What to do about corruption?


Vasant G. Gandhi 



  I do not know anyone who does not need additional cash to pay for expenses resulting from debt, or from marrying children, or from untimely death in the family, or from medical services, or from unforeseen events. 

I also do not know anyone who does not want automobiles, air conditioners, computers, heaters, refrigerators, telephones, televisions, and other amenities market has to offer.  Such is human nature.  A common man knows the rich have these things and wonders how he can own them.  He knows he cannot afford amenities with income that he is earning; yet he wants them. 

Both situations, the money to meet expenses or to buy amenities, cause temptation in humans to bring in more cash. 

So, a worker contemplates from where to get the additional fund.  In his spare time perhaps he can become a thief or find extra work that he can do after full time job.  But these options are not easy; the former is risky and could land him in jail and the latter is difficult to achieve because many people in our country do not even have one job, let alone the second job.  Moreover, he wants the quickest and safest and easiest way to supplement his income. 

How a corrupt and lazy man is born? 

The government – local or state or central – is the main source of work in our nation.  Many in our country believe that if a man gets a job in the government he has got it made.  He is lucky.  He is not going to have to work hard, or work smart, or work fast because no one in the government does that and no one in the government is going to make him do that and there are no incentives to do that.    His pay scale will be the same as the others whose work is similar to his.  Everyone is equal, and he will be treated equal.  As time passes, his pay raises and promotions will be based on length of his service and not on his ability.  And the best of all he is not going to lose his job unless he is reckless at work. 

Many in our country also believe that just about everyone who works for a government has some kind of power and authority.  If he does not have the power, he will create it regardless whether he is a peon or porter or postman or police officer or port officer or purchasing officer.  He will then use that power to create an opportunity to demand money from people who have to come to him to get their work done.  Bingo!  He now has an investment-free, a hazards-free, and a risk-free way to enhance his revenue.  The cycle of corruption is now set in motion.  And our government has now given a birth to a lazy and corrupt man.  Private companies, too, have lazy and corrupt men. 

Who do you blame for corruption? 

Everyone is to blame: the lawmakers, the bribe-givers, and the bribe-takers.  There are multitudes of reasons why corruption is rampant in many countries: not enough income, too many laws to obey, breakdown of moral values, ignorance, it is easier to say yes than to say no to bribes in order to get the work done, too many people chasing too few resources or opportunities, desire to engage in wrong doings, to avoid harassment from people in power and on and on. 

What are the harmful effects of corruption? 

A government employee, who has a secured job and has a steady inflow of black money from his corruption schemes, will never know how much more money he would have earned by honestly working for himself or for a private company, especially if he is dedicated, dependable, and diligent worker.  This is a tragedy of corruption. 

A corrupt employee knows that what he is doing is morally wrong.  He is inculcating his young children with bad values.  He has no empathy for bribe-givers.  When he takes a bribe he does not care about the economic woes of a bribe-giver who has no choice but to give the bribe to get his work done.  And this is a tragedy of corruption. 

A corrupt employee is also aware that money he is accumulating, from his corruption schemes, for now tastes like nectar but is going to be poison in the end. It has made his mind impure and his words unbelievable. Simply put he is accumulating bad karma.  And this is a tragedy of corruption. 

A lazy and corrupt employee is no good to his employer as well as to his community.  Because an employee who is capable of producing more in an eight-hour of shift than he has been producing is causing higher prices.  His output is less than what he should have produced, had he worked honestly, causing market to have fewer products and forcing buyers to pay higher prices for the products he made.  And this is a tragedy of laziness and corruption. 

How to curb corruption? 

One way to minimize the corruption is to look at the conditions that are causing it.  One such condition has to do with too many laws on books. Some argue that people should be punished for giving and taking bribes, and that more laws should be passed to prevent the briberies.  This argument sounds right but it isn’t that simple.  It entails the cost of employing law enforcers, cost of conducting investigations and trials, and cost of keeping corrupt individuals in jail.  And who knows but the bribe-givers and bribe-takers may find new ways to get around the new laws.  In that case the very laws designed to curb corruption could increase the corruption and more laws on books will have exactly the opposite effect.  Less laws, not more laws, is perhaps an answer to reducing the corruption. 

When a nation has fewer laws to enforce, it contributes to making its citizens honest.  People have less reason to break the laws.  In addition to having fewer laws, if the nation is economically affluent, its citizens are likely to earn enough money to make ends meet and to buy amenities and hence they see no reason to break the laws but to uphold the laws.




First of all, Thanks for writing such a nice piece of information/description on corruption.I have not come across such a good work on the topic before.All other articles just end up playing blame games but you ,Sir ,went in to the soul of it.
I will further expand my feelings in my next letter


Accepting a bribe is nothing but a addiction just like addiction of smoking , drinking which seems attractive in the beginning and the end is very horrible.
The lesson of honesty should be tought in the very beginning of our life.
The taste of honesty should be experienced from childhood only and parents are the best mentor.
In " Namak Kaa Daaroga" story of Munshi Premchand, we can see the fruits of honesty.
The morale of a dishonest person is very low and wealth accumulated by a corrupt person ruins the character of his family.
Examples can be seen all around our surroundings.

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