Corruption is like a cancer that hinders human development and progress. It steals resources that otherwise should have been devoted to fight Poverty.
How does Corruption originate?
It originates in the human heart and erupts when the human being, acting as a defective machine, develops extreme selfishness.
That exacerbated selfishness can manifest as unethical behaviors, perversion, greed or a thirst of power, or a combination of any of the four.
What happens with Greed and Thirst of Power?
They go hand in hand. Greed generates concentration of wealth and that concentration of wealth inevitably leads to concentration of power.
Concentration of wealth and concentration of power play first against the weakest members of society. They are the ones with lesser means to defend themselves against the domination, oppression and tyranny that come as a consequence.
Moreover, that impossibility for defending themselves perpetuates the cycle of domination and poverty.
On the other hand, how does Perversion translate into?
Perversion can translate into behaviors such as child abuse, sex abuse, racism and so on. And combined with greed, it can take the form of modern slavery, human traffic, forced labor, kidnapping, Pornography and so on.
What about the world of crime?
The world of crime in most cases combines perversion with greed and thirst of power.
If we think in organized crime, Corruption may take the form of Extortion, Ponzi schemes, drug trafficking, prostitution rings, mafias, forced labor, counterfeit, money laundry, money scams, fraud, gun trafficking, terrorism, blackmail among others.
Can you imagine that Corruption derived from crime represents 3.6% of World's GDP (equivalent to $40 billion US per year! according to a U.N. report released in April of 2012)?
What are other factors leading to Corruption besides selfishness?
Selfishness also takes advantage of other factors that become additional causes of Corruption:
i.e. Loopholes in the judicial system leading to a weak rule of law and consequently to a lack of governance; absence of controls and poor or inexistent accountability; lack of education towards ethics and what is worse, constituted authorities that do not lead by example in regards to ethical behavior.
How does Corruption manifest itself at the political, judicial and business levels?
In general, at those levels, graft and corruption go hand in hand. There are specific manifestations such as bribery, nepotism, influence peddling, embezzlement or collusion agreements.
Moreover, there are countries in every corner of the planet that are literally looted several times their worth by insatiable predators who work either in the government or for the government.
Isn’t it contradictory that countries that are for instance rich in natural resources (i.e. Oil, precious metals and so on) still hold their populations in Poverty?
The explanation for such contradiction is mainly Corruption!
It manifests as the continuous looting of the country’s wealth by public officials or by people or organizations connected to the looting rings.
How do Greed and Thirst of power manifest themselves at the political level?
They manifest as corruption in politics, in congress or in government, leading to abuse of power, oppression and even to dictatorship.
What are other corrupt practices among public authorities?
We have manifestations such as corrupt courts, impunity, and obstruction of Justice. There is also Law enforcement Corruption and even military corruption.
What happens in the world of business?
In the corporate world, Business Corruption is present for instance in the way contracts are handled, with explicit manifestations such as conflict of interest, bribery, industrial espionage and so on.
On the other hand, the world of business is one of faked relationships and plagued of half-truths. Marketing, Advertising and Sales are in many ways enablers for this reality.
People, industries, corporations only disclose what is advantageous to their interests; the cons of a product or a particular business transaction are kept hidden.
It is obvious that when we intentionally hide a true fact, we are lying to the other party. Yet, this is what usually happens in the business realm.
In addition, for the sake of “almighty PROFIT” vital public services such as water or energy supply have been privatized, turned into commodities, with their rates subject to ‘the laws of Market’.
For the sake of “almighty PROFIT”, there has also been in many cases a lack of care or no care at all for the environment and for the population around exploitation of natural resources.
Let’s think for a moment in projects such as the exploitation of oil and minerals (i.e. Gold, silver, platinum, coal and so on) where transnational corporations, despite official monitoring, have in many cases caused irreparable damage to water sources and ecosystems and to entire populations in the vicinity of such projects.
In essence, in the world of business what is of benefit to the population at large is second to the most important value which is PROFIT.
Yes, but what happens in the personal sphere and with people working for others. Do Corrupt Practices exist in those areas?
Yes, they do.
As individuals, whenever we lie to somebody or do cheating for example we are exhibiting unethical behaviors.
If we are employees, regardless of our role, if we don’t try to do the job that is expected from us to the best of our abilities that is also unethical.
If we are unethical in our jobs we are being selfish, thinking just in ourselves and not in the people that needs to benefit from what we do.
The motto ‘do it right the first time’ is not just a nice to have ideal in the world of work. That should be the mental attitude with which any person should tackle his/her job.
That helps us to pinpoint another short definition for Corruption as ‘lack of ethics’.
Can you imagine a world where each individual would commit to do his/her job in the best way possible?
Such an ethical attitude would certainly transform the world. Wouldn’t that be like a glimpse of the paradise?
Going back to the corporate world, are there unethical practices for instance in the Media business?
In the Media business there are numerous cases of conflict of interest: People who own for instance businesses in many areas are also owners of newspapers, TV networks and so on.
Although there are exceptions, we may wonder about the impartiality un-biased approach of those Media corporations when faced to the ethical question of publicizing news that go against their interests.
With respect to TV over the last 30 years or so we have been witnessing the evolution (Would I rather call it the ‘involution’?) of an open agenda subverting moral and ethical values.
Pornography is almost everywhere. Family values are mocked up over primetime shows.
The main motive for this perversion of values is an insatiable thirst for PROFIT.
A similar phenomenon happens with the film industry.
Once again, acknowledging that there are exceptions, we can certainly blame the mass Media industry for having being instrumental in propagating an anti-values agenda, favoring the enthronement of unethical practices.
As a particular case, what happens in the financial business?
Beside the structural defect in the monetary system (see ‘How is Money Created’), Corruption manifests as Financial Speculation (i.e. Speculation with financial instruments such as stocks or foreign exchange) and Speculation with Prices (i.e. Food and Commodity prices) among other practices.
Financial speculation is per se a huge factor for Poverty that needs to be eradicated once and for all!
What are sounded cases of lack of ethics in Business and in Finance?
We have cases such as the WorldCom’s or Enron’s and the outrageous one associated with the Subprime mortgage swindle that triggered the 2008 Global Economic crisis.
Can we pinpoint contradictions and absurdities within the private and public sectors that enter in conflict with Ethics?
There is first of all an unethical practice that is nevertheless officially accepted: It is the utilization of the so called ‘tax heavens’ or ‘fiscal paradises’ by people and corporations alike.
Isn’t it absurd that in this case governments openly exhibit double standards?
Yes, it is! On the one hand, they supposedly fight tax evasion among the general population yet at the same time they allow the utilization of those tax heavens by wealthy people and corporations so that the latter can evade tax payments!
Secondly, at the recent 2008 Global Economic Crisis, despite president Obama’s promise to bail out the US people, his administration bailed out the banks and financial institutions instead, and worse of all at the expense of the US tax payers!
The absurdity of protecting the banks first, has been by the way a constant practice whenever a banking and financial crisis emerges in a Western country.
In essence, Corruption arises from the Heart when we human beings allow extreme selfishness to take control.
At that moment, we center our lives and motives in just ourselves, in our interests, and do not care about the damage we can inflict on others with our unethical or perverted behavior, our greed and our thirst of power.
On the one hand, we must acknowledge our personal corruption and on the other any unethical practice that we may be aware of in the world around us.
We must commit ourselves to eradicate those practices! It is a moral imperative!
Our attitude has to be of Zero tolerance with Corruption!
In particular, we may wonder how greed and thirst of power are at the base of the current monetary system (see ‘How is Money Created’).
It is hard to understand why such a critical system for society was constituted to favor private interests first, rather than those of the general population.
The financial system in general and the money creation process in particular are like a defective machine:
Money creation is favoring first and foremost private interests. As with any other issue associated with lack of ethics, the money creation process needs to be fixed in order to effectively counter-fight Poverty!