Is it Greed or Corruption?


Say no to bribes (probably in Chipata), Zambia

Image via Wikipedia

We hear about corruption everyday in all aspects of our society. It is important that we understand this term “Corruption” and by understanding what it means, we are able to more efficiently take some form of action/s to combat it when we are confronted. Greed is an excessive desire to possess wealth or goods with the intention to keep it for one’s self. Greed – is a sin of excess. Greed is an inappropriate expectation. However, greed is applied to a very excessive or rapacious desire and pursuit of wealth, status, and power. Whilst corruption applies too;

  • Political corruption,
    the abuse of public power, office, or resources by government officials or employees for personal gain, e.g. by extortion, soliciting or offering
    bribes;
  • Police corruption,
    a specific form of police misconduct designed to obtain financial benefits, other personal gain, and/or career advancement for a police
    officer or officers in exchange for not pursuing, or selectively pursuing,  an investigation or arrest;
  • Corporate corruption, corporate criminality and the abuse of power by corporation officials, either internally or externally, including the fact that police obstruct
    justice;
  • Data corruption, an unintended change to data in storage or in transit;
  • Linguistic corruption,  the change in meaning to a language or a text introduced by cumulative  errors in transcription as changes in the language speakers’ comprehension;
  • Bribery in politics, business, or sport;
  • Systemic corruption, the complete subversion of a political or economic system;
  • Rule of law, governmental corruption of  judiciary, includes governmental spending on the courts, which is completely financially controlled by the executive in many transitional and developing countries.

Case #1, California, USA corruption

First, several Californian cities—such as Vernon’s neighbour, Maywood—ran into financial trouble largely caused by the recession. They decided they could no longer afford to duplicate
all the intricate layers of local democracy and administration, and have tried to consolidate either with other cities or with the county itself.

Then, last year, came discoveries of corruption. Most notorious was Bell, another of Vernon’s neighbours, where eight officials lived in remarkable style, levied illegally high taxes and are now on trial. Another city nearby, Montebello, is also being investigated on suspicions that it cooked its books.

So it was perhaps only a matter of time before lawmakers took an interest in the bizarre case of Vernon. The city happens to be in the district of assemblyman John Pérez, a Democrat who is also the assembly’s speaker and an up-and-coming sort. Mr Pérez, citing an “unprecedented pattern of corruption”, has now shepherded a bill through his lower house that would disincorporate any city with fewer than 150 residents and have it be absorbed by its county. That happens to affect only one Californian city, Vernon.

The threat of job losses and a new manufacturing exodus naturally gets legislators’ attention at a time when California has barely begun recovering from recession

Case #2,  New York

“You don’t have to have elected commissioners to cut crime; it’s a mistake to equate the two. The worst-case scenario from the plans is that the professionalism of the police
could be downgraded, and that could cause corruption and the public to lose confidence in the police,” said De Grazia, who served in the New York
district attorney’s office from 1975 to 1987 and became Manhattan’s most senior non-elected law officer, in charge of 400 lawyers, fraud investigators and prosecutors.

But De Grazia cites a series of major scandals in New York as exposing the risks of elected commissioners, including the systemic recording of serious offences as minor in order to keep
crime figures artificially low and the subsequent failure by an elected commissioner to properly investigate the allegations.

“There is always a risk of police corruption, but there is both a higher risk and incidence when you place the police directly under the control of an elected politician. I don’t believe
the government’s bill in its current form sufficiently recognises this risk and takes step to mitigate it,” she said.

“If you are going to take another country’s governance system, then you should import the checks and balances from that system. That has not happened in this case. The problem
appears to be that they are looking only at crime reduction and not corruption.”

 Case #3, Thailand!

Bribery, red tape and corruption have to be reduced before Thailand becomes non-competitive and unsuitable for many corporations, which would seek to invest elsewhere. Big multinational corporations with their own codes of conduct may claim they no longer bribe politicians or bureaucrats. But if the climate is such that it demands bribes or bribes are offered by their competitors, these corporations may lose out given the lack of a level playing field, warned a specialist in economic governance at the Thailand Development Research Institute.

Recent research revealed that out of the more than 200 cases of illegal practices by firms listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand from 1999-2010, those punished were just slightly over 5 per cent. Many of these cases involved fraud worth Bt3-4 billion, and given the low rate of punishment and fines, which on average amounts to Bt500,000-Bt1 million, it all seems worth the risk to break the law.

“It’s still legal for a government minister to endorse a contract with a bidding firm that is owned by the minister’s son or daughter.”  The Nation, Bangkok!

“When we are confronted with making the right decision, or the wrong one, what would you do?  Our greed, becomes the limiting factor as to wheather we chose right or wrong. So often our reasoning becomes blurred, and our thinking becomes handicapped into believing it is OK, we say, everyone is taking that bribe or that kick-back, so it must be OK!  And this becomes a way-of-life and then our children grow up and follow our footsteps and they continue to follow Corruptions way. Is this your idea of getting ahead in life?” Hotdogfish!

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