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Improper and usually unlawful conduct intended to secure a benefit for oneself or another. Its forms include bribery, extortion, and the misuse of inside information. It exists where there is community indifference or a lack of enforcement policies. In societies with a culture of ritualized gift giving, the line between acceptable and unacceptable gifts is often hard to draw. See alsoorganized crime.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on corruption, visit Britannica.com.