Sunday, November 21, 2010

Corruption : Is there a way out?


Media in the past one month has been gifted a series of scams by our politicians. While the scam thing has become a way of life for us, it still generates a feeling of disappointment deep within us, wondering what the future will be. The main problem is we don’t see a way out of this problem. knowing its almost impossible to defeat this leviathan System, which has the blood of corruption flowing in its veins.

The questions which come to my mind are where is the start of this chain of corruption? What is the root cause – is it really the plummeting ethical standards of society or  we need to find answers the Marxist way – through economics? Is this only Indian society which has been plagued by corruption or its a global phenomena, finding its genesis in modern politico-economic systems? Let us try to find out the answers to these questions.

Recently when I was sitting along with a close relative of mine who happens to be a government officer and is “reasonably corrupt”(takes only the ‘legitimised commission’ while ensuring that work is done properly), the CWG news was flashing across the channels. He said calmly, “I don’t why they are shouting so much. Look at our elections, do they think the elections can be fought without tons of black money. Every government official is forced to donate to ruling party fund, where that money will come from?”

His remarks made me think whether Democracy is the thing where it all starts? For once the theory looks perfect, a democracy needs elections, elections are fought based upon the primordial-cum-development issues and the campaigning needs huge amount of money, money is needed for every aspect of electioneering, the allowed amount of money is far from pragmatic and hence the black money chips in. Now to recover that money, every involved entity in the election resorts to more illegal ways. Hence the chain strengthens and becomes a self serving cyclic system.

Take the example of Karnataka government, the way Mr. Yedurappa engineered defections through ‘Operation Kamal’ to come to power, it was nothing but obvious that we’ll see such huge number of scams in the coming years.

So apparently morality is an issue but not the central one. At the centre lies the democracy. Not that other forms of polity like autocracy and communism are free from this phenomenon, but still in those cases if the ruler wants, he can put the house in order, similar thing is not possible in a democratic setup, as to come to power in a mature democracy like India, he’ll need money and hence there are grim chances of anything going right.

After this assertion, another doubt comes to mind that if democracy is the culprit then why democratic developed countries are not corrupt or not so corrupt as the developing ones. Well, I think corruption thrives in all these systems, as we know from their movies since the ‘Godfather’ days. The difference seems to be merely of degree. And they have passed through this phase of rapid economic growth when they faced the same problem of large scale corruptions. Now as they have high standards of living and a nearly ideal Capitalist system, corruption seems to be making least impact on their lives. Honestly, I don’t know anything about Scandinavian countries, how they maintain such high standards of life, but I believe rest of the developed countries are no different than ours.


Cool, but what should we do?

The theories are fine, but what is the solution, or it doesn’t exist at all? I hardly have the answer, the only solution I can think of is time. With the passage of time, I hope our country will attains an equitable society and then this phenomena will whittle away. Also we can expect that our next generations will get progressively more honest than we are, as I see that current generation has definitely improved over it previous one. Till then we have the system looking after itself, first to siphon out the money and then to reveal it. Things are not so bad, at least we know something wrong has happened :-), even if can’t prevent it from happening.


  1. We as a society have become so corrupt that it is next to impossible to eradicate it unless each one think of his or her conscious-dil se!

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  3. corruption has always existed in one form or the other from the time immemorial,although the shapes ,dimension and shapes have been changing from time to time. Chanakya in his treatise 'Arthashastra' enumerated 40 ways in which public servants can misutilise public money.
    corruption and democracy have no relation as regards the corruption is concerned.As per the Corruption Perception Index prepared by the Transparency International, the Scandinavian countries have the minimum tolerance for corruption. Even European countries and The USA have a better record in this regard than India. All these countries have democratic system. However, the countries having dictatorship have the maximum level of corruption.

    The main factors responsible for corruption are lack of transparency in decision making,intricate systems and procedure for getting even the small things done and tolerance of corruption on the part of general public.

    It is really a pity that the corruption has become all pervasive at all levels. There was a time when bribe used to be given for getting the wrong things done, but now even for getting the right things done in time bribe is demanded.

    To hope that the corruption may be eradicated completely is a day dreaming. However, efforts may be made to minimise it. The public will have to play a vital role in this regard. The systems and procedures will have to be simplified and decision making process should be transparent. Every one will have to rise to fight the menace of corruption.

    Very good post drawing attention to a burning problem..Regards

  4. True Kailash Ji, Corruption has existed from time immemorial and Chanankya rightly said that public officials are most prone to corruption if not controlled strictly. So he also specified some measures regarding this.

    The European countries and USA now have a better record but as I said, when the democracy just took birth there, it faced same problems as we are facing. Its a matter of stabilization and maturing of democracy and social capital.

    The point I tried to make here was that we are craving for reforms and these reforms are to be brought by people who are beneficiary of the loopholes there reforms try to address. Its too difficult for honest souls to enter into powerful positions and sustain there. The current system will not let that happen because need of money and power ti win the election. May be after a century or so when our social capital becomes too strong that it can choose right over wrong successfully, we'll get rid of this disease. Bihar proved this transformation this time in a gradual manner. Lets see how many states are able to follow this.

    Thanks for your feedback, always in need of that.