On Corruption In Governments

On the news today a comment was made about the difficulty of establishing a democratic way of life when the government is corrupt. The subject of the comment was one of the Middle Eastern countries that has recently had its first open election and is struggling with the transition.

It occurred to me that we in the United States are having the same difficulty.

We commonly think of corrupt (always foreign) governments as being riddled with officials who take money from criminals to sway the courts, make laws favoring the powerful, give special treatment to the wealthy, or otherwise give preferential treatment to those who have money and power.

Once again, the double standard: If it happens there, it is corruption. If it happens here, it is “the free market”.

In either case, the wealthy give money to the politicians and in return get preferential treatment in laws, taxes, and liability for their actions. In so doing, they increase their wealth and power, and become more entrenched in their positions and their corruption.

If you doubt this, think for a minute: if any business administration did as poorly as the Congress of the United States in addressing its responsibilities, how long would they be tolerated?

I submit to you: the government of the United States is as corrupt as any government in history, if somewhat subtler in some of its workings.

What do you think?

2 thoughts on “On Corruption In Governments

  1. You’re probably right. In my brief stint working for a local legislator I saw first hand some of the smarmy manipulations and influence peddling that seemed to be accepted and expected. Probably fairly small scale compared to the influence peddling done by huge corporations in DC.

    Our rich and powerful aren’t crowding the prisons or the armed services. They have the Republican Party trying to protect their tax rates. I’m sure there are plenty of other examples. So what do we do?

  2. We are building the future one person, one decision at a time.

    If we make decisions that support the same kind of government doing the same kinds of things, that is what the future will become: more of the same.

    If we encourage and support candidates who understand we are all in this together, we will end up with a government that supports all people, not just the wealthy and powerful.

    So, what do we do? We can find better candidates, encourage them to run for office, and support them when they do. Or run for office ourselves.

    We can advocate for equal treatment before the law, insisting that the rich and powerful be held responsible for their actions in the same way, and to the same extent, that other people are, under both criminal and civil law.

    A monumental change would be to insist that corporations (the legal myth, not the people who run them) be held accountable, under criminal law as well as civil law, for their actions. So that, for instance, if the actions of a corporation result in the death of a person, and the circumstances were such that a person doing the same thing would be guilty of murder or manslaughter, the corporation should be subject to the equivalent of prison time: no business activities for a specified number of years.

    The possibilities are almost endless. Whenever you see injustice, analyze it, and realize how your decisions either help or hinder. When you can, make decisions that resist, reduce or eliminate injustice.

    What do we do? We make decisions every day. As we make better decisions, decisions that favor justice, freedom, community and joy, we will build a future of more justice, more freedom, more community, and more joy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *