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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 19 2012: Corruption is entirely driven by our beliefs.

    Those beliefs, however, are greatly influenced by that which is legal in our societies, and what we internally represent as moral. Our two primary motivators are pain and pleasure, but we have a greater need to avoid pain than to seek pleasure. In order to fight corruption and evil (a laudable intent), we must change negative beliefs, and instill certain empowering ones.

    For example, in order to stop robberies from happening, it must become more painful for a person to rob than not to. In other words, all of the guilt, misery, humiliation and legal consequences must be more real to the person than the accomplishment of acquiring certain material objects (which in turn reward the person emotionally).

    I define corruption as an action which the perpetrator is aware of as painful or unjust to others (and is recognized by society as such), but continues to do so to elicit a certain reward -- generally emotional. Let's look at the Watergate scandal, under Nixon's presidency. He believed that gathering certain intelligence (at the cost of justice and honesty, and whatever you decide was at stake) was more rewarding than just leaving it alone, and not taking action was more painful than following through with his plan. (I KNOW IT'S REALLY CONFUSING.)

    I think in order to battle corruption, we must hold those who are in power hostage by way of democracy, because they wouldn't make unjust laws if they were subject to them. Their beliefs need to shift not only to "corruption is bad," but "contribution and honesty is good." There must be some sort of training to make that experience real to them so that they may allow those principles to affect their life and leadership positively.

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