There is a story about woman who had been a Peace Corps Volunteer some years ago in a far away land.
She had worked trying to improve the lives of youths and had been attached to a local school. In her country of service many government jobs, including those of teachers, were given as political rewards for those who were well connected. They were in no way related to ability or performance. They could not be taken away.
The result of this system was a school in which students taught themselves and teachers spent their time drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. When the PCV arrived she took it upon herself to motivate teachers to actually teach. This novel idea was incredibly annoying to listen to day in and day out. The end result of this was that she was given the choice between shutting up and leaving or never being heard from again. She chose to leave quietly and live.
This is not necessarily the kind of corruption that has lead to the headline making revolutions across the Middle East and North Africa. But it still is a form of corruption that is prevalent around the world. When government employees are permitted to maintain their jobs despite poor performance, the people who rely on their services suffer. In a market system, these people would be able to take their business elsewhere, but when the government is the guilty party, all they can do is become disillusioned.
But disillusionment doesn’t last forever…