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Corruption and the moral imperative, through the lens of Rizal


  • Maria Serena I. Diokno

    (National Historical Commission of the Philippines,?College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of the Philippines Diliman)


Rizal wrote at length about corruption in the 19th century, a malaise that ailed the country, and described it in terms of its perpetrators: friars, whose ubiquitous presence made them a fixture in daily life; Spanish secular officials at the top of the colony’s hierarchy; and local officials, Filipinos among them. Beyond rich descriptions of corruption, Rizal’s works and his correspondence with family, friends, and adversaries offer a rich panoply of meaning about colonial life, the nature of power within the Spanish patrimonial order, and Rizal’s understanding of the nation. The paper argues that his crusade against corruption was not simply a rejection of official waywardness but was central to the project of building the Filipino nation.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Serena I. Diokno, 2011. "Corruption and the moral imperative, through the lens of Rizal," Philippine Review of Economics, University of the Philippines School of Economics and Philippine Economic Society, vol. 48(2), pages 23-40, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:phs:prejrn:v:48:y:2011:i:2:p:23-40

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    corruption; Spanish colonial administration; 19th century Philippines; Rizal;

    JEL classification:

    • N45 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Asia including Middle East
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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