BETWEEN CORRUPTION AND XENOPHOBIA. THE CHANGED PERCEPTION OF CORRUPTION IN THE FORMER COMMONWEALTH. A PROBLEM OUTLINE
The author indicates that the majority of civil servants in early modern Poland did not receive steady wages; it was customary for them to be paid by the clients. This is the reason why the seventeenth-century public debate included opinions calling for the necessity of replacing such customary payments, whose amount was not defined, by steady wages financed by public founds. Nonetheless, the system of remunerating officials remained long unchanged owing to the attitude of the overwhelming majority of the gentry, interested in maintaining the lowest possible costs of the state apparatus, and the civil servants themselves, especially those associated with the treasury and the army, for whom the traditional system made it possible to commit immense embezzlements. Finally, fixed wages were introduced succesively in the course of the eighteenth century. The discussed process transpired at a much quicker rate in west European countries where supplanting feudal land officers by a modern administration system was accompanied by an introduction of set wages. The word 'corruption' appeared in Polish sources in 1590 when it pertained to bribing the local nobility by the adherents of the Habsburgs during an election of the king of Poland (1587). In the opinion of the author of this study, the term originally possessed a much wider meaning and denoted 'The corruption of mores including the political ones'; not until the seventeenth century did it assume its present-day significance.
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