Thursday, March 29, 2012

A fable on corruption

There is an old saying, taken from the title of this book, "The Fox in the Chicken Coop".

The traditional approach for corruption is putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop. Usually the fox himself somehow gains this position and helps himself to the chicken. Putting the corrupt in charge is an old way to make money in the process. But over the years, this has become obvious. And in general people who indulge in corruption are not looked upon very kindly by commoners who have to slog for their daily meal and then some.

There is however a contrarian approach as we have seen lately.

Imagine that there is a treasury with a lot of wealth. And there is suspected looting from the treasury. The queen places a head guard who is seen to be honest. And assuage the unwashed masses that "we have placed this guard with unimpeachable integrity" and therefore there is no corruption.

So, there is guard standing in the front, ceremonial headgear and all that, while there is suspicion that looting happens from the back door, side door and many other entrances and exits. Over time it is proved that despite putting a honest guard in there to guard the treasury, looting happens and there is no respite whatsoever. Each time a commoner complains to the queen, she tells him that there is a great head guard there, and he is doing his best. And besides what better sign do you want than an honest head guard that we are serious about tackling the looting?

Can you spot loopholes in this theory?

Did I hear you say, but if the guard is of high integrity, why will be allow the loot to take place? The theory goes that he makes no personal money in the process. Hmmm, but isnt that dereliction of duty? As a guard of so called unimpeachable integrity, isn't looking the other way also a sign of his rather pliable integrity?

And is it enough if he makes noises that he hears noises in the night? And that there are people who seem to get into the treasury without his approvals?

And if his integrity was being used a cloak to loot, would he not have the balls to stand up and say dont use my integrity as a cloak to loot?

And if all this is true, would you really call the head guard a person of unimpeachable integrity?

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