TED Conversations

Anil Rajvanshi

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Debate: Is corruption a moral or a legal issue?

Too often the corruption debate and discussions all over the world are focused on how somebody broke a law. By that definition Mahatma Gandhi was the most corrupt man since he periodically broke British laws!

By dictionary definition corruption relates to doing things which are not ethical.

Hence how should the corruption be defined and fought for greater good?


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  • Nov 2 2012: To continue...corruption is allowed to happen because we haven't decided on what to use to do two things: decide what is good (things that improve the environment and the species or provide additional resources above what are consumed), and then ensure that everyone is working toward the good by being useful to other people. Corruption is a form of exploitation, where some person or persons use more than their fair share of resources to extract usefulness from others or from the future environment. Debt is one of these corrupt tools in some ways, because it is a promise (usually coerced or deceptive) to consume resources in the future in order to obtain gain in the present. When a nation creates debt, it is promising to increase the rate of consumption of citizens in order to pay back that debt somehow (usually not in ways that are clearly available or stated). The reason corruption isn't illegal is simply because our future selves and our weaker selves don't have the same rights as present selves or powerful groups (bullies, tricksters, etc). I don't mean to emphasize monetary means. Any behavior that exploits other people is using power to corrupt a social situation, and instead of monetary cost, it is a cost to social stability, which is a resource important to modeling some kind of civil future. Dishonesty, coercion, and aggrandizement are all consumptive behaviors. Legal restrictions do not seek the opposite, merely to limit them. "The opposite of consumption is not frugality", as Raj Patel says: it is generosity. The opposite of Dishonesty is honesty, not less dishonesty. The opposite of coercion is not less coercion, but cooperation. The antithesis of corruption is humble, honest cooperation. We need to work on that more.
    • Nov 3 2012: I feel like you have spoken into my being. The following documentary may interest you: /watch?v=KphWsnhZ4Ag
      People as passionate as you are needed for change... like most of the individuals involved in TED Conversations as well.

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