselves, but also to enjoy the environment, receive good medical care, have access to quality education etc. Corruption can impede you from doing this, diverting public resources from the collective benefit to the hands of the few, thus producing big direct costs in our everyday life: we can think of corruption as an oppression of human rights.

A culture of integrity tries to remove the obstacles that corruption and unethical behaviours create, encouraging people to reject shortcuts and, in doing so, safeguarding everyone’s right to pursue their own desires and needs. Everyone has the right to achieve their own dreams and no one deserves to be left behind


Definition box

The term ‘wish’ in Latin deals with two complementary but different aspects: the passion towards something, which pushes toward activation, understanding what that ‘something’ is and trying to reach it; and the sense of lack, of something missing, that needs to be fulfilled or changed.

In the first meaning, it represents a ‘vocation to something’, usually related to an interest – like when we desire to reach the job of our dreams.

In the second meaning, it means perceiving the ‘deprivation of something’, usually related to a direct need that we long to fill. For example, we might desire to change our neighbourhood by obtaining specific spaces or initiatives for young people, if there are none.

In this frame, corruption can be an obstacle to achieving our desires (in terms of interests), representing a direct cost to our lives. At the same time, corruption is one of the principal causes of the non-satisfaction of our desires (in terms of needs), producing an indirect cost with a long-term effect on our living experience.

Questions for reflection


Think of the situation in which a spill of pollutants takes place near your home and is worrying you. By acting in your interest and safeguarding the environment nearby your home, you are actually acting for the greater public good. By the same token, ensuring, for example, that a hospital is built in accordance with the criteria of legality and functionality, not only helps to safeguard the right to general health care but also your personal ability to benefit from an efficient hospital when you need it. Try to think about a problem that has arisen in your apartment building, street, or neighbourhood. How does it impact your life? And what impact could it have on the city in general?

Try to look at the identified problem from the point of view of principles: what rights would be safeguarded by preventing or solving that problem? Is it linked to a value, function, or safety aspect?

Now, try looking at a problem that has emerged at the national level in your country – something perhaps that has been mentioned in the media. How does it impact the State’s proper performance?

Try to look at this same problem from a completely personal perspective. What potential repercussions, even long-term, could this problem have on your personal life if it is not solved? Or, is there a risk that it could harm you directly or indirectly (e.g. by restricting your opportunity to do something)?


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The costs of corruption

Corruption has many costs for us and society. The ‘direct’ cost of corruption is represented by public money or other benefits (paid by all contributors) going into the private pockets of a few, e.g. in the form of a bribe. Another ‘direct’ cost of  corruption can be the poor quality of public services, and its consequences, e.g. a road built with bad asphalt that gets many holes, and the car accidents caused by these holes. At the same time, corruption also has many ‘indirect’ costs, since decision-making processes are diverted to what is more remunerative for the corrupters, and not according to the public need or interest. This dynamic exacerbates inequalities over time, creates costs in terms of unrealised benefits (e.g. the school in need of renovation that has not been renovated), discourages investments and drags down the economy. It valorises enterprises on the basis of bribes and not on efficiency, changing the market competition. Ultimately, it undermines people’s trust in politics, institutions, and each other.

The etymological roots of ‘wish’

In Latin ‘wish’ is translated in ‘desiderium’, a term composed by the preposition ‘de-’ (which has a negative sense, usually indicating a privation) and the term ‘sidus’ (which means ‘star’): ‘de-sidus’, literally ‘lack of stars’ (so, deprivation of something). From this term comes the Italian word ‘desiderio’, the French ‘désir’, the Spanish ‘deseo’, and the English ‘desire’.

On the other hand, in German ‘desiderium’ is translated with ‘Wunsch’ (from which directly comes the English word ‘wish’) and it means ‘vow’ to something (as opposed to a whim), so, it leads to the notion of vocation to something which has to be pursued, achieved.