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Corruption has always existed. As long as there are civilizations there will be greed. Greed has also always existed. Corruption results from a structure that can be manipulated. I do not think that things are more corrupt now, but I agree that corruption comes with modernity if you consider modernity the first structuring of government. There was corruption in Ancient Rome, for example. Corruption is nothing new.
Money, money, money. When money began to be able to buy people's consciences, corruption began. Money is power. People can purchase almost anything in contemporary society. One can be a mayor of the largest city in the U.S., for instance. And, in order to become President one needs---money behind the campaign. Look at the campaign contributions that are made for certain congressmen, also, for examples of how money corrupts.
I would agree that two of the main reasons for corruption are money and power. I wonder which came first the desire to possess more money or to possess more power. My thought is that it begins with the desire to have more money and leads to a lust for power.
Money is not the only motivation for corruption. Power is frequently a great motivator, and many people will pursue power at all cost and regardless of who gets hurt. This could explain why poorer countries have vast corruption too. I do agree with Brettd. It does seem as if greed is the root--greed for money, greed for power.
Greed is the root of all corruption in my mind. Some societies and governments are simply so broken and dysfunctional that they have come to accept corruption at all levels, from the top leaders down to the lowest bureaucrats. More than the desire for personal enrichment, the opportunity to do so without any real risk to oneself encourages corruption from the small scale to the grand.
Unlike Post 2, I don't think that the "primacy placed on self" is behind all corruption. I think that there are many societies where corruption is practiced to help others in one's kin group. These societies are less "selfish" than our Western societies (you can argue) even though they have more corruption.
I think that the basic factor that underlies most corruption is poverty and low salaries on the part of government officials. It is striking to me that the most corrupt societies are the poorer ones. In those societies, government officials do not make enough to give themselves the kind of standard of living they want (admittedly, some greed enters into this) and so they take bribes. By contrast, here in the US, most government officials (including low level ones like police officers) make a good enough living that they are not as prone to taking bribes.
Corruption is a reality in the political and social settings of modernity. There is no doubt that it is present in both domains. Socially, I think that there is a resurgence of economic corruption, or "white collar crime." Usually, when economic conditions are enduring challenge, the need to engage in economic corruption presents itself. There are many reasons for it. Greed, lust for increase power or control, or even just the belief that money stolen is somehow "better" than money earned are all reasons for its presence. Another reason for corruption in the realm of "white collar crime" is because the opportunity presents itself to these individuals who have some instant to be able to profit personally from such actions. The domain of political corruption results from individuals being able to use power in an unfettered manner and benefit for themselves or those associated with them. In this realm, government is an extension of their own notion of self and corruption helps to enhance this ego. In all of its different forms, I think that the primacy placed on self is the undercurrent of all forms of political corruption. In this light, both forms of social and political corruption are ends to which individuals, driven by the sense of self, move.
I fairly well agree to the definitions of corruption as all responders perceive it. But, let me add on to this discussion of corruption. Corruption will predominately is rooted in money and politics, it is also rooted in education. Educators today are not teaching the values to our replacements of society that should teach them individuality rather that communalism. In that respect, Educators and the unions as early as the late 1800s have been replacing individualism with communism in which the foundation of this country has been based on individual freedom.
Educators who have been under union control generally misses the point of corruption in education because of an ingrained mindset. It does not allow the educator to properly train our societal replacements with the tools that we need to make our country the "Beacon on the Hill" as it was when people from other countries were coming here to escape the oppression in their lives, instead, our country is becoming lost in shuffle of socialism and or communism
I see that we have debators in this discussion forum. I will gladly debate anyone on a logical basis and I am always open to the other side of the debate.
Most of the communities in India (such as Bengali), are succumbed in 'Culture of Poverty'(a theory introduced by an American anthropologist Oscar Lewis), irrespective of class or economic strata, lives in pavement or apartment. Nobody is at all ashamed of the deep-rooted corruption, decaying general quality of life, worst Politico-administrative system, weak mother language, continuous absorption of common space (mental as well as physical, both). We are becoming fathers & mothers only by self-procreation, mindlessly & blindfold. Simply depriving their(the children) fundamental rights of a decent, caring society, fearless & dignified living. Do not ever look for any other positive alternative behaviour (values) to perform human way of parenthood, i.e. deliberately co-parenting of those children those are born out of ignorance, real poverty. All of us are being driven only by the very animal instinct. If the Bengali people ever be able to bring that genuine freedom (from vicious cycle of 'poverty') in their own life/attitude, involve themselves in 'Production of Space’(Henri Lefebvre), at least initiate a movement by heart, decent & dedicated Politics will definitely come up.
- Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, 16/4, Girish Banerjee Lane, Howrah-711101, India.
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