It traps the poorest in the most desperate poverty as corrupt governments around the world syphon off funds and prevent hard-working people from getting the revenues and benefits of growth that are rightfully theirs.
It steals vital resources from our schools and hospitals as corrupt individuals and companies evade the taxes they owe.
It can even undermine our security, as Sarah Chayes argues in her essay, if the perceived corruption of local governments makes people more susceptible to the poisonous ideology of extremists.
The longer I have been Prime Minister, and the more I have seen in this job, the more I believe that we cannot hope to solve the big global challenges of our time without making a major dent in the whole cycle of corruption.
As the Panama Papers show, corruption is a truly global challenge. And wealth that is plundered from the poorest countries can end up hidden away in the richest countries.
So nations need to tackle this issue in partnership, developing a truly comprehensive, sustained and coherent international agenda to defeat the causes of corruption.Contact us if you experience any difficulty logging in.© Crown copyright 2016 This publication is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated.Access to society journal content varies across our titles.If you have access to a journal via a society or association membership, please browse to your society journal, select an article to view, and follow the instructions in this box.No country has a perfect record on these issues – and so there is a hesitation in raising them.For too long there has been something of an international taboo over stirring up concerns.On my watch, the UK has signed up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative – and we’re leading a global drive to get other countries on board and clean up a sector which has for too long been vulnerable to corruption. I am determined that the UK must not become a safe haven for corrupt money from around the world.We know that some high-value properties – particularly in London – are being bought by people overseas through anonymous shell companies, some of them with plundered or laundered cash.If we continue to hide from this problem, how will developing countries blessed with natural resources ever break out of the poverty trap?How will we stop people from risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean unless we enable them to build a better life back at home?