Can we wipe out corruption and bribery from our country?

Cause, Effect, and Remedy

Corruption and bribery, the two words are interlinked. Corruption is
always used interchangeably with bribery.
Basically, corruption is an act of bribery. Bribery however
is the misuse of position or power for personal gain, which may or may
not be monetary.

Both C & B have been around for thousands of years. Even in the
Bible it was recorded that Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for 30
pieces of silver. He succumbed to greed.
Also in Latin an early language dating back to more than 1000
years BC, there is a word which provides the base of the English
word ‘Venal’ meaning ‘bribe-able’, the word being ‘venalis’ meaning
‘sale’. Implying the person or rather his influence is literally for
sale.
Goes to show that both C & B have been around from time
immemorial. Anyone thinking this is a more recent phenomenon
should think again.
Corruption is bothersome and dangerous for any society and
period of time, as it effects are far-reaching and calamitous.
However before we go on to the effect, let us have a closer look as
to the cause. Why does C & B even have to exist?
To answer that question is relatively easy. There are many, many
causes of C & B.

Causes

In many countries, the bane is excessive regulations, complicated
tax, and licensing systems. Having numerous government
departments with cloudy bureaucracy is a major contributory
factor.
Also having public and private sector monopoly and discretionary
powers, with regard to certain goods and services, are major
contributory factors.
Government schemes delivery, along with lack of transparent
functioning, only fuel C & B.
Sticking with overarching reasons are, as is seen in many
countries, low levels of democracy and weak or non-existent civil
participation, which results in political monopolization.
Also overarching are hierarchies and bureaucracies, which result in
inefficient administrative configurations.
Large government size, which in some form or the other exist in
many countries, foster C & B.

Paradox of Plenty 

Then there is the resource curse or as Wikipedia calls it the
‘Paradox of plenty’. Countries blessed with abundant natural
resources like fossil fuels and minerals have less economic growth
and more importantly low development outcomes than countries
with fewer natural resources. Case in point countries being Nigeria
and on the flip side Singapore.
Interestingly the “Corruptions perceptions Index 2016” issued by
‘Transparency International’, lists Nigeria 136 and Singapore 7 on a
list of 176 countries. Rank 1 denotes very clean and so on.
As you go progressively higher in rank, it is clear that the
citizens of these countries, face the tangible impact of corruption
on a daily basis.
Poverty and unemployment and low education, often feeding into
each other also turn out to be major issues that further exacerbate
C & B.
Peripheral causes include low press freedom, low economic
freedom, and even low Internet access if you really think about it.

 Effects of C & B.

The effects are widespread and far-reaching. Untrustworthy and
badly functioning public institutions like the police and judiciary
plague countries where corruption is rampant. Even countries
where there are strict anti-corruption laws, in practice they are
often skirted or ignored. Citizens of such countries frequently face
situations of bribery and extortion and generally rely on basic
services that have been negatively affected by misappropriation of
funds and mostly also have to face also official indifference when
seeking any sort of redress from authorities that are often
involved.
In addition collusion between business and politicians result in the
siphoning off huge amounts of revenue from national economies
benefitting only those involved at the cost of the rest.
This kind of corruption on such a scale results in hindering
sustainable economic development, ethical values, and justice.
It destabilizes society. Simply put corruption hampers economic
growth.
Corruption hurts all countries, anywhere in the world. It affects us
all.
Public policies and resources are the first casualties, and since
these are the most beneficial to poor people, it is they who suffer
most from the effects of corruption. It negatively impacts poverty and
income equality.
Since corruption and the perception of it can damage a country’s
reputation, it can seriously hinder local and foreign direct
investment.
Corruption fuels pollution, in all forms water, air and land. The laws
are in place, vehicle emission laws, waste dumping laws into water
and air from factories spewing Industrial wastes. Circumventing
these causes pollution affecting not only our generation but future
ones also.
On society, the effect is equally toxic. Disrespect for officials
tainted by corruption, builds distrust and results in lack of respect,
not only for such officials but also for others in power.
The long-term corrosive impact of corruption affects adversely all
areas of national ethics, civil society, politics and public and private
sectors, undermining institutions and values.
The insidious nature of corruption is perhaps not felt as much as
when it is practiced by the very people who are supposed to
protect the country and its population. In a democratic country, it
undermines the very nature of democracy.
So is there any way to remove and/or stop corruption.
It appears corruption is ever rising and unstoppable in many
places. Worsening the case further it seems that those involved in
corruption seem to move ahead faster and to be able to get work
done quickly. But prevention and eradication of corruption is an
absolute requirement for better public life.
Astutely, Albert Einstein, said, ‘the world is a dangerous place, not
because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and
do nothing”.

Preventions

That squarely puts the onus on all of us to help prevent and
eradicate this evil. However, that is easier said than done. It is not as
easy as we think. It is hidden behind the law itself. It is a habit and
anyone in a position of any strength is susceptible to it.
It starts with all of us. Each of us should obey the law and our
conscience, and urge those around us to do the same.
On a broader note, Education and/or training to improve
employability and coupled with this should be modules on
identifying and reporting corruption. Business should prove
and encourage whistleblowers rewarding and protecting those
who have the moral uprightness to do so?
Adequate pay, as per the current standard of living
an index should be provided through with regard to some people, this is
does not take into consideration an important human trait;
greed. However, an important point to consider is paying the
Government Officers at par with the Private sector goes a long way
in eradicating corruption.
Strong and tough anti-corruption laws and policies should be
firmly in place to act as a deterrent. Anti-corruption policies and guidance
should be clearly in place with clear repercussions
outlined if disobeyed. Along with these, laws enforcement is
important.
Promotion of transparency and access to information helps in the
fight against corruption. In addition, empowering citizens goes a
long way in fostering transparency.
The Times of India of June 12, 2012, states in part,” Applied
spirituality enables one to infuse daily life with spiritual values and
those who do so are able to distance themselves from all kinds of corrupt
practices. One aspect of applied spirituality is the duty-consciousness,
which it induces. A rights-conscious person can see only what is in his
own interest, while the duty-conscious person looks to the well-being of
others and, in doing so can never stoop to corrupt practices”.
It also said, “Corruption begins with the mind”.
Spirituality can definitely help curb C & B.
In addition, there are many ideas bandied about like installing
cameras in offices, enhanced vigilance, media empowerment to
help expose corruption and at the same time punitive action to be
taken if they fail to do so willingly for any reason. However all this
is useless unless there is a ‘will’ to remove or eradicate it.
The basic question is can corruption be eradicated. Many feel the
job is too great and it is here to stay. Many think it is impossible to
have a country or a world free of corruption. Given the present
spectrum of affairs in the world, it does seem difficult. Napoleon
once said, “The word impossible exists in the dictionary of fools”.
Another great man also said, “Where there is a will there is a way”.

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