In the world around us, especially the country we live in, corruption is regarded as a given. Most of us have been active participants in the act of corruption as either bribe-takers or givers, and anyone who tries to play by the book is punished. One thing is clear, corruption is widespread in our society, at all levels.
The problem of corruption has been culturally and systemically been embedded into our society due to widespread acceptance of the practice. This combined with the lack of transparency and public recourse against corruption means that it will be a while before we as a society can beat this problem. Systematic changes along with a complete overhaul of the belief system of citizens are required to even begin the process of combating the issue.
In order to think of eradicating corruption, we need to first understand the nature of the corruption problem and define it in its entirety, examine its feasibility and then figure out what action plan will best cater to the eradication of the problem.
Defining the problem
The problem of corruption is multi-layered and should not be viewed as a singular problem plaguing all of society. Corruption in all forms impacts society differently. For instance, when a clerk at a governmental office asks a customer for a 100 rupee bribe, it is not an isolated incident, the bribe has several layers to it, including several other officials that have a cut in the problem. Another form of corruption is the collusion of the private sector and governmental bodies which again has several complex layers of industrial, legal and bureaucratic issues. Overall I think the problem of corruption can take the following moulds: political, bureaucratic, industry, corporate, and individual. It is vital to understand that these forms are all linked and enable the problem to grow further.
Moral turpitude and individual corruption
It is safe to assume given the widespread nature of corruption that people today have flexible morals. A large number of us are willing to cut corners for selfish reasons and don’t care much about the greater public good and moral fabric of society. The existence of such moral turpitude is the bedrock of reality that gives rise to the problem of corruption and emboldens people to move on to more organized and potentially damaging forms of corruption.
What can be done?
Perhaps the most complex form of corruption is the combination of bureaucratic, industrial and political corruption. This has the highest magnitude and makes us feel the most helpless. For most of us, this is the kind of corruption we read about in the newspaper and think it doesn’t concern us. The question we need to ask ourselves is: will defeating corruption at the bigger scale help eliminate the corruption we face in our day to day life? Will it improve local problems? Will it solve the problem we as a society seem to think that the act of giving a bribe is not fundamentally wrong?
The answer is that the problem surrounding corruption is multi-faceted and requires a multi-tiered response. Removing big scams and bureaucratic corruption is essential, but so is improving our moral resistance and individual outlook on corruption. Corruption is a social, legal and developmental issue, and we need to understand that the value of the greater public good outweighs our individual need to take shortcuts, and any short-term benefits we derive from that.
Vishal Kale has 17 years of work experience in the telecommunications and e-commerce industry and has been an avid blogger and reviewer.
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius