Why So Much Corruption in the World?
When money replaces god, immorality and corruption thrive. Gone are the good old days when people were hesitant to do something wrong because morality had a place in society. Wrong doers would do bad things away from the sight of the society. Things are just the opposite in modern society. Now you can hide behind brilliant twists of logic and do any thing. You may even be admired at your smartness that no one could catch you.
Corruption is an age-old phenomenon; however, whenever it had gone beyond control it had destroyed societies and nations. And why not? Corruption, in any language, means destruction, ruining or spoiling; it is a slow and deceptive poison.
Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power. – George Bernard Shaw
Corruption is the abuse of public power for private gain. It can take many different guises: bribery, misappropriations of public goods, nepotism (favoring family members for jobs and contracts), and influencing the formulation of laws or regulations for private gain. Corruption is also not just the clearly “bad” cases of government officials skimming off money for their own benefit. It also means creating bad laws so that the systems doesn’t work well, and ordinary people are left in a bind, needing to bribe to get any work done.
Why Should We Care?
In nations with similar societies the average income in corrupt countries is about three times lower than in less corrupt countries (the difference between, say, Ukraine and Czech Republic, Indonesia and South Korea, or Chad and Namibia).
When the ruling elites become corrupt, governance begins to rot and ordinary people begin to lose faith in the ruling class. Such a society begins to decay and sets itself on the road to self-destruction. A state of unchecked political corruption is known as kleptocracy, which literally means “rule by thieves”. There are well known dictators in recent decades who did nothing but plunder their countries and robbed their own people (read World’s Top Ten Corrupt Leaders).
According to World Bank estimates, between $1 trillion and $1.6 trillion dollars are lost globally to illegal activities each year. Corruption decreases the amount of wealth in a country and lowers the standard of living. Corruption affects you even if you don’t come into direct contact with it. For example, corruption:
- Vitiates the business atmosphere which reduces opportunities for all.
- Reduces government’s tax collection and degrades the quality of government services such as education, healthcare, infrastructure, welfare programs, police, etc
- Is an important factor behind the widespread global poverty.
- Allows criminal activities such as money laundering, extortion and drug trafficking to thrive. Think of how the terrorists’ activities are funded.
- Allows the rich and powerful to bend laws in their favor at the cost of others.
- Puts weaker section of the society to disadvantage because those with less power are particularly disadvantaged in corrupt systems, which typically reinforce gender discrimination.
- Distorts national and international trade.
- Jeopardizes sound governance and ethics in the private sector.
- Undermines openness, fairness and the rule of law.
According to Transparency International’s 2010 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) that ranks countries on corruption scale Somalia, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Iraq and Turkmenistan are the top most corrupt countries in the world. At the other end of the spectrum, the list of “cleanest” or the least corrupt countries is headed by Denmark, New Zealand, Singapore, Finland, and Sweden – UK, USA and France at the tail end.
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