Do you think you know what corruption is?
Someone takes a bribe, they are corrupt. Someone is given a promise of advancement, a better job, if they go against the interests of their job, their promises, their people, then they're corrupt. Yes?
But there are other kinds. I've been watching, "The Wire". Great show. Horrible examples are shown of how government can and probably somewhere, does work. You don't even have to know it happens, its just logical. If you want something, from someone, another department, agency, what do they get for it? Just the knowledge that you owe them? Dream on. They want something up front. Standard operating procedure. They aren't making that much money, their department is hurting for funds in order to do their job, so they make up for it, any way they can.
Maybe they have the best of intentions. Maybe it starts that way. It slips, after a while, to where they wouldn't even recognize themselves, but they justify it with the knowledge that this is how the "real world" really is.
And you know what? Maybe it is.
But you have to keep that child's view of the world or after a while, you lose track of what is right (or what is important) and what is wrong, because you get too close to what is happening. That's why it looks so bad when its exposed because those coming into it, viewing it from afar, see how bad it really is. And without all the caveats, rationalities and exigencies.
The official definitions go something like this, "corrupt": Marked by immorality and perversion; depraved; Venal; dishonest: a corrupt mayor; To destroy or subvert the honesty or integrity of; To ruin morally; pervert; To taint; contaminate.
My favorite example to hate about corruption are what concerns statistical requirements in a job. Seems to harmless. You just have to hit this score, some level, an amount or a degree; to be considered good, to keep your job, your compensation level, your bonus. I've seen this at jobs of my own.
Sometimes even arbitrary numbers are picked to prove things are going well, and bad things happen because of it. We see this in the school system all the time. They don't know how to prove schools are doing well, or how good teachers are, so they give tests to build blase stats to show how well everyone is doing. But then you still have kids graduating who can't read. Or kids get mentally beat up because of tests they have to study to pass the test, rather than study to learn. They end up not learning real lessons about how to move on to higher education, live their life, to get a job, to handle a home, or a relationship.
Why don't we teach kids what they need to know in order to make a living, maintain a home, live happy with someone, to enjoy the quality of their life?
Back to the stats. Everyone wants to look good. So they take their department stats for the past month, or quarter or year, and find a way to make it look good, better; by changing the definitions of things, or moving something from one department to another. All this has to do with people up top, who are disconnected from down below, thinking they can quantify quality. What is needed is good people doing a good job, trust, running a good department and not being so worried about what looks good and dealing with the reality of what is.
People need to worry about doing the job, doing it well, making the mission important, carrying things out in a real situation, not a made up one.
The example they played up in Season four of The Wire had to do with murder stats. Homicide was so concerned about their stats of open murders, that they knew they were leaving a couple dozen bodies hidden in many spread out houses in condemned city housing. Rather than be worried about murdered people, about finding a murderer, be they homeless or drug addicts/dealers or what have you, they buried it. It was subtle, there wasn't proof, but a cop had a good theory that should require they open houses and search, but the officer in charge refused, because it would ruin their stats. All he had to do to prove it, was pull a board off a boarded up house to see if there was indeed bodies in certain marked buildings, but he was ordered not to.
They were so worried about what? Not looking bad?
That, is patently, ridiculous. Ludicrous and I don't mean the rapper.
You should do your job. You should never HAVE to worry about how things look, as long as you are doing what you're supposed to; after all, its not you doing the bad stuff.
In this case, they wanted to turn a blind eye to murder, just because it would ruin their departmental stats? Someone should go to jail over something like that. Yes, this was a TV show. Thank God, it wasn't a Reality TV Show. But you can't tell me, that this kind of thing doesn't really happen.
In a way, I don't blame those doing it so much as I do those in charge forcing them into this kind of behavior. Its systemic.
My point in all this, is that corruption is not always what you expect. Its not the obvious bribe, sometimes its the slight of hand, the ignore, the blank stare, or the redefining of a term, in order to look good, or not look bad, or shift something off to another place. Look around you sometime. Is any of this going on around you? Maybe it happens so much, or its so entrenched, that you, that no one, ever notices it anymore.
Have the eyes of a child. And the determination of an adult, to do what you can, to end this foolishness. The world will be a better place, when you do.