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Absolute power corrupts absolutely, would you agree or disagree?

Specifically relating to world governments or leaders, once a party or individual rises to the top of the power structure will they predictably abuse that power?

Furthermore, if the party or leader attains power but doesn't use it in a way that helps the most people possible, does that constitute corruption in your mind?

In party politics, does political gridlock constitute a failure of leadership akin to corruption?

What do you think?

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      Jun 24 2013: Here are just a few (trivial) responses for you . . .

      "As it applies to man it definitely appears that once a person or group has a lot of power it becomes corrupt and will abuse that power."

      - I have no real issue w/this comment, except that if this were universally true, we would have outlawed Billionaires decades ago. Admittedly, if you have enough money/power, you can afford to indulge your darker impulses in way that most of the rest of us would find offensive. In the third world, I have been told, you can almost universally get someone 'bumped off' for a few hundred or a few thousand Euros, depending upon the local economy. So I ask, could a Billionaire in the U.S.A. commit murder and escape prison? Maybe, but I doubt it. More likely they could easily father multiple children out of wedlock; engage hundreds of lawyers (costing millions of Euros) to harass or abuse someone they merely dislike. And/or, they could (and do) ruin the lives of millions of working families by exporting their jobs overseas. They then accept the congratulations of their peers for their exceptionally GOOD business practices. They also escape the condemnation of politicians & society-at-large (the media) by either preserving their anonymity or hiring a really good PR firm to manage the fallout in the local press. The politicians they just buy off with big political contributions.

      Money IS power. When someone who HAS sufficient power & money, then chooses to keep you poor, I find that they generally can. At the same time, if they choose to make you relatively RICH (compared to your former or current status) they can do that too! They just have to perceive an advantage for themselves in doing so.

      John Grisham has written several novels w/this last as a premise. His fictional narratives are quite plausible. Where the Tobacco Companies are concerned Grisham's narratives seem not only plausible but outright damning.
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          Jun 24 2013: I am a big fan of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. That outfit has saved more than a million lives of children who otherwise would have died for lack of inoculation/vaccination. In much of the hacker community (those unskilled enough to get hired by Microsoft) they called Bill "The Evil One!" Many programmers @IBM, Sun, Oracle, Digital, Xerox, etc. felt exactly the same way.

          Cloud computing may well put Microsoft into a measured decline/downsize. PC software isn't as important as it once was. Some Cloud providers offer software already embedded in the Cloud for business to take advantage of. For a small monthly fee you get access to software formerly available only to major banks and super-big corporations & costing millions. The Motley Fool has built a major add campaign for itself on just that assertion.
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          aj trip

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          Jun 25 2013: And LaMar the same question for you.
          Sure a billionaire may have no desire to use the money to seek power, or to do harm with it, but isn't inaction where one has the ability to help, the same as outright corruption?
        • Jun 25 2013: Juan, Gates was known for and did practice many illegal business dealings, some were investigated by the senate, and they found him using his wealth and position to illegally get rid of any competition. No matter how you feel about the man now, nor no matter what he tries to do to feel better about himself, and thus the perception of others, it's always good to know where they have come from. And remember a leopard doesn't change it's spots.
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        Jun 25 2013: So two questions for you Juan. First, if the owner of a company chooses to move his factory overseas is that corruption? Doesn't a person who owns a business have the right to move their jobs wherever they'd like without moral consequence? Wouldn't it be the government's fault for not providing a business friendly environment where they could afford to stay?

        And secondly, Bill Gates has saved many lives through his foundation but doesn't someone with that amount of money have the obligation to do more? He could literally afford to feed every starving family in the world if he wanted to.

        I'm not picking sides on either question, just asking for conversation's sake.
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          Jun 25 2013: Here is a video for you about a very different concept of what a business really is: http://www.ted.com/talks/devdutt_pattanaik.html I'm not from India. I know about the slave labor & deplorable working conditions there. I only suggest that this is a very different model of a business. Before a TED audience, it looks ideal. I'm looking for more TED videos on the subject, here.

          Here on my desk there is paper, pencils, & lots of things that I own. I can use them as I feel. I can toss them away as I choose. But people are not like those object I own. There was once a sense of responsibility in these things & we are losing that.

          Many once believed that the owner of the business is like the father of a family. He/She is not free close a factory & move the jobs elsewhere. Everyone is expected to work together. Everyone is expected to find a way for things to work out. Caring for one another is just part of the social contract. They focus on that in Japan.

          When all the veterans came home from WWII, they took the same sense of unity that they had learned together on the battlefield and made it work here in the U.S.A. The very idea that a business owner would put 200 of his neighbors (or even 20 employees) out of a job by moving a plant was unthinkable. It wasn't "American."

          Today, a major corporation will close a plant, put 200,000 people on public assistance & not blink an eye or shed a tear. As long as the stockholders are happy! Nobody cares!

          The reason that Communism never worked is simple. Nobody cares! They took a society where "nobody cares" & tried to make it look like someone cared by imposing a "worker's paradise." That went nowhere. When nobody cares; nobody cares!

          You say: ". . . isn't inaction where one has the ability to help, the same as outright corruption?" & Also: " . . . if the owner of a company chooses to move his factory overseas is that corruption?" Who cares? Corruption is a legal crime. This is not the same.
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          Jun 25 2013: I want to go back to a Republican tax system that was instituted under a Republican President. Dwight D. Eisenhower was a Republican. The top tax rate for the wealthiest Americans was 52%.

          A guy like Bill Gates or Warren Buffett can afford to pay that high rate on income. After they pay that, they will still be the richest guy(s) on earth! They can afford it. And it makes things look 'fair' to regular guys like me.

          All That "trickle down" business didn't work.
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          Jun 26 2013: Juan I don't think Microsoft or apple is a good example of trickledown economics not working. Think of the world wide revolution that is the internet age, and who spearheaded that revolution. The amount of jobs and wealth created by Microsoft alone is staggering. A whole new industry with a new workforce and innovation that's off the scale.

          Sure Bill could afford to pay a higher tax rate, but why should he HAVE to pay a higher rate then the guy who doesn't contribute to society in ways other then consuming goods for example?

          One might argue that the tax rate should be higher for those who take the most government handouts. One might conclude that that's insane, and that a lower tax rate is what the poor need to get a hand up. I tend to think a flat tax on all goods and services is the fairest way to bleed all of us of our money.
        • Jun 27 2013: You are speaking of the very rare corporation; ever hear of corporate welfare? Most successful corporations are successful primarily due to tax evasion, government subsidies, off-shoring etc. which is simply and largely intended to evade paying US taxes.
          To answer original question: I believe that absolute power sdoes tend to corrupt absolutely. There are exemptions but they are few and very far between. Selfishness is a basic human instinct for survival and 'democracy' was invented as a means of curbing ultimate power but its one negative is that the original moral foundation, eventually gets replaced by greedy, selfish corruption.
        • Jun 28 2013: LaMar and the rest of you conversationalists....
          You are having a great time talking about Bill Gates and his deeds.
          Good and Bad.

          I watch carefully TED, the NY Times, the Guardian, and Al Jazeera.
          But I never find anyone who admits that the Problems of corruption
          stem from Banking and Corporate Structures, within our society's
          System of Commerce.

          Consider this as a first step -- Elimination of Limited Liability Laws.

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