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Summary of Corruption


July 23, 2006

   A theoretical approach must transcend Time or the view of any social epoch. Any topic considered outside any context is treated scientifically. Cultural, social or even psychological limitations render it non-scientific. In that sense, corruption is a moral concept, not a concept of pure action. It is a value judgement. Once we know the subject of corruption objectively, it can be made subjective to any period or any doctrine. We consider corruption here only in its monetary aspect of bribing, leaving aside for the present various other versions of it.

   An accomplishment is an organised act that consumes energy in a certain measure. Initially it can only be done in this way and it is the only way. As mind develops and society develops along with it and because of it, other possibilities of accomplishing the same act arise. They are shortcuts where inappropriate procedures are followed. It is called corruption. No corrupt ways could have been resorted to in earlier centuries to cultivate an acre of paddy. The needed work had to be put in without fail. In securing a license from the government today, the rule is to go by merit. The sanctioning authority can be bribed to overlook rules. Bribes arise because there are rules to be followed.

   Any society learns to accomplish and distribute its accomplishment among its members creating certain rules. Accomplishment is amoral. Rules are structures of the society that come later. In a period of degeneration, attempts are made to circumvent the rules by means of political influence or monetary bribes. That earns the name corruption. What was accomplishment before rules emerged becomes corruption after the institution of rules. This is the central theme. History shows that this was a route of all governments. Corruption is high in all Asian countries. All the European and American nations passed through a phase of corruption in earlier centuries. This is a historical truth. Now, in a country like India which was ruled by English gentlemen of high character for over two hundred years, independence has released the forces of development. We forget that in the halcyon days of the corruption-free British Raj, development was actively prevented. The forces of development released, especially in a modern context that can utilise modern technology and modern education, a flood of prosperity breaking any bounds that were there. It is seen as corruption while it is a normal process of social development.

  This view points out the inevitability of a phase of corruption in any nation and is far from justifying it. A foolish moral view that tries to eliminate corruption, if ever it is possible, will cry a halt to all social development. To overcome this unseemly development, we can wait for this phase to pass or make an intelligent use of the available administrative and social forces to stifle it. My theme is, if the government is aware of the social process, there are enough social forces that can ALMOST eliminate the phenomenon of corruption. Corruption will finally disappear only when man develops self-respect out of education and prosperity. Corruption is not a disease, but a symptom of faster social development than the social structures can support. Obviously prosperity emerges first and the restraining social structures later.

   Now that there is the computer which makes for records that cannot be tampered with and a high level of transparency, it is my view that in all developing countries a fuller utilisation of the computer will reduce corruption by 50%. Petty corruption thrives when the official can deny legitimate information and cause an inordinate delay. That can be completely eliminated by computer. The favours conferred by the government in granting licenses is a fertile soil of corruption. Make the process open, about 80% of corruption will be removed. India can go back to her 1960 conditions if this much is done. The object of my paper is to point out the irrational condemnation of one form of corruption by those who indulge in the same corruption in another form or in another place. Today we prefer democracy to monarchy, but we should not forget that monarchy created nation-states out of tribal people. Suppose democracy was resorted to in those days, the tribes would have remained vociferously tribes. Allowing the leader undue privileges over the entire population made monarchy possible. The service done by monarchy to the nation is incalculable. Today in our enlightened state, monarchy deserves to be condemned. Corruption is to the poor countries what monarchy was to the tribes. The Theory of Development, being a scientific whole, puts in our hands enormous powers of knowledge, secrets of social powers, the creative power of Money, the phenomenal forces organisation has revealed, the infinite forces of interplay. That JP Morgan, single-handed, could avoid a crash in 1907 shows the vast social powers that have accumulated. Now institutions of great power have emerged whose social value is not grasped. Using them, corruption can almost be abolished.

story | by Dr. Radut