When scholars use such terms as pathological or dysfunctional to describe and evaluate the role of political corruption they make an implicit comparison, of disease as opposed to health, of what works satisfactorily with what works poorly or not at all. The broad mainstream scholarly view of political corruption is an unfavourable one, even to the point of condemnation and indignation. It is a perspective shared by most communities and individuals – at least the principle of honesty is favoured in most cultures – even though the existence of corruption depends on individuals who practise a different code and for whom acts of corruption are clearly functional. As has already been noted the very word corruption has connotations of rottenness and decay which while they may characterise many political systems or institutions would rarely be interpreted as necessary, vital or useful components. There is however an alternative position which begins with consideration of the natural world. Here whatever the associations of the word corruption, decay is a natural, useful, essential and permanent process in the absence of which life would cease. Is the same true, in whole or in part, of the political order? The broad mainstream of scholarship focused upon political corruption would answer in the negative, but the dissenting tributaries present an alternative case which while it is now less cogent and convincing than it seemed to be in its heyday 20 years ago remains worthy of exploration, and which certainly is of fundamental significance.