CORRUPTION – You pay for it everyday!

This is a look into a characteristic that encompasses a very large percentage of countries in the world today.

Volumes can be written about this because the fact is that corruption is a disease that infiltrates systems like a cancer virus attacking a body.  You can fight it but it continues to regenerate itself through alternate paths and various factors.

One very important fact contributing to corruption is that of excessive laws and legislations.

The Random House Webster’s dictionary defines it as:

  1. the act of corrupting or state of being corrupt
  2. moral perversion; depravity
  3. perversion of integrity
  4. corrupt or dishonest proceedings
  5. bribery
  6. debasement or alteration, as of language or a text
  7. a debased form of a word
  8. putrefactive decay; rottenness
  9. any corrupting influence or agency

Corruption is the product of an imbalance in the system.

The worse case scenario is when corruption involves leadership and the judicial system.

The following will not take long to read as I do not intend to write an encyclopedia on the subject but it will give you an idea and understanding of what corruption is.

If you do not believe that it exists in your country then you are naïve to say the least.


A difference between patriotism and communism

Do you believe that whistle blowing is undignified?
Do you consider it the same as being a “Rat Fink”?
No, patriotism and communism have nothing to do with each other.

Patriotism has to do with respect for one’s self, one’s relatives, friends, neighbors, and nation and the characteristics of truth and honesty.

Communism on the other hand is a self-centered idealism that would probably have died today if it were not for the ultra-capitalists that support it.

In communist countries, whistle blowing on a person or persons can result in extreme penalties including death.  The whistle blower is not praised, ridiculed, or shamed because that person has done his or her duty.  So why do YOU consider it to be something bad.
Forget those childhood memories of having to support your best friends by not “telling” on them.

Whistle blowing is the right action to take because it protects the good of the greater.
Look at the Enron story, a few people in very high positions with exorbitant salaries became so greedy that they had to steal the money from the company that belonged to thousands of people causing them to loose their retirement funds.

If just one of the first 10 people involved in this scandal had informed someone outside of that company, they would have not only saved the billions in retirement but might have also saved that company.  The moral here was that corruption is spread not only by the poor but even more by the rich.


Let’s play pave the street over and over

Wow, the street is being repaved and to think that it was just done 3 months ago.
First, the road was paved.  Second, the water company decided that they should dig up the street to put in a water pipe, and the road was paved again.  Third, the gas company finally has the idea to put in a gas pipe, yes, and the road was paved again.  Oh, fourth, the electric company decided to put in new power line poles, and the road was paved again.

Wait, we’re not finished.  It’s the fifth time, the water company decided that now it was time to put in a sewerage pipe, and the road was paved again.
By the way, who paid for that road to be repaved all those times?  YOU.

You might not call it corruption but if you look deeply enough, I think that you will find that the same road construction company is being hired by the same people that are sending those public services.  Hmmm, do you think that they are the only road construction around or could it be something else like graft, kickback, gifts?  Okay, whatever you want to call it.


The government accounting agency that doesn’t need information systems

At one time during my career, I took the initiative to meet with the president of the government accounting agency.  Being in a country that was still behind in computing, I new that not many companies were computing oriented but I never expected that the president’s office of this agency would not have a computer.

After an introduction of who I was and why I arranged the meeting, I came to the point of asking if there was any person or department that used computing – information technology.
I was told that no one was because the position did not exist and that there was no need for it now or in the future.  Yes, that was back then (around 1984) and yes, the president of the agency told me that.  I was so stunned that I simply ended the meeting in a casual way and left.  It took awhile to understand how and why I received those responses to my questions but I finally figured it out.

Corruption does not like organization, up-to-date information, information trails for auditing, and especially any method that would eliminate corruption such as transparency (full disclosure) of transactions.  This is why information technology was and still is ominous in certain societies.


The building authority that looks the other way (a double meaning)

A new home is being built on the plot of land next door but it seems that the neighbor is building it higher than it should be.  Not a problem, a person can go directly to the local government agency responsible and ask them to investigate so that there will be no hard feelings between them and their new neighbor.

Right?  You now find out that the local government agency that you made the inquiry at is going to check your house for building violations of specifications!
The whistle blower is accused of being the guilty party!

How can this be you ask?

This is the dark side of corruption, the area that inflicts punishment or negative psychological reactions on individuals trying to keep justice.  They find that justice has been killed, stabbed in the back, and that they are alone on the battle field.
The sad part is that a society that deals with this in every part of their everyday lives becomes lost in the weave of the spider’s web of corruption and this eventually spreads to other parts of their everyday lives like cancer.


The banking system that is above the law

You are just a person that uses banks on a daily basis.
You enter your local bank and decide to take out some money from your personal bank account.  After the bank teller deducts the amount from your bank account, he/she provides you with your cash.  You take the money to a shop to buy something and the shop owner tells you that one of the bank notes that you are trying to use is counterfeit.  You say it can’t be, I just got the money from the bank teller.  Assuming (here’s your mistake) that the bank teller will admit guilt; you take the bank note to the bank and find that they call the police and have you arrested.


Free schools and the educational system

Free, is a word that gleams joy in everyone’s mind, that we are going to receive something that has no cost or obligation to us.
Nothing is free!  Think about it, it can’t be.  Anything that has a value whether it is a service or a product has a cost, and that cost can be anything from 1 cent to 1 minute of time.
Yes, 1 minute of time is precious, just ask anyone that is terminally ill.  As for the 1 cent, no matter what the currency, 1 cent can mean the difference for a person in a starving nation.

The free school system, or is it?
Yes, public schools in some places are free and include free books but if a person that attends school has to also attend tutoring schools at the same time, “free” then takes on a different meaning.

What is the real price?  You are forced to send your children to the tutoring schools and they are taught by the same public school teachers that teach during normal school days.  The difference is that YOU will not only pay them their salary while they teach your children at the public school but you will also pay them again for teaching your children what they should have taught them in the first place.

Yes, those books are free at the school because they are paid for by YOUR taxes. The problem is that when your children have to use the tutoring schools, YOU will have to buy the books that the teachers tell you to buy so that they can also make a profit from the books.

You compare the difference:
Cost of free education and books, zero
Cost of private tutoring and books, just as much, if not more, then it would cost to send your child to a private school to make up for corrupt teachers and the system, strikes either by the teachers or by the students that are politically influenced.

Versus

The cost of a private education, less bureaucracy, a stable environment for children, and an education with in a more positive environment.  While the topic of private school costs can become a debate, even the less expensive private schools are a better option.

The losers are the children, and their future children to come, that study in a corrupt environment.


When logic and cost don’t agree you should know that something’s wrong.
Another public company displays it’s own method of keeping corruption alive by providing you with a telephone directory printed in multiple volumes on paper.  Yes, those telephone books can come in handy on cold winter days when there is no more wood for your fireplace.

Cost of producing telephone books: (a simple analysis)
Use of computing personnel
Committee to request an offer from the printing company
Printing company to print books
Paper and ink to print
Delivery of telephone books

VERSUS

Cost of producing telephone book on computer CD: (a simple analysis)
Use of computing personnel
Purchase of cd’s
Delivery of cd’s

So when you ask yourself, “why is the telephone book free but telephone directories on cd are not”, think about how much YOU are paying your public telephone company to give to the someone at the printing company to give a kickback to someone at your public telephone company.


Local versus global
There is no difference as to where corruption occurs.  The result is that YOU pay for it’s existence directly and indirectly.  Take a look at the big picture to understand how you will pay for it even on a global scale.

Fight corruption, don’t ask for “favors” from your local government representatives or anyone if that favor means that you will have to give an undesirable favor in return because if you do and/or if they give it to you, then YOU ARE GUILTY of the crime of corruption that you and your family will pay for in the future!

Inherent in the phrase, “one hand washes the other” is the crime of corruption.

You don’t have to be communist just to have a better way of life.

I would say that maybe it’s not a bad idea to shoot or hang those who are corrupt, but then that’s not socially correct or is it?


References:

See No Evil: When We Overlook Other People's Unethical Behavior
http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5839.html

H KAΘHMEPINH 17 July 2009
Justice Minister Nikos Dendias yesterday heralded the creation of a team of “incorruptibles” to avert crime and corruption in the country’s jails following the implication of two prison governors in the operation of a crime ring known as the “Gang of 16.”
The team, to be set up along the lines of the police’s internal affairs department, would comprise senior officials from correctional institutions and policemen, Dendias told reporters following talks with prison governors from around the country. The minister appealed to the governors to ensure the strict enforcement of a new legal provision banning inmates from using cell phones. He also heralded the creation of another state body that would be charged with monitoring the financial transactions of Greek jails. “We hope that these tools will help us to boost the quality of our fight against corruption in correctional institutions,” he said.

Corruption is thriving in public services
Annual report identifies main problems
http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_politics_0_30/06/2009_108509


MARGARITA KIAOU/ANA
The man charged with keeping an eye on public services for cases of graft has painted another bleak picture of the state sector in his annual report which was delivered yesterday and recommends immediate steps to prevent bureaucrats being tempted by corruption.
“The fight against corruption is long, hard and has many obstacles such as the bureaucratic attitude of public servants, various petty interests and the lack of know-how in thwarting techniques used to cover up corrupt practices,” said the country’s general inspector of public administration, Leandros Rakintzis.
As in previous reports, Rakintzis identified town-planning offices and state hospitals, followed by municipalities, as the areas of the public sector where corruption is most rife.
Late last year, graft watchdog Transparency International ranked Greece as the most corrupt country in the euro zone while earlier this year it found that the average Greek family pays 1,450 euros per year in bribes to public officials.
Rakintzis said that the main reason why corruption is not being curtailed is that offenders go unpunished. He drew attention to the fact that internal evaluation of public servants almost always led to them being given full marks.
“It is not possible for all 800,000 civil servants to be excellent,” he said. “Even I did not get marks like that.”
Rakintzis said that in checking 7,608 sources of wealth declarations (pothen esches) of high-level public servants, 30 were found to have suspiciously high earnings. He also gave the example of a doctor at the KAT emergency hospital in northern Athens who made some 2 million euros during a six-year period by effectively operating a private clinic within the state facilities.
Rakintzis also listed a “long list of offenses” at town-planning offices, an area where “destruction [of the environment] cannot be reversed.” He highlighted the fact that many of the 176 offices around the country are understaffed and that illegal buildings are rarely demolished. He said that there are 2 million illegal buildings in Greece, 300,000 of which are in Attica.
He recommended 15 ways of tackling corruption, which included employing public servants only in the areas where they already live, changing the system for promotions and drawing up a new wage structure.


Next >