Power and Corruption’s Unwanted Affair

Corruption is undoubtedly the inevitable fallout of power. To open any debate or discussion on corruption is like opening Pandora’s box. But what exactly is corruption?It has been defined as ‘bribery’, ‘frauds’ and their various forms which are given a different name.However, objectively speaking, corruption spans a whole spectrum of unethical, immoral, illegitimate and illegal human activities. In fact, the World Bank’s definition of corruption is probably the most apt one: “Abuse of power for personal gain”.

This above mentioned ‘abuse of power’ occurs because a person’s psychological problems/state of mind undermines his /her moral principles and thereby corrupt his exercise of power. All forms of power are subject to corruption, some at different levels, others in different style with alternate names. This typically occurs when the importance of power is over estimated and the responsibility of those holding it is underestimated.

Many analysts regard corruption as a mere consequence of political and economic, socio-ethnic, and even moral reasons. Corruption undoubtedly owes its beginnings to all these reasons. But it is also necessary to see that corruption itself can also become an important factor which ends up defining the state politics and economy in the development of a state.

Over a period of time, corruption has absorbed our entire political system, adjusted the state machine to itself and laid down the “rules of the game”. Is it not amazing to see how an ‘ideology’ (if we could put corruption as one) can change things and people so much?

Imagine the positive impact things could have had if it were something else rather than corruption that would have been the influencing force!

At times, it is hard to accept the fact that power is corruption itself, that fighting corruption means fighting the power system. It is quite sad yet true that there is no corruption outside power and no power outside corruption.

When it is said that there is no corruption outside the state power system, it definitely doesn’t mean that average society members are not subject to their stereotypes. In fact, it is like a cancerous tumor penetrating the whole body, little by little, like metastasis infecting new and new cells of an organism.

The system of corruption supposes that when involved in the system, one would have to accept the terms or else be ready to get crushed and thrown. And do we not increase the troubles when we look for a ‘way out’?

It would not be wrong to say that power is neutral but the person who holds power is not. So power magnifies both, the person’s virtues and his/her vices. Thus we can say that power reveals the latent corruption lying dormant within the person and hence becomes its inevitable fallout. And as to the question of who needs to provide the solution – if you wish to change the system, change yourself.

Meghna Baveja

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