Corruption. - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

Wandering the information superhighway, he came upon the last refuge of civilization, PoFo, the only forum on the internet ...

All sociological topics not appropriate or suited to other areas of the board.
Forum rules: No one line posts please.
User avatar
By Thunderhawk
#14714733
I believe everyone can think of situations that are obviously corruption - I think of a cop taking a bribe to tear up a speeding ticket. If a company bureaucrat takes a bribe to give a client a discount, or a cashier allows someone to steal product for a tip, that isn’t corruption as in the first case, but they still seem like a form of corruption. Part of what I think of corruption is having power entrusted to you, and then intentionally misusing that power to negatively affect the source of that power for the benefit of yourself. That personal benefit does not have to be great – the personal joy of believing someone else benefited with no benefit for your boss would be enough. I think one can be morally right when being corrupt. Kim Davis, the county clerk who would not give out marriage licences for gay couples, misused the authority she got from the government but acted in accordance to her morals.

If my understanding of corruption is correct, I wonder then: If one could inappropriately use of power that benefited those who entrusted you with that power (under their own morals and your own), would it still be corruption?

Is the definition of corruption simpler?
User avatar
By Godstud
#14714741
So wait... if a policeman stops you, and instead of him giving you a ticket, he asks for $50, and the ticket would normally run you $200(and 3 demerits on your license), that's corruption, even though it benefits you directly? You are, after all one of those people who have entrusted them to power.

Corruption:
Corruption is a form of dishonest or unethical conduct by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefit.

I wouldn't call that corruption, based on that definition.

Corruptions an odd thing. We talk of corruption ins western countries, where it's mostly limited to the upper class, politicians, and people in power.

I've encountered low level "corruption" and I don't think it actually qualifies as such, and yet many people would say it's worse, but it has far less impact than political and rich corruption...

hmmm... lost my train of thought a bit. I think how MUCH power you have determines how corrupt something is. Very little power means very little corruption. right?
User avatar
By Thunderhawk
#14714746
Godstud wrote:So wait... if a policeman stops you, and instead of him giving you a ticket, he asks for $50, and the ticket would normally run you $200(and 3 demerits on your license), that's corruption, even though it benefits you directly? You are, after all one of those people who have entrusted them to power.

I'd call it corruption - its dishonest action by both parties. It would definitely be a corruption in my favour, but still corruption. The only loser would be the government, as their laws are not being enforced by the method they decreed - an important thing for governments if immaterial to us in that moment. This however cuts to the point I was thinking about - if laws/procedures/norms are violated and cause harm, something negative happening to the people who committed those violations should happen. If the violation causes no harm, should there be consequences? If the violations leads to benefits, should there be consequences? Is the non-enforcement of law a 'harm' applied to the government in some way?


As for the power.. I have not entrusted them, a level of government has entrusted them, who themselves have power by popular acceptance.. or in other places in the world, power held by might, or inheritance, etc..
User avatar
By Bulaba Jones
#14714749
Thunderhawk wrote:If my understanding of corruption is correct, I wonder then: If one could inappropriately use of power that benefited those who entrusted you with that power (under their own morals and your own), would it still be corruption?

Is the definition of corruption simpler?


The definition seems simple already, and I don't think the definition of corruption needs to depend on net positive or net negative effects. Inappropriate use of power is still a form of corruption based on its prescriptive definition and how we use the word in our vernacular.

You do raise a very interesting question about the appropriate use of power and whether a decision can be morally correct and yet still a kind of corruption or misuse of authority. Sometimes difficult decisions have to be made: crafting the necessary propaganda to spark a war and justify it to their people because that person believes it's the right course for their nation or for posterity (right or wrong), the liquidation and reeducation of bourgeois elements in the coming revolution, finding the daily strength to resist Godstud's propaganda and go live in that utopian Land of Smiles. That last one doesn't really count, but sometimes it's difficult nonetheless.

Godstud wrote:hmmm... lost my train of thought a bit. I think how MUCH power you have determines how corrupt something is. Very little power means very little corruption. right?


This seems to be generally true: the use of "corruption" in common parlance usually does correspond to a heightened level of authority and power. After all, one can easily say that a school district administrator who accepts bribes to make policy changes is corrupt, and a policeman who accepts an on-the-spot bribe to save a motorist from paying a hefty fine is corrupt (although in a way that is relatively positive). It, however, sounds odd to me to try to say that a mother is corrupt for attempting to hijack her daughter-in-law's wedding plans, because corrupt implies a greater amount of power and authority than simply being a maternal figure (or paternal if the example involved a father-in-law). It's certainly not a linguistic rule, but in that last example, it feels more appropriate to use a word that implies less power and authority.
By Atlantis
#14714751
@Thunderhawk, your understanding of corruption is not correct.

Corruption always involves under the table deals between public officials and the private sector. Between private entities, this is simply fraud.

Corruption doesn't always have to be bad. It is an inherent feature of all traditional societies, where cronyism is the binding force of the social fabric and bribery is what fuels the economy. As long as the proceeds of corruption are plowed back into the local economy, the benefits may actually exceeds the damages.

Corruption starts to damage the national economy when the scale of the economy increases due to industrialization and the proceeds are transferred into tax shelters abroad.
User avatar
By Thunderhawk
#14714767
Atlantis wrote:@Thunderhawk, your understanding of corruption is not correct.Corruption always involves under the table deals between public officials and the private sector. Between private entities, this is simply fraud.

I accept the word fraud for actions between private entities.
If bribery -giving and accepting- was not a crime, could corruption still occur?
By Atlantis
#14714771
Thunderhawk wrote:I accept the word fraud for actions between private entities.
If bribery -giving and accepting- was not a crime, could corruption still occur?

Bribery is just one form of corruption. Cronyism and more generally speaking favoritism are even more basic forms of corruption, but they all refer to giving/receiving favors.

Giving/receiving favors among private entities doesn't have to be a crime; however, when it involves a public function, it should be treated as a crime in developed countries.

There is also a case for treating the media as a public function in this respect. Strictly speaking, a journalist accepting an lunch invitation is guilty of corruption, even though this is still used by PR executives in many countries.
User avatar
By Thunderhawk
#14714848
I am thinking about corruption (or fraud) not for monetary gains, but for ideological gains.
Kim Davis misused her authority as county clerk, a highway patrol officer ignores a speeder, and a cop violently beats a criminal for information. Are these all corruption?

A cop who ignores some one who is speeding 1km/h over the limit vs a cop who ignores who is ignoring speeding of 50km/h over the limit is not the same thing IMO, the 50 over is worse than the 1 over. To me this is flexibility, but they are still speeding and ignoring a crime. What if its ignoring a Jay walker on a deserted street?

So, when does this flexibility in the rules stop being a positive, and when does it become a negative?



I am thinking about flexibility in how social norms and laws are followed. I think interactions between people follow a norm of some sort, if only simple social norms of actions and expected consequences. When the rules are few I think no flexibility would be needed, people know what to do and what not to do, the consequences for those actions and if they want to continue living with that rule. As the norms and laws become more numerous and govern more things, actions and consequences within society can become complicated and contradictory. Flexibility in enforcement and interpretation allows for these rules to continue existing and for society to continue to function (a bad rule could continue existing if its obscured by rules that make people happy). I think that as societies become larger and older they gain more rules, become more complicated and contradictory, and need more flexibility within their norms to function, which means there will always be more "corruption" then those with fewer/simpler/consistent rule sets. So, are we doomed to always have corruption?
By Atlantis
#14714889
Thunderhawk wrote:A cop who ignores some one who is speeding 1km/h over the limit vs a cop who ignores who is ignoring speeding of 50km/h over the limit is not the same thing IMO, the 50 over is worse than the 1 over. To me this is flexibility, but they are still speeding and ignoring a crime. What if its ignoring a Jay walker on a deserted street?

Luckily most of our daily actions are not governed by the criminal code. Mostly we obey a kind of natural law or internal moral code. In fact, the fewer laws we need for maintaining social peace, the better. An official ignoring a minor offence or a violation of a stupid law or regulation contributes towards making life a little easier for the citizen. That has nothing to do with corruption as the official doesn't benefit personally and as the net result is positive.

The social usefulness of persecuting an individual for dropping a bit of litter in public is very limited. That changes if the public space starts to look like a garbage dump. So there is not only a fine line of when a minor offence starts to have a negative impact, but that line may also change with time and as conditions change. Apart from the common sense of the mature citizenry, I don't see how there could be a generally valid rule of dealing with this.
Election 2020

If anything, they justify their fanatical view be[…]

So how deadly is it?

Yeah, the death count has been wildly inflated, t[…]

synagogue discipline? One can see you are not a […]

You and I don't agree here. Putin is making the […]