Girish Joshi

Understanding Corruption by First Principles

3 min read

A lot has been said on corruption, a staggering number of articles, case studies, opinions flooding the internet, endless hours of debate, deliberation, discussions on influencing forums, and yet no redemption. Today is another ordinary day and I’ll try to pen down my thoughts on something that has become absolutely unfashionable now—corruption.

Let’s try to attack the problem with the first principles, instead of ranting on what’s obvious, let’s make an attempt to see under our nose.

How does corruption starts?

Fundamentally. It starts with me. It starts with the notion of mine and not mine. We think what is mine is more important than what is not mine and there is always an urge to acquire what is not mine. We are taught this way and we are fed on this belief as good students, we have all learnt the art of corruption from our families.

Something happens to your child, a minor accident maybe, and you get all emotional. You’d dissipate all your energy to bring your child out of misery. The boy on the other street hasn’t had a decent meal in years and this fact doesn’t move you at all. Why? Why do you prefer your child over that poor boy?

Because that’s my child, you idiot. I know you’ll say that. You are right, but like your politicians, you too are corrupt. It’s just that your sins and their significance won’t bring advertisement revenues.

Corruption starts when we associate, either with ourselves, our families, our communities, our race, our religion, our society, our nation, or our world. Just the level is different, the act is the same. This is the reason corruption is cancerous, not only it is deeply seated but also on multiple levels and it only grows over time.

Communist. When I’m a student. Socialist. When I get employed. Capitalist. When I’m married. Corrupt. When I have a child.

Does power corrupt?

Power is bewitching, hideous, and most importantly expressive. Power can make a benevolent person express his benevolence, an intelligent person express his intelligence, and a corrupt person expresses his corruption. It would be wrong to say power corrupts for it only glorify what we truly are. It’s not power that made your politician, policeman, or passport officer corrupt. It only gave expression to who they truly were as individuals. Power sure does become instrumental for their actions but it would be wrong to blame the gun for the murder.

What is the solution?

There is none. There is no utopia. As long as our acts of kindness will include some and exclude others, as long as we divide on them and us, as long as we’ll fight for mine and not mine. As long as we’ll love some more than others, we’ll remain corrupt. These things will not change. Men will be men and humans will be humans.

No. But can my nation improve on corruption ranking?

Again. See my nation. I said we won’t change.

We’ll obviously solution lies in technology. Removing humans where they are not required. Making systems without loopholes. Implanting the fear, better grievance redressal. Better education for students and educators themselves. Transparency.  A lot has been said.

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