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Political Corruption as the Reason Behind Poverty

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That much is clear whether you are talking about Nigeria, Somalia or India—the country I live in. It strips the common man of his property, his dignity and most importantly his rights. The idea that someone in power can unjustly live a life of luxury from the pockets of those he is supposed to protect, is simply unacceptable. It has been considered an evil since antiquity, with the earliest public records of it being traced back to the thirteenth century under the Assyrian civilization. Even the Bible forbids it, referring to it as something that “blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent.” But no matter how much we try to combat it from holy scriptures to arcane laws, it always manages to pervade our culture. It is almost certain that everyone has taken part in some benign form like nepotism for a golf club membership. My favorite effective way to look at corruption’s impact on a country’s inhabitants is to look at a statistic published by the World Bank. It states that a country with a high level of corruption has 1 third the GDP per capita of a country with a low level of corruption. This is one example of how a selfish act conducted by a few political elite can impact a nation in such a disastrous way.

But this isn’t the fault of the few political elite alone. It is a byproduct of the culture we live in. We all think we wouldn’t do what they do—that we would make better decisions. But that isn’t the case. Studies suggest that even the noblest of us like Mother Teresa or Nelson Mandela would be neck deep in a financial scam if they were placed on a trading floor. This just proves that the illusion that decent people will make the difference is just that—an illusion. What we need isn’t another politician or a young new Banker, It’s a complete overhaul of today’s political culture. My favorite quote that describes corruption is this “in corrupt systems, decent people will end up with two options: conform or be crushed.” This perfectly describes the effect our corrupt system has on the innocent.

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This system just isn’t conducive for a moral person, but it could be. Decades of change is what has brought society to this state and decades of change is what will bring it back. You don’t need to wait for the next visionary to come and fix the problem. You can do it the way society was intended to be and what corruption hinders—with respect for personal freedom, individual rights and the rule of law.

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