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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 17 2012: Let's first study the relationship of the legal system and the moral values in a society. I would say that the legal system is generally decided or influenced by the moral standard of the whole, or a part, of the society. For example, the Robin Hood behavior was considered illegal because his behavior was not acceptable by the particular society at that time. But in the socialistic countries in modern times, it is completely legitimate to TAX the rich and GIVE it to the poor. Another issue like abortion,there are countries which legislatively treat abortion as illegal by religious moral ground, while in some countries like China, it is ILLEGAL to NOT HAVE AN ABORTION for the second pregnancy of a couple based on the government policy. So the legality or the moral values of almost any behavior, including corruption, have been different (evolving) from time to time and from country to country.
    Also, as far as I know, there are countries where bribe-taking or bribe-giving is more or less implicitly permitted by the the prosecutors in most legal system. And in some systems, the formal salaries of certain officials are not sufficient to support a family, thus the bribes are treated as part of one's pay anyway.
    In summary, the morality or the legality of corruptions is determined basically by the value system of a particular society at a particular time, determined by the evolution of the value system of the majority of the members in the society.

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