Giving is as bad as taking
There are many reasons why our generation has compromised core values inculcated by our forefathers. Individualistic and materialistic traits have accelerated the erosion of good values and principles in society.
The demand for and supply of bribes is fuelling rampant fraud and corruption in every stratum of society with scant respect for dignity.
World Bank studies have shown that the poor pay a high percentage of their income in bribes. The poor may even be preyed upon since they’re seen as too helpless to complain.
The giver may be coerced to give by the taker – the bribe giver is almost innocent. Still, he or she has a moral duty to protest this coercion. In our current social system, such protest hardly carries any weight as the chain of authority is also corrupt.
In another scenario, the taker may be coerced into taking by the bribe giver. Much of this can be limited if we have transparent and efficient systems in place, and recruitment based on meritocracy.
Every stolen or misdirected rupee robs society of an equal opportunity in life – and prevents governments from investing in human capital and socioeconomic development.
Corruption is an evil that significantly hurts social values such as respect, transparency, integrity and honesty; it is a severe impediment to sustainable progress. Corruption erodes trust in government and undermines the social contract.
This is the fundamental reason for Sri Lanka being where it is today. Corruption fuels and perpetuates the inequalities and discontent that leads to violent extremism and conflict, which impacts society in its entirety.
A desirable value system must be inculcated and preserved by the flag bearers of society; and from school level, values should be instilled and fostered throughout formal education.
From village level, there must be a mechanism through which people can reach out to report wrongdoers without fearing victimisation. The police, as the guardians of law and order within civil society, must play a pivotal role in this process.
The media must play its role in nurturing the values that are required to build a society we aspire to, and political influence should be minimised. We need a strong bureaucratic system.
It’s critical to have effective checks and balances in place, to oversee and enforce anti-bribery and anti-corruption policies.
Every stolen or misdirected rupee robs society of an equal opportunity in life – and prevents governments from investing in human capital