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Monthly Archives: March 2017

Corruption Damages a Society

On Polity

Corruption undermines democracy and good governance. In election, for example, where the electorates vote the candidate that they think will improve the quality of their lives, corruption damages this chance by sabotaging electoral processes with bribery and fraud. Wherever we look at it, whether it’s in politics or in governance, corruption reduces accountability, distorts representation in policymaking, and compromises the rule of law in judiciary. In the Third World countries, where corruption is more rampant, rule of law is breached in consequence of grave abuse of power, making the checks and balances almost impossible. This is very serious in the face of the nation’s public administration and citizens’ survival.

On Economy

Corruption poses a very serious threat to the economy of a society. No matter how economically powerful the society is corruption weakens the economic growth of that society. Officials in a corrupt society mismanage the economy, loot the public treasuries, and allow embezzlement and inflation to take over. Contracts, which are meant for public services, are diverted to service the private pockets of the officials. What does this means to the masses and the nation’s economic growth? It means that the poor masses have nothing to enjoy and the economy remain stagnant. In Africa; for example, economists are of the view that one of the reasons why corruption is widely practice in the region is because corruption has primarily taken the form of rent extraction. Researchers from the University of Massachusetts estimated that from 1970 to 1996, capital flight from 30 sub-Saharan countries totaled $187 billion, exceeding those nations’ external debts. In Nigeria, for example, more than $400 billion was stolen from the treasury by Nigeria’s leaders between 1960 and 1999. This means that, for African countries like Nigeria, the poor is in a very critical condition. This is because, aside from the rising prices of commodities in consequence of inflation created by the officials through the offering of “economic rent” — bribery and misappropriation– the poor can hardly enjoy anything from his country, and the consequences, as we have been seeing, is the continuing rage of anger and violence on the part of the marginalize poor to overcome, by any means necessary, the huge gap between them and the wealthy that has left them almost into nothingness.

On Societal Development

Corruption slows down economic growth and discourages investment. How can a society develop in a land tainted with corruption? Any society that is willing to develop itself, engage itself in prudent practices and transparent administration must avert corruption. But corrupt societies find it difficult to avert looting public treasuries and, therefore, their development is almost impossible.

Corruption is a lethal threat to any society. It kills the economic development of a nation, weakens political culture, and destabilizes the growth and the development of a society. In the Third World countries, where corruption is widely spread, the poor suffered the most. Unless accountability and punishment is ensured, the authorities will remain corrupt and the society will remain weak and ill.

Tricks to Stop Corruption

Corruption is all-pervasive and cannot be eradicated completely and irrevocably. It exists everywhere in every stratum of society. However, most people associate corruption with the government, police, legal system and other entities that are somehow related to the control and allocation of public resources. The police are one of such public authorities that are responsible for maintaining order and justice in a society. A police department is very similar to other governmental bodies such as a court of law, or tax collection service, etc. It is a common belief that such organizations tend to be corruption-ridden for one simple reason. All theses public structures receive and distribute the tax-payers’ money, in other words there is no person totally interested in controlling the flow of funds like in a big corporation. A privately owned business is very different in terms of its ownership structure. There is a certain clearly defined group of people who own the business. It would be reasonable to assume that they are very much interested in controlling the monetary resources they invested in the business. Thus, there is a clear incentive to control the flow of resources in that kind of organization. A public organization that is not owned by any private entity is very different. It is very similar to a communist country where there is no clear line of command and responsibility. Even though the structure of the organization such as a police department generates favorable soil for corruption to flourish, the society must devise clearly outlined strategies in order to tackle this social vice that is definitely responsible for generating losses for the society and undermining the notion of justice, order, social equality and democracy.

To begin with it is necessary to identify the nature of corruption in general terms. Corruption seems to be inherent to any social structure. Also, it seems to be inherent to human nature since the cultural or social setting does not exert any influence on the possibility for corruption to thrive. Corruption exists in democratic countries like the United States of America or European countries. By the same token, corruption is present in post-communist societies and countries such as Indonesia, or Colombia. The similar thing among all those countries is that corruption is not restrained by geographic, political or cultural boundaries. However, the difference among the aforementioned societies lies in the level of corruption that a given society is willing to tolerate. It is no secret that countries like Indonesia are virtually ridden with corruption. A foreign businessman cannot open a store without paying bribes to local government officials for taking care of the paperwork and the local police for so-called security services. In case our imaginary businessman refuses to pay the police, his brand new store is very likely burn to the ground the very next day. Therefore, cultural and social aspects virtually define the role of corruption in a given social organization.

Corruption as a social phenomenon is especially salient in organizations like the police. The reason police are so susceptible and exposed to corruption is because of the organization structure of a police department. To illustrate, a police department does not generate any revenue and there is no private owner. The police are totally subsidized by the government. The government officials estimate the amount of funds that would spent by the police and create a budget based on those estimates. Therefore, a police department is a consumer of tax-payers money rather than a contributor to the state’s budget. The people who work in the police force are only motivated by financial incentives that come from the government in a form of salaries. People who stand on the various levels in the organizational ladder receive a very similar type of financial incentive. Thus, the head of a police department is only motivated by the salary that the government sets forth in exchange for the service. There is usually no additional motivation resulting from better and more diligent work. Therefore, if you work in the police it usually does not matter how hard and how diligently you work, because the salary is rarely affected by that quality of work factor. Therefore, low salaries and the absence of external motivation contribute to the spread of corruption. Police officers are motivated to accept bribes in exchange for more lenient treatment. Criminals who bribe the police are also better off eventually, because that way they escape punishment that they would have to accept otherwise. There is a clear mutual gain that is generated as a result of such a relationship. However, there is a clear cost that offsets the gain derived by the two parties as a result of such a transaction. The cost is associated with the credibility and significance of the law that is undermined and eventually annihilated by corruption. The state cannot exist without the law and justice; as soon as those two components are ruled out the society turns into a chaotic crowd. Therefore, it is the government’s responsibility to control the level of corruption and make the police render a service to the society.

Obviously, there are two issues that must be addressed in order to control corruption among police officers. The first essential component is legal restrictions and regulations that should be designed specifically to prevent the police from engaging in any of such transactions with criminals. There should be an anti-corruption department the task of which is to observe the operations of the police officers. This anti-corruption department should enforce the government’s policies concerning corruption. Those policies must be very strict and clear in determining the appropriate punishment for the police officers spreading corruption. The disciplinary actions may range from fines to expulsion from the police, even though some other punishment may be deemed appropriate depending on the situation. The bottom-line is that punishment must be clear and strict, so that people are aware of the potential severe consequences that such behavior can lead to. That is a basic technique that should be implemented in virtually every police department. Even though such a program may turn quite costly for the government, the result that it can potentially yield is obvious. The members of anti-corruption committee should be paid handsomely so that there is no sense for them to engage in corruption. Another strategy to control corruption is to increase the salaries of all police officers thus providing them with additional motivation. As it can be seen, all these techniques involve capital expenditures, and it is quite clear that corruption cannot be eradicated. The bottom-line is to control it at a certain acceptable level where the potential harm that corruption can do to a society is low.

All about Corruption Politics And Democracy

It has become all-pervasive and entered every aspect of life to such an extent that it is now regarded as a fact of life and an evil we have to live with. In fact, a time has come when very few eyebrows are raised when we are informed of a case of blatant bribery; it is so common, so usual and all too familiar. We give and take bribes in the sphere of education, government and private service, all branches of administration, trade and commerce, industrial activity; scrupulous-honesty is rare; even temples and other places of worship are not free of it. Most of our politicians and legislators indulge in it without any qualms of conscience.

The great philosopher and reformer Edmund Burke warned the world in the 18th century that corrupt influence, which is itself the perennial spring of all prodigality and of all disorder; which loads us, more than millions of debt; which takes away vigor from our arms, wisdom from our councils and every shadow of authority and credit from the most vulnerable parts of our Constitution is a fast growing evil. The conclusion has, in fact, been drawn that there was never anything devised by the wit of man which, in course of time, has not been corrupted. At one time, it was said that a society in which there is corruption cannot survive long, but this has proved to be a myth. Corruption has continued, and even increased beyond measure, even as democracy has spread and civilization has advanced; so it can no longer be asserted that democracy and corruption are incompatible; both are developing fast, and simultaneously, and as far as human vision can go this duality will continue. Hasn’t the time come to accept this menace as inevitable, incurable, almost as the price of socialism, progress and civilization?

It is all right to preach honesty and purity in life, but the preachers either live in a world far removed from reality, or are themselves hypocrites, talking of one thing but doing another, as if their left hand does not know what their right hand does-a veritable case of Jekyll and Hyde “split personality”.

It is also wholly incorrect to say that our ancestors were fully honest people and that we should, therefore, follow their example. A close study of history shows that deception; dishonesty, conspiracy and corruption in various spheres of life have existed all through the ages. Chanakya, the Machiavelli of India and the celebrated author of Arthashastra (which has been described as the manual of government in the times of the Mauryas), specifically mentions 40 types of ways of embezzling government property. Obviously, if corruption and embezzlement had not existed in those good old days, Chanakya would not have discussed this question in such detail. Graft and corruption have also been common during Mughal rule, during the regime of the East India Company, and during British rule also, though the opportunities for offering open bribes were fewer. During the rule of the white “sahibs”, the favors were secured through other ways-“dalis” for the “memsahib”, receptions to officers on one pretext or the other and ever so many subtle ways to please the super bosses and bring them round step by step.

It is true, however, that the opportunities for bribery and palm-greasing have increased greatly with the dawn of Independence, and the growth of democracy and industry, the system of licenses and ‘permits for setting up enterprises, securing quotas of raw materials, imports and exports and expansion of trade and commerce. Consequently, the types of corruption have increased a thousand fold; the panorama is vast and baffling and beyond control, however loud the talk of anti-corruption measures, stringent laws and of deterrent sentences. Every few years there is much discussion of this problem, which is described as the foremost issue in the country; corruption is condemned as a cancer in society, but then there is silence; the flush of enthusiasm fades away and life goes on in the same way. The focus of attention shifts to other more pressing problems of bread and butter and of political survival; of new ministers and new parties and politicians, of enquiries and commissions and political witch-hunting, of majorities and minorities in Parliament and State legislatures.

Perhaps, the most ironic comment on the modern channels and types of corruption was by Mr. K. Santhanam, Chairman of the Committee for Prevention of Corruption, appointed by the government ofIndia some years ago. The ultimate sources of corruption, according to him, are (a) Ministers, (b) legislators, (c) political parties’ (d) industrialists and merchants who seek favors from these three and are willing to pay for them. Item 6 of the terms of reference of the Committee win revealing by itself-“to suggest measures calculated to produce a Nodal climate, both among public servants and in the general public, in which bribery and corruption may not flourish”. This was an indirect admission that bribery and corruption were indeed flourishing among public servants and also the general public.

The observations made by the Committee in this connection are significant, because they stress one of the main sources of graft in the country, and also the fact that this source has not been tackled by the government. There is a large consensus of opinion, said the Committee, that a new tradition of integrity can be established only if the example is set by those who have the ultimate responsibility for the governance of India, namely the ministers of the Central and State governments. The problem is indeed difficult and delicate. Ministers are the leaders of the political party which, by virtue of being in a majority or a partner in a coalition set-up, constitute the government. The Committee said that there was a widespread impression that failure of integrity is not uncommon among ministers and that some ministers who have held office for 10 to 15 years or so “have enriched themselves illegitimately, obtained good jobs for their sons and relations through nepotism, and have reaped other advantages inconsistent with any notion of purity in public life”. The Committee felt that the general belief about the lack of integrity among ministers is as damaging as actual failure.

Government Corruption

Politicians are fully aware of the corruption and nepotism as the main reasons behind the fall of Roman empire, the French Revolution, October Revolution in Russia, fall of Chiang Kai-Shek Government on the mainland of China and even the defeat of the mighty Congress party in India. But they are not ready to take any lesson from the pages of history. When the economy goes down or when business seems to be failing, one starts to look out for other opportunities which can be safe and profitable as well. For some people doing business with the Government starts to look more attractive. Government Contracting has become an excellent market to explore. A government contractor is a private company producing goods or services under contract for the government. Though there is a huge set of rules and regulations being followed but most of it covers a whole range of situations that won’t apply at once. The rules related with government contracting are contained in a document with more than 1,000 pages, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

The hardest part to become a government contractor is that a completely different kind of accounting system is required which provides pricing in the right formats, with sufficient justification for Government Contracting. No business is easy to start with. With experience in Government Contracting, it becomes easy to know whom to contact, who the competition is, and how to monitor business opportunities. Government Corruption in America has weakened the faith of the American public as more and more people do not trust the integrity of the legislative and the executive branches of the government. Lack of ethics, human greed, and misuse of power are the main causes of corruption. From a government official, who takes bribe by handing down a contract, to a policeman taking money for letting a driver off on a traffic violation, corruption has become rampant in most of the American States today.

Raising your voice against corrupt individuals, especially government officials, sometimes led to abuse, torture, false allegations, and even jail. This is because corrupt government officials have enough power to stop anyone from raising their voice against it. Near the end of the middle Ages, corruption in the Catholic Church was a serious dilemma. Members of the clergy were supposed to be well educated, but many priests were illiterate and barely knew how to perform common religious services. Also, priest and nuns in spite of taking vows of chastity engaged in sexual relationships. Even the popes, innocent VIII and Alexander VI, fathered and raised children. Many of the abbots and bishops exploited their positions to lead lives of luxury and leisure. They resembled princes before humble servants of god. The cardinals of Rome lived in magnificent palaces and wore jewel-encrusted gold robes. The most profitable and controversial of the corrupt practices used to raise money for the Church was the selling of indulgences. In the beginning, an indulgence was just a certificate given by the pope to a person whose sins had been forgiven. This certificate was intended to cancel some or all of the punishment a person would suffer after death for their sins. Though it was never officially stated by the church, many members of clergy taught that salvation was attained simply through the purchase of enough indulgences.