Seems obvious, doesn’t it? It’s only when you realise the extent of the corruption that the seeming insanities of governments become much easier to understand. The finance sector, that fabulous retreat from reality, is a good case. Price manipulation, in particular, in which massive moves in prices up and down don’t seem to affect profitability, is a case in point.
The finance sector has an advantage in government terms. The weak little political gerbils may not understand anything else, but they were raised to give priority to money, rather than people or logic. Money dictates everything and promotes corruption. That’s one of the reasons for the big collateral damage to societies in terms of acceptance of poverty at every level of government.
Poverty is humanity’s oldest and worst enemy. Corruption has a lot to do with poverty. A corrupt society, doing everything wrong for corrupt purposes, can’t/won’t manage poverty, let alone end it. Corrupt governments, meaning basically all of them, barely even mention poverty.
In economic terms, this glaringly obvious pattern of total failure is a cycle of futility and disaster. If all these billions of people could participate in a global economy, the world would be rich. The finance sector would be doing much better, too, because there’d be more capital in the markets. The poor can’t contribute to themselves, let alone the global economy.
Billions of very poor people is OK, according to the logic of corruption. Corruption enriches itself at the expense of everyone. Corruption subordinates everything to its own interests, and to hell with economic sanity. This mindset never changes. What’s done is done for the benefit of those in the loop, and everyone and everything else is excluded.
There’s a very banal reason for this. People in Western societies are trained to be selfish. Job, career, success = money by any means, and there are simply no other considerations. Corruption is always selfish and always destructive. A corrupt person doesn’t try to see beyond their own immediate interests. They don’t need to see what’s so wrong about a culture of corruption which lines their pockets, either.
The corrupt society as a whole, therefore, tends to be based on these primitive, hand-to-mouth objectives. Add to this the fact that successful people are always in a minority in this type of society and the culture-driven need to make money, and the simple, stupid fact is that societies corrupt themselves and suffer as a result.
There are psychological aspects, too. For underachievers, corruption is the set of genitals they don’t have. They can’t succeed in competition with real skills and abilities, but in corruption they have a chance of success. One of the very important reasons corrupt people are invariably mediocrities is that corruption, their only method of success feeds their egos. They become rabidly corrupt due to their ego rewards. This is the only way they can beat the intelligent, talented, sane people – by being corrupt, which they honestly think is clever, not just mere theft. They couldn’t compete otherwise. That’s also why corrupt people hate experts, rational thinking and anything to do with intelligence on any level. They fear intelligent people who can easily see what they’re doing above all else. Hence corrupt societies are anti-intellectual to an astonishing degree.
In fairness, the fear is justified. Many intelligent people do understand corruption, and would be only too happy to exterminate it. The endless bitching sessions, mindless meetings, and absurd group-think structure of this society is the result. It’s a series of compromises and incremental moves back and forth between sanity and corruption.
Recipe for the world as it is? Yep. A more unproductive, utterly useless, arrangement of global management at all levels would be difficult to achieve.
Corruption vs anti-corruption
The anti-corruption factions in society don’t deliver their arguments too well, either. To say corruption is wrong, that it’s at the public expense, etc. doesn’t quite add up to what’s in it for people not to be corrupt. They don’t define corruption too well, either.
Put very simply, routine, every second, corruption includes:
- Material or other gain in return for favouritism
- Preferential treatment of parties at the expense of other parties
- Appointments to privileged positions which deliver personal gain
- Using public money to enrich private individuals and corporations
- Abuse of power
- Government laws and policies designed to deliver material benefits to anyone other than the public
- Ignoring organized crime and its disease-like spread in to all areas of the economy
- Not enforcing laws (Church child abuse, etc. These were criminal offenses, not theological issues. There was never any legal basis for not taking action.)
- Supporting blatantly idiotic policies like the obscene US minimum wage, a clear indicator of total failure to address a serious public issue.
- In government terms, “misrepresentation” of issues and policies for the benefit of groups directly against the public interest.
As you can see, corruption isn’t too hard to define, but the problem is that all these corrupt things are dealt with like case law, not broad spectrum when anyone tries to tackle corruption. The theory of how to manage and eliminate corruption is always well wide of the hard facts. It’s also incredibly, unbelievably slow to deal with actual cases, let alone the systemic nature of corruption.
This naive, (and truly idiotic) failure to create ways to deal with the issue of corruption has created the dunghill of a world we see. It’s a parasite’s dream.
Governments have taken it one step further in the wrong direction by their flaky, fluffy occasional approaches to everything from spending to ridiculous tax laws. The usual net effect is to reward corruption, and encourage it. There’s nothing like ineffectual laws and governance to make life easy for corruption and crime.
There’s no ideology of fighting corruption or reasons for failure to manage corruption as such, just excuses. There’s no systematic approach, either, which is another reason corruption succeeds in most societies. The usual two sides of politics are truly lousy at even defining corruption, based on the theory that ideas of good and bad must have something to do with politics. They don’t, of course. People don’t need reasons to be greedy.
A train wreck of an underachieving society is the new norm, simply for those reasons. Corruption is beatable, if you try, but nobody’s trying too hard.
The corrupt society
Teach people that corruption is normal, and you get an instant corrupt society. That’s the net effect. The two party system, as polarized as possible, delivers corruption. Governments, in effect, are expected to favour one side over the other, which is classic corruption. It’s the ideal breeding ground for corruption.
Ironically, even supporting the public interest is seen as corrupt by some of the public, in some cases. Welfare to support the needy is seen as supporting those who don’t “earn” their money. The same people see welfare to support the ridiculously rich is seen as free enterprise, when it’s the exact opposite.The net effect is that corruption promotes social deprivation, and promote privilege at the expense of social health and wellbeing.
Health, housing and education, and in some cases, even food, are subject to a corrupt mix of vested interests and vested disinterests. Why would corrupt people and governments do anything at all to disrupt their selfish interests? They don’t. They simply allow things to rot away, and make money doing so.
Capitalism is its own worst enemy. Corruption makes it an easy target for parasites, with endless failures and disasters to back up anti-capitalist feeling. Corruption may be invisible to the privileged, but it’s very obvious to everyone else. The biggest revolutions in history have been against forms of capitalism, as much as for any other reason.
The problem with that is that societies tend to over-respond to perceived issues, rather than solve them. The French Revolution, which removed a monarchy, inevitably produced an emperor, having failed to deliver anything much but work for guillotines. The American Revolution has produced a sort of oligarchy of wealth, but lost liberty in the process. The Russian revolution produced gulags, genocide, and a police state in the name of equality. The Chinese Revolution replaced a truly hopelessly corrupt government (The Triads were running the Bank of China at one point) with the Cultural Revolution, Tiananmen, and what seems to be a sort of “assertive apathy” at the moment.
The revolutions didn’t do much in terms of corruption. A new group of corrupt people was put in place in each case, but the corruption remained. Millions of people died for it, and not much really changed in terms of the most dysfunctional part of any society.
Are societies naturally corrupt? Historically, they are. That may not be the intention, but in the whole of human history, societies without corruption have never existed. It’s quite possible that humanity’s progress has been corrupted, too, as a result. Pleasant thought, isn’t it?
A fake society, of course, has a few advantages. It can simply lie about everything from wars to poverty to famine and diseases, and claim to be doing a great job. Corruption knows how to fake anything and everything, in fact that’s usually what corruption does.
There are a few immediate, like next decade or so, problems with that quaint state of affairs.
The future cannot be faked. Nor can it function on the basis of greed, corruption, highly qualified incompetence, and built-in ideological obsolescence. The societies which created corruption as it now is are basically obsolete.
Capitalism has failed, abysmally, to deal with its own worst weaknesses. Socialism failed as a result of the same problems. A future society cannot be based on ancient political ideas and modern political fakery. Corrupt societies, which are by definition weak and inefficient, can’t compete.