John F Waterman
The works of John F Waterman

Blog 05.31.17 June 1, 2017

Hello again, folks.

I’ve kept this blog apolitical. I don’t favor any particular political party or off-the-shelf political ideology as are found so readily in my home nation. I’m more an a-la-carte political creature; ‘give me two from Column ‘A’ and one each from Columns ‘B’ and ‘C’.’ Buying into a political ideology in its entirety leads to polarization and monolithic binary thinking such as ‘US vs. THEM’.

Corruption (n,’corrupt or dishonest proceedings, bribery’) and graft (n, ‘the acquisition of money, gain, or advantage by dishonest, unfair, or illegal means, especially through the abuse of one’s position or influence in politics, business, etc.’) affects people no matter where they live or what party they claim membership in or ideology they espouse. These practices are inevitable products of large and complex societies. We all deal with them to one extent or another wherever we live–they affect all of us, though admittedly some less than others.

Most nations have a rule of law to some extent and thus possess systems to counter corruption and graft in their private and public institutions. These systems have been established for two primary reasons. The first and most obvious reason is for the sake of justice, so that the powerful cannot further enrich themselves at the abject expense of the less powerful whether in business or by law. The second less-known reason concerns the economic health and survival of the society at large. Corruption and graft cause businesses and institutions to run less efficiently and increases the ‘hidden’ costs of goods and services to its customers (‘taxpayers’), whether fuel or medical care or law enforcement. They in effect make everything in that society cost more in a totally unaccountable fashion and thus hinder the commerce and discharge of responsibilities which every society and economy needs to function.

No society is immune to corruption and graft, or is so perfectly organized that these activities don’t happen. They are serious limiting factors in societies without an effective or efficient system for the fair administration of law and order, aligned on the basis of class or tribes or other such non-regulated groups. Societies where one’s socioeconomic status, ethnic group, ‘race’, language or religious faith determines one’s treatment by others–whether individuals, businesses or government institutions–tend to be unfair and show obvious corruption and graft even where lip service is paid to the ‘rule of law’.

The United States tells itself and the world at large that it is a fair and egalitarian society. To an extent I believe that it is; for certain definitions of ‘fair’ and ‘egalitarian’, however. A great deal of corruption and graft is apparent in our society with even a cursory examination of our laws, the practices of our businesses and governmental institutions, and even the conduct of some of its individual members.

So, does our society in the United States treat different people with different levels of fairness because of its inherent corruption and graft, or does corruption and graft exist here because we treat different groups of our inhabitants differently? It’s a much more vital and central question about what we need to do as a people and a society to make things better–for us all!–than which party we belong to or the particular ideology we follow.

  Keep striving, folks.

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