Understanding the Corruption Problem

Bribery and corruption from the grassroots of a society

Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

There is a thirst in the world for new things. The speed of development is so high that 5 years ago actually looks like 20 years ago. The problem is that people are not adapting well to this speed of change.

People are more ignorant than you think — this is something I’ve noticed. Sometimes, I assume a person knows much because of how they look and present themselves. Then when it comes to delivery, I’m disappointed at how ignorant the person is.

Well-schooled doesn’t mean well-educated

Even the greatest of minds still get schooled on basic things. But, true education is understanding how and when to learn, unlearn and relearn. If I showed you that you are going in the wrong direction, will you heed to me or will you continue in that direction? Some people wouldn’t change even though they know it is the wrong way? People who can change directions are the true enlightened ones. And your life is your choice.

Here Is Where We Are

There are so many illegal things are going on in the world. As you are reading this right now, lots of illegal operations are taking place around the world. The various popular governments in the world try to play the judge. But because they are inconsistent and sometimes partial, some illegal operators see that as a right to do what they do.

Remember that trying to solve the problem is not solving the problem

There are various agencies trying to stop the illegal drug trade. And they know they won’t achieve 100% success. Why? Imagine this — if they succeed 100%, what work will they be doing? It is like the case of the computer virus and antivirus. So, for the service to exist there must be a problem or the illusion of a problem. Everything is one big merry-go-round. This brings me back to the point:

The solution does not fix the problem

This is typical of all solutions by the government to tackle societal problems. Their solution is always a response to the problem. Which means that it never solves it. That is why their systems are susceptible to corruption.

Consider the Illegal Drug Trade

What is the solution to the illegal drug business? It’s very simple — people stop taking drugs. If there are no buyers, there won’t be sellers. If there are no sellers, there won’t be a cartel or drug lord. But as long as there are buyers, you arresting and jailing for the next 10 million years won’t mean a thing. The problem will continue and might even grow stronger.

Take a look at the result that will make all the difference (i.e. people stop taking drugs). Who are you to tell people not to take illegal drugs or smoke dangerous chemical compounds? The more you tell them not to, the more they will (in your face). So, is that a dead-end? Of course not! Leave the work of changing people to the hands of those who can handle it. Don’t try what you don’t understand. But if (and when) you see someone who does, do what you must.

How It Begins

When people have lots of money, it puts them in a position that makes them think they are impregnable. This thinking shows in the way they live and pass on information to those who are upcoming. The problem is — this information creates in the young ones a severe thirst for money.

The young ones can see through the various media platforms. They get hypnotized into longing for what they don’t need. That creates greed. Then, any gentle appeal to greed can result in adulterating justice. And also the purposeful improper discharge of duties. This act when caught or suspected is corruption.

Hypocrisy or Reality?

The program that took me into the remote town was one by the government and operated by the government. It was compulsory although I had planned not to be part of it. But then, I saw it as my only strategy to run away from my parent’s house. Not that they were mean or something like that, but I was already itching to be on my own. I had to use the exit door, but that is not my main reason anyway.

The program was a nice initiative but the execution was very poor. We had these meetings where the attendance of every participant is very important. Some colleagues (who decided not to stay in the town) would give the officials money (as motivation) to sign them present.

One day this big argument about corruption broke out among some colleagues. One of the officials (the one that helps with the attendance at some monetary motivation) was there. My roommate took part in it, so it was quite interesting. He insisted that corruption is any money collected to break protocol, bend the rules (no matter how small) or cheat the system (even if it’s a little bit). And everybody there was coughing their own perspectives. I was the observer — I sat there, listening and laughing. Then the official (who was a very friendly person) put up his own perspective. He said if he does a favor for two people. Then one comes back to show appreciation (in monetary terms) and the other doesn’t. In the next time, he will tend to favor the one who gave money and brush the other aside.

Gift or Bribe?

To be honest, protocols and systems can be so annoying. Sometimes you wish the official will bypass protocols because you mean no harm. But if you have to promise appreciation (as motivation), then appreciation is no more appreciation. But to the official in that town, it is still appreciation.

The giving of gifts is so embedded in the everyday life of people. And sometimes the difference between a gift and a bribe is so thin, you can only tell by the person giving it. This means, from the kind of person who sent the gift, you can tell if it’s a gift or bribe. But there is a long bridge between a gift and a bribe.

A bribe is a gift with ulterior (or impure) motives.

For example, I heard a man say he received countless Christmas gifts as a bank manager. The year he retired, that very Christmas, he got only one greeting card. So, what has he been receiving — gifts or bribes?

Now how do you want to put an end to corruption? what do you intend to do? Tell people to stop giving? Tell officials to stop accepting gifts as personal?

If you dare put your hand in a crocodile’s mouth, it will chop your hand. Know your limits and stay there. This is to make you see things the way they are.

The Corruption Trap

The corruption trap is very simple. it begins when nobody notices anything and puts the person where the person seems to have but lacks. If you believe money can solve all your problems, then you will do anything (no matter how horrible) to get money. And with opportunities to be corrupt, you’ll surely get in the mix. The thing is — you’ll think you’re rich when you have the money but the truth is that you’re only a pawn — money has you.

Understand what you can do and what you shouldn’t do.

This article was written in 2015/2016 from my experience in a community service initiative. Read the entire collection in the order it was written here.

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