Ward Williams

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What are some ideas for stopping corruption in government?

There are many motivations for corruption in governmnet. No need to list them here. Are there any viable means for stopping it?

  • Feb 20 2013: Corruption can be stopped almost in its entirety.
    Is "almost" not good enough?
    Most people are taught honesty of a sort but if one grows up in a world where they must
    really fight for what they need, then honesty and morals become teaching a child how to get what
    they need to survive. That trumps honesty and morals. In fact, it would be dishonest and immoral to oneself
    to not get what one needs to survive. In fact, survival is not an immoral endeavor although there are those who
    wish to make it so and keep it that way because they hold most of the cards needed to win over others.

    Want to stop corruption? Get rid of the reasons for corruption. Get rid of the causes or reasons for committing crimes.
    It isn't human nature to be criminal, corrupt, greedy, selfish and the kinds of elements we see in those who commit crimes.
    Those are all different responses one can make and does make in the environment in which they live and which they appraise as to whether or not it is a friendly, supportive environment and will provide what they need to live.
    If not, they will respond differently and how they respond is what is correct for them.
    Let's eliminate the reasons for corruption.
    People continually want "fair, just, honest, ethical" leaders which they will never get because the system is a corrupt and unjust system, by default, and cannot be fixed, meaning it can not be made just.
    It has to be completely dismantled and a new and just system put into its place. If it has reasons to be corrupt it has to go until a just one is figured out and implemented. If there are no reasons to be dishonest, then there is no dishonesty because there is nothing to gain from it. Corruption and its other features only happens when there is something to gain.


    The reason and cause is money. Get rid of money.
    If you can't think that way, or imagine that, then start thinking that way until you find yourself finally crossing over and imagining a new world that is minus corruption. Build it.
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    Feb 20 2013: Teaching the value of honesty at all circumstances to our children and practicing it like a popular fashion.
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    Feb 20 2013: I think you mean reducing it.
    Corruption can not be stopped.
    One big step is working on our foundation; raising children in good home environments and families where values and character are inculcated in them.

    A free press is important. A truly free press; its amazing how a nation can take an illussion for reality and a lot of mess gets covered because the media is controlled by a cabal.

    The judicial system would have to be led by men and women of intergrity; unfortunately if the nation is under the grip of immorality and depravity, then it would have its share of crooks and thugs in suit as judges.
  • Feb 23 2013: There is corruption, that is true.
    It cannot be fixed or eliminated. That is probably true.
    So what else is true, is eliminating the reasons for being corrupt.
    That is true.
    With no reasons, meaning no gain, most all corruption will be gone because
    the "game is corruption", it is "based on corruption", and it cannot function
    "without corruption".
    But if the causes or reasons are gone, so too is corruption gone.
    If you have a system that has no reasons for corruption, no gain from corruption and no chance of being corrupted, then you have a just system and that is very, very achievable.
    There will be no place for corruption to hide, to seed and grow and to gain power.
    That is true.
    It isn't in the hearts of humans to be corrupt.
    It isn't in the genes of humans to be corrupt.
    It isn't human nature to be corrupt.
    Corruption is one response that is used most profusely, but only when there is a reason to become corrupt.
    In a just system (not the ones we currently have), corruption cannot exist.
    That is what a just system is and humans act accordingly.
    If that were not true, then they wouldn't act accordingly in a corrupt system (corruption)
    which is to become corrupt for survival.
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      Feb 23 2013: What are the steps to make this happen? (I am aware of the Venus Project) Is this what you're alluding to, or something else?
      • Feb 24 2013: HI Ward.
        To some degree, yes. Mr. Fresco has worked on re-engineering society for over 75 years. His ideas may not be perfect but I know of no one who has worked this long and this diligently on actually trying to solve all our problems that doesn't include profiting off of them. Solving them globally, for everyone.
        To keep corruption and greed from coming into a system, the reasons or places for it, have to go.
        Ownership of the earths resources for example. The earths resources are used for profit but even more importantly, they are mismanaged, wasted and their scarcity drives profit up along with fear of not getting ones needs met, and more savage lives lived, competing more ferociously against one another for that survival. Resources are what we all work for, but they are our needs. I believe we need to begin, and one place would be Universal Human Needs. They should become Universal Human Rights. Free to everyone. This stops fear of not being able to survive.
        The resources don't belong to anyone except every life form on the planet, regardless of where they are located. So they have to be managed properly, economically (meaning no waste, prudent use without creating pollution), and everyone has a right to their fair share they need to live.
        Politicians need to go. They don't solve problems. We are always left to solve our problems and if we have what we need to do so, we usually do. They don't so we don't need them thus we don't use them. Same with the monetary system. It begins with creating inequality that leads to greed (fear), crime (fear) and that in turn leads to poverty that begets slavery and those at the top invest in war and death, the two most profitable (money) enterprises.
        Their power lies there. Banks have to go. As Mr. Fresco said, during the depression everything was in place, nothing had changed but the people weren't there because of money.
        We do things because we want to, need to, dream about doing. We will still do them, dream them need them.
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          Feb 24 2013: Hey Random
          I agree with the principles and ideals you suggest that would help create a better world. Scarcity, is as you say a false concept perpetuated by those would and do take advantage. As human beings we can and should do better. I'm not as sure as you are though about what's in our hearts, genes, and nature.
          As I get older, (and hopefully wiser) I see more and more the inherent good in people, but does that mean that people are ONLY good? I don't think it's a pessimistic indictment on humanity to admit that we all posses to varying degrees the qualities that allow bad behavior. That some people are more predisposed to exhibit those qualities, is for me expected and even accepted as part of the human experience, even in the humanness of our leaders.
          A change as profound as the Venus Project will not and can not take place overnight by snapping our fingers and saying that money, politicians, and the idea of scarcity is gone. Even if the end game you envision requires no (or limited) leadership, getting there will. Even revolutions (which I do not advocate) require leadership. Choosing (or allowing) leaders who exhibit fewer of the traits we don't appreciate is and will be the challenge; being able to discern between what a leader is telling us and what is in his heart remains the rub.
          I prefer evolution to revolution (I can explain why if you like, but it will take more characters than I have left) as more viable and more likely. It takes longer and is not as immediately gratifying, but given the current mood, (mine at least) I am seeing the potential for people, like yourself perhaps, to stand up and lead by example.
      • Feb 26 2013: Sounds more like Howard Scott's Technocracy movement. "A life worth living"
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    Feb 21 2013: My comments, even if I've said them poorly have all been intended to impart the idea that money is a man made construct and not necessary to survive, but is a convenience. Where we may disagree is than in the elimination would solve all these problems. You may be right in what you say, but I suspect that even if money were gone tomorrow, some people would be driven to find some other means of exerting control.

    I am interested though in where you've gotten the idea that I think people only invent for bad or only think in bad terms. I may have given that impression, but I can assure you that is not how I feel in general. It may be that my cynicism regarding our government, etc is leaking into my general tone. I'll pay attention to that. Thanks.
    • Feb 22 2013: Hi Ward.
      There would be overlap between getting rid of one system and trying, really trying, to bring in a just system. This means there would also be an overlap of people who would react poorly, who would resist or slowly understand, until their numbers dwindle, and eventually they die out and are gone.
      Imagine societies in which those growing up,are growing up familiar with, used to, and accustomed to sharing, helping, supporting and so on, and with honesty as an easy thing to do rather than a choice to be made depending upon the fear one has to deal with concerning their survival and the survival of another.

      The last part is the system we have today and have had for millennium. It doesn't work.
      We need to eliminate what is not relevant to a new, just and better system.
      That definitely means money, politicians, laws, ownership of the earth's resources which allows the mismanagement of them (for profit - that's money) and the needs of money and those who manipulate it, as I listed further down.

      Look at what children are growing up with today, with money. War, invasion, opportunities for poor, dark-skinned people to make money and get trained to invade other countries where they can kill other poor, dark-skinned people, just-like-them. To be searched at their airports, schools and in their homes without notice, explanation, recourse or help, as a method of training young people to get used to living in a Fascist state. That is what is happening and that is an unjust system, that money has fueled, allowed and built.

      When you say, "some people would be driven to find some other means of exerting control." that is what is happening and their power comes from money. Our power comes from getting rid of money and they lose that power. We have to start. We have to begin. We cannot answer all questions perfectly and solve it all before we begin. Ultimately, we have to trust and have faith, in what? In each other. That is all we have.
      Belief in God doesn't mean trust.
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    Feb 21 2013: This is really neat and uplifting. Thank you.
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    Feb 20 2013: Have you watched Edi Rama's "Take back your city with paint" talk? It was amazing! He said that modernizing cities reduced corruption, because the city seemed safer and more official/organized to the citizens. I completely agree with him. I don't think this or any method would eliminate corruption completely. However, many would be surprised what a great effect colors can have on people.

    Watch here:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/edi_rama_take_back_your_city_with_paint.html
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    Feb 20 2013: These two links are from a previous conversation we had here on the debt ceiling crisis and posted by Pat Gilbert, very informative and regardless, it doesn't matter what country we reside in there is always the old boy network in play.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/congressional-insider-trading-revealed-on-60-minutes-2011-11

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504803_162-57323518-10391709/confronting-pelosi-on-insider-trading/
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      Feb 20 2013: Thanks for the links. I watched them both. You are now responsible for my insomnia. LOL
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    Feb 20 2013: Wow! (seem to say that a lot here on TED) you've said a lot. It's obvious you've thought a lot about this, and I appreciate you taking the time to show your thought process. I disagree with almost everything you say with the exception of your real conclusion, which, if I'm reading correctly, is to get rid of corruption by eliminating its causes. I agree totally with that.

    Here's why I think you're mistaken about the rest of it. First, given the context of the original question, you're going to have a hard time convincing me that any of the decision makers in the US government is corrupt because they are fighting for their lives, on a physical level at least. They are fighting for their political lives, but that's a very different, and ego driven incentive.

    Money is an exchange medium, nothing more. It symbolizes only what it can be exchanged for. The underlying cause of corruption is not money, but desire. Desire to have the things money can buy. If you have lots of money you can buy things other people can't. Things like power and influence along with other self serving ego driven things like new cars, big houses and swimming pools.

    If we eliminate desire corruption disappears. Eliminating money does not change what's in a man's heart. The inventiveness of man would only create a new means of exchange, most of which have been used in the past, ie protection, food, sex, etc.

    The elimination of desire is a "from within" process, while most of us are looking "out there." Leading by example and teaching and encouraging others to be more introspective is maybe the most important thing any of us can do. If can do a better job of these things we won't have to dismantle anything, but simply transcend, and make it irrelevant.

    In the mean time as concerns government corruption, I suspect that finding better ways to discover it and deal with it is about as good as we can do.
    • Feb 21 2013: Your comments continually loop back to money.
      Please don't fall into the trap of thinking it is human nature,
      such as you mentioned, like desire, acquisitiveness, and what's in a man's heart.
      Those are all false as being the reasons we do the things we do.
      Yes, a "rich" politician isn't fighting for his life on a physical level, but he or she is still fighting for
      what will keep them at the top and that is money.
      This money comes from the corruption they enjoy by being a politician.
      Keep in mind that no politician keeps their promises, no politician solves any problems,
      no politician cares about you, but only as a vote.
      Eliminating money, which is what virtually 100% of all crime, world-wide is directly connected to, (this has been studied and verified for decades), does eliminate reasons for corruption and committing crimes, thus changing what you call "a man's heart".
      We respond according to what our environment tells us, not with what is in our hearts.
      If our world is peaceful and so on, we respond accordingly. If it is threatening and so on, we respond to that as well. It isn't human nature. Nature, our genes, gives us a variety of responses to our environment, not a predetermined reaction that cannot be changed.
      You seem to think that humans only invent for bad, only think in bad terms and ideas but this is all influenced by their environment and the will and need to survive. Why do so many think, say and believe we are such a wonderful animal but then insist on living like wild ones?

      That isn't what I would force others to do and that is what is in my heart.
      Money is the means to do such horrible things. Money has needs. Here are seven of them:
      crime, greed, inequality, poverty, slavery, war and death.
      Do these fit your needs?
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    Feb 20 2013: That is a fabulous idea. I couldn't agree more.
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    Feb 20 2013: I've thought about exactly what you suggest. What I come up with is this. The idea is really another "checks and balances" system. There are plenty of "watch dog" groups who claim to be non-partisan, but are not. Lucky for us they don't have any authority. Having these groups elected implies campaigns, which implies money and donations and all the potential for special interest influence that we see in other campaigns. Elected people already swear an oath, and the results of that oath are debatable.

    I'm not pooh, poohing the idea, I just see pitfalls that potentially give us another layer of secrecy and cause for distrust. I have wondered if randomly selected citizens, like a jury pool could work. It eliminates the entire election process and corruption that goes with it. Unfortunately we could end up, statistically at least, with a group that leans extensively if not exclusively one way or the other. In addition it would be a burden for the citizens chosen. Maybe if it were a well paid position with a guarantee of re-employment after service it could work, but that gets to feeling convoluted to me. I suspect that the same enticements that seduce our employees now, would get to those as well, regardless of how they are chosen.

    In the end what I'd like to see is the president filling that role. I think he should be the head whistle blower, and the cheerleader for transparency and fair play. Instead what we have is an elected head-of-party whose main function seems to be getting his party and ideology elected in the next cycle.

    With 535 members in congress as a whole, the ideology of the country is represented in those members. The president's role should be to specifically watch for the kinds of things that gripe all of us, and call them on it when he sees it. If his decisions or support are too often or too obviously partisan we elect a new guy next time around.
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    Feb 20 2013: Wow! Well said. I agree, philosophically. I wonder if there is a way to get back to the tribes of compassion without a collapse?
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    Feb 20 2013: You're right corruption can't be stopped in it's entirety, but it's reasonable to want to do what we can. You're right, we have a foundational problem, that will ultimately only be solved by the discontinuation of the belief in things that are false. That's the real definition of insanity.

    As you say raising children in an environment of character and values is key, but of course those are broad terms whose meanings vary somewhat between cultures. Are there definitions of character and values, that transcend culture, or religious beliefs (even within a single country) that we can hold our employees accountable to? If those definitions exist, what methods can we use to create that accountability?
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    Feb 20 2013: I couldn't agree more. Every problem we have is a result of an inattentive citizenry. We've given a fox the keys to the hen house, and we're pissed when we hear somewhere in a dark corner of the coop, "Mmmmm, tastes just like chicken!"
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    Feb 20 2013: Corruption extends far beyond the publicized scandals we see on the news from time to time. Two examples come to mind that are in the open, yet born in secrecy.

    1. Congress passes laws that effect us all, but exclude themselves from the reach of those laws.
    During the debates and news coverage before new legislation we hear about "what the American people want," or "we need to set politics aside, and get this done for the American people." What we don't hear is why it's good for us, but not for them. Those conversations are done behind closed doors. The secrecy that allows that is a corruption in my opinion. Our employees are supposed to part of "the American people". Exclusivity in the public sector is corruption. These people are our employees, not royalty.

    2. Campaign Finance. Our candidates and their surrogates brag about how much money they've raised. They use it as an indication of how successful they're apt to be. That between the two major candidates they raised and spent 2 billion dollars to get elected is both an abomination, and in my opinion, corrupt. Much of that money comes from large donors with special interests who want a payback for their contributions. To me this is tantamount to jury tampering, but is done out in the open, and legal. The paybacks are even done "in the open" often with legislation that is "public knowledge". This legislation is written in nearly unreadable language by lawyers who hide payback riders in bills that are so complex that few people have the time (or skills) to read. I think the intention behind this behavior is corrupt.

    How can it be anything but corrupt to spend a billion dollars (each guy did that) to get elected to right the wrongs of our country, without saying a word about how wrong it is to spend that much on a political campaign? You could put shoes on every naked foot in America with $2 billion.

    No, I don't think we've got it covered.
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    Gail .

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    Feb 20 2013: I can think of no way to stop it until the people of the USA educate themselves about the Constitution, its history, its intent, and its overthrow in a documented Coup d'etat. It's quite amazing how many people define American government in a way that denies the protections and responsibilities that the Constitution was designed to give "We, the People".

    We have been taught outright, verifiable lies about our own history. We believe what we were taught because, as children, we were required to. Documentary evidence that proves the lies is never given (except, in law school, where it frames as something other than what it was). Because we believe lies, when we try to fix what is so broken, we are working with pieces of two puzzles, so the solution never becomes obvious to most.

    Our educational system needs serious repair.
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    Feb 20 2013: stop the government
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    Feb 20 2013: I think you mean reducing it.
    Corruption can not be stopped.
    One big step is working on our foundation; raising children in good home environments and families where values and character are inculcated in them.

    A free press is important. A truly free press; its amazing how a nation can take an illussion for reality and a lot of mess gets covered because the media is controlled by a cabal.

    The judicial system would have to be led by men and women of intergrity; unfortunately if the nation is under the grip of immorality and depravity, then it would have its share of crooks and thugs in suit as judges.
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    Feb 20 2013: I think you mean reducing it.
    Corruption can not be stopped.
    One big step is working on our foundation; raising children in good home environments and families where values and character are inculcated in them.

    A free press is important. A truly free press; its amazing how a nation can take an illussion for reality and a lot of mess gets covered because the media is controlled by a cabal.

    The judicial system would have to be led by men and women of intergrity; unfortunately if the nation is under the grip of immorality and depravity, then it would have its share of crooks and thugs in suit as judges.
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    Feb 20 2013: The first step is to realise that there is no such creature called "government". If we make it, it is a golem of ill intention which will do what we have asked it to do. But we have no idea what we have asked till it gets delivered into our laps.

    Best to explain.

    we have been running a 10 thousand year experiment of divorcing ourselves from our world.

    We invented "law". This was a big mistake.

    Law is designed to capture our mutual advantage - the power of tribe written in stone to allow a tribe to scale beyond about 200 members.

    And it works .. we have invested our empathy and compassion into law, but forgot why we did it.
    Now super-entities can invade our ignorance - the gap in our memory.

    I look forward to the ultimate collapse, then we can go back to being tribes with compassion and empathy with no place for the ghosts in the machines - becuase there will be no more machines.
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    Feb 20 2013: A public ethics committee.

    Elected every four years not from the ruling party/parties or group but made up of party members from each party in government. Upon election a member must reswear an oath to the country, effectively putting their party affiliations on hold and must base all investigations and inquiries upon the rule of the balance of probabilities and have the power to bring a bill to a halt if there is substantial evidence to warrant it, they can also prosecute after the term of a ministers time is up.

    None of the members must remain in contact with their parties and are outside the government or can they take private audience for any group outside of government.

    A watch dog and outside lobbyist machinations.
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    Feb 20 2013: I would think we already have pretty effective means, which are the fear of conviction and imprisonment. That doesn't mean people won't do it, but we'll usually catch them and stop them. What are you getting at?
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      Feb 20 2013: To answer your question directly, what I'm getting at is that I think there is corruption in the government and I'm wondering if anyone has ideas about how to fix it. I assumed that was implicit in my original question. If you'd like me to innumerate examples of why I think so, I'd be happy to. If your reply to my question is that fear of reprisal and the rules we have in place are adequate, that's fair enough. I appreciate your response.
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        Feb 20 2013: Ward, I'm no expert. As far as I know what we now have is adequate. Do you know of situations that aren't covered by what we now have?
  • Feb 19 2013: Use computers like Watson. :)
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    Feb 19 2013: the death penalty….