Corruption Can Destroy Democracy

Topics: Political corruption, Bribery, Politics Pages: 6 (1823 words) Published: September 1, 2013
Corruption Can Destroy Democracy
K S VENKATARAMAN

Defining Corruption

The term corruption is very common but it is difficult to give a dogmatic definition of it. Broadly, it is any dishonest or illegal or selfish behavior for getting any undue benefit. It has a special reference to those who occupy a position of trust or confidence but act in violation of generally understood or specified terms of behavior. Corruption involves two sides: One side trying to get some undue advantage by offering a quid pro quo; the other side extending or agreeing to extend that undue advantage by accepting the quid pro quo. There can also be another worse type of corruption: One side offering to extend an undue advantage for a quid pro quo; and the other side tendering the demanded quid pro quo and accepting the offered undue advantage. In matters of corruption, it becomes immaterial as to who takes initiative, as the transaction as a whole becomes ab initio a foul play. As corruption includes a behavior against the authentic norms and stipulations, it is against the interests of the society as a whole; and, which seeks to stealthily benefit a section of it. As such, corruption may be defined: “A selfish, dishonest and illegal behavior of the persons in special positions, by offering something against the norms, for receiving undue quid pro quo, either directly or indirectly; and also includes the behavior of those who accept such offer and derive the benefit so offered. The fact who takes initiative is immaterial.”

Corruption and Society

Corruption strikes at the root of social life. Any act of corruption invariably spoils the intention of the society that the advantages and benefits of social life should be shared or distributed in accordance with well-defined and accepted norms. The persons who happen to be in charge of regulating such sharing or distribution are in ‘special positions’ in relation to others. Whether it is a vendor in a ration shop or a clerk in charge of reservation in a railway station or a minister who decides to whom execution of a high-profile project should be entrusted, - all such persons happen to occupy ‘special positions’ and are bound to behave impartially and in accordance with the understood or specified norms. When they do not follow the norms, they are delinquents; when they do so for the sake of selfish benefits in return, they are criminals. When an officer shows undue preference to a person of less merit and appoints him in a public office, he does injustice to the person, who would have rightfully occupied that public office but for his skewed behavior. The matter does not end just between the officer and the appointee; the society loses the benefit of being served by a better person. So, the corruption is open disloyalty to the nation and its people. When a minister gets a bribe of 25% of the cost of a project, naturally its execution would be adversely affected. The contractor would be emboldened to use materials of inferior quality; or he would employ unqualified persons; he would like to adjust the bribe paid to the minister, without reducing his share. As a result the people become the losers. The corruption does not end with the corrupt minister and the contractor; it harms the society. Nowadays it is very common for the politicians to have several businesses. Right from the contracts for keeping the sandals, shoes etc, in temples, to production of cinemas, or to business in cricket and other sports, the politicians have cornered a substantial part of all money-making activities in the country. The stories of ‘rags to riches’ are very common among our politicians, who would claim to have sacrificed everything in their lives for the sake of the people; or to this or that language, or religion, or development of a region. There is nothing to prevent the politicians from engaging in any business but the problem arises only...

References: 1. ‘Denotifying Morality’ by Narendra Pani, Outlook, October 25, 2010
2. Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad, November 2, 2010
3. ‘Denotifying Morality’ by Narendra Pani, Outlook, October 25, 2010
4. ‘Majority Stakes’ by Arun Nehru, Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad, October 31, 2010
K S Venkataraman is the Associate Editor, Dynamic Youth online magazine dedicated to Global Youth Development. He may be reached through E-mail: dynamicyouth_development@yahoo.com
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