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CORRUPTION & the ABUSE of POWER by HIGH-FLYERS : REFLECTIONS by a lone COMMUNIST
Richard M. Nixon, the former US President, had to resign as the President of the USA because of his role in what is known as ' Watergate scandal ' .
Corruption of people in high places and the criminal abuse of power by the powerful, notwithstanding they were once hotly debated issues, now seem to have turned almost a non-issue. Most people seem to have accepted such things as the way of the world, a mere fact of life, and show no or little perturbation as they run across stories of corruption or the abuse of power in newspapers or on TV screens. They seem to believe humanity consists of good humans and bad humans just as trees are either palm trees or non-palm trees or as fruits are juicy or non-juicy. The good are expected to do good things and the bad bad things. This view of humanity appears, on the surface, very convincing as, as we all know, the humanity happens to form an inseparable part of this great big universe that consists of matter, anti-matter, and non-matter ( space or time ) as well, luminous bodies, non-luminous bodies, and black bodies ( i.e. black holes ), the monosexual, the bisexual, and the sexless, aquatic life-forms, non-aquatic life-forms, and amphibians, plants, animals, and mushrooms, the animate, the inanimate, and viruses, etc, etc. Nevertheless, the sensible cannot help wondering that if the good are good and the bad bad by nature, we have to accept as true the view that the social environment humans were born and bred in has NOTHING to do with their NATURE or what they're in ESSENCE ; i.e. in a word, humanity and human nature are INDEPENDENT of the social order and environment. Not only is this view of humanity in outright contradiction to the view that man is a social being, it also challenges the materialistic conception of history ( i.e. ' The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political, and intellectual life. ' ). But the fact that feudalism and with it, feudal outlook, values, and lifestyle had to give place to capitalism and capitalist outlook, values, and lifestyle, which led to democracy, universal education, universal adult suffrage, feminine freedom, welfarism, the outlawing of racism, sexism, etc, etc, proves it wrong conclusively, Another strong argument against it is the fact that what thieves steal for, what smugglers engage in the smuggling business for, and what traffickers do trafficking in dames and drugs for happen to be something not only common and identical but outright different to joy or pleasure.as well. The only motivation driving them to engage in illicit activities is making easy money. If humans were good or bad by nature, they would engage in good acts or bad acts just because they're good or bad, and because they derive joy or pleasure from such acts. But it is really and truly money, the filthy lucre, something far more seductive than any femme fatale, as the sensible view it, that is behind all such illicit activities, isn't it ? Money can seduce any man or woman, either powerful or powerless, or either a sanyasi or a saint.All corrupt practices and cases of the abuse of power are, almost without exception, aimed at easy money, RIGHT ? As a fitting case in point, what springs to mind first in this regard is the ' Watergate scandal ' of the USA, which culminated in the resignation of the former President Richard M. Nixon as the President of the USA in 1974. ( Watergate scandal UNITED STATES HISTORY ) Richard M. Nixon was perhaps the first State head who had to resign on charges of the criminal abuse of power. He was followed by the former South-Korean President Park Geun-Hye, whose removal from the Presidency by a South-Korean court in March this year for her involvement in corruption and the abuse of the Presidential position and power is a very recent example of such an event. ( Park Geun-hye: South Korean court removes president over scandal ) Shortly earlier, the conviction of Christine Lagarde, a former French minister, and now the IMF MD, by a French court on charges of corruption shocked and surprised the sensible worldwide. ( Christine Lagarde convicted: IMF head found guilty of criminal charges over massive government payout ) And it was not long ago when the indictment of the Samsung CEO Jay Y. Lee on similar charges hit the headlines ( Samsung’s Leader Is Indicted on Bribery Charges ), which should remind readers of Rajat Gupta, a very successful business executive, and once America's most-respected corporate director , who was ' convicted on three counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy for passing along confidential boardroom information about Goldman to a hedge fund that earned millions of dollars trading on his tips ' ( Insider Case Lands Big Catch Rajat Gupta, Ex-Goldman, P&G Director, Found Guilty; Initial Holdout on Jury ), and who's now serving a prison sentence in the USA . The graft charges against the present Prime Minister of India Narendra D. Modi on the basis of the fact that the honourable PM's name appears in Sahara*'s diary and Birlas*' computer file on the list of recipients of pay-offs also deserve to be referred to in this regard, as I see it. [ See NBbelow. ]
The examples adduced above are only a few out of numerous cases of high-calibre, high-flying people's indulgence in corrupt practices and the criminal abuse of power. The purpose of this essay, however, is not to acquaint readers with the long list of such people. Its purpose is to throw light on and thus awaken humanity to the significance of such phenomena, the moral they have for the humanity, the origin and basic aspects of the twin evils, and the way to get rid of them.
* Sahara & Co. is an Indian business house, and Birlas are a leading industrial family in India.
NB I think the accusation against the Indian Prime Minister is substantial enough although the Supreme Court of India refused to approve of a petition seeking the probe order for initiating a probe into it as I cannot see eye to eye with the learned judges who, in my view, either failed or refused to see not only a most important point, namely, the fact that if the accusation at issue were baseless, it would add up to a criminal conspiracy aimed at tarnishing the honourable PM's image and thus damaging his reputation, but what I view as the most important point, namely, the fact that Mr Prime Minister's intriguing and enigmatic silence on this point and far more intriguing and enigmatic inaction in this matter while Mr Prime Minister was supposed to have indicted Sahara & Co. and Birlas for defamation and criminal conspiracy against him can have NO other significance than the fact that the pieces of info found in the Sahara's diary and the Birlas' computer file are NOT unsubstantial.
Ms Park Geun-hye , the former President of South Korea , was removed from Presidency by a South-Korean court in March this year ( i.e. 2017 ) for her involvement in corruption and the abuse of Presidential position and power.
the SIGNIFICANCE of the INDICTMENT & CONVICTION of HIGH-FLYERS for INDULGENCE in CORRUPTION & the ABUSE of POWER
No sensible human can fail to take cognisance of how helpless the high-calibre and high-flying people like the President of a super-power, the Prime Minister of a nation, and top company executives are before the temptation of power and easy money. Nor can the sensible help wracking their brain over what the significance of such disturbing and disgusting phenomena is and what moral they're to draw from them. I don't fall in with the view that those high-calibre, high-flying people who truly owe their success in life to their high calibre and hard work over many years gave in to the seduction of money and power just because they're bad basically.
They're well-educated, well-informed, wealthy, and clever people― far wealthier and far cleverer than the ordinary crowd. There seems to exist no good reason why they ought to have failed to lead a life befitting the honest and the sensible. Another most important point not to be missed in this regard is the fact that none of the high-calibre high-flyers were in their teens or twenties when they indulged in illicit acts or abused their position and power. The fact of the matter is they failed disgustingly to resist the temptation of money and power, and the fact that they failed to resist it suggests that the temptation of money and power is INVINCIBLE. And what the sensible find most disconcerting and can hardly refrain from caring about happens to be the brute and naked fact that there's no assurance that it's NOT them themselves or their beloved ones that are going to the next lot of victims of the twin evils, money and power, OK ?
Power corrupts , as the sensible know. The sensible also know that money, the filthy lucre, happens to be NO less an EVIL than power. As the powerful run the risk of abusing power, then being brought to justice, and finally end up in prison, every man, like every woman, runs the risk of giving in to the temptation of money and resorting to some illicit means or practice aimed at making easy money, then being found out someday and forced to face the music, and thus the guy risks spending precious years of his life in the dark behind bars. Ours is the capitalist world where all goods and services are commodities which you have to pay for if you want to gain possession of them. You need money that you must part with in order to secure your basic necessities ( food, clothing, shelter, medicine, and medical care ) as well as things meant for ease and luxury in your life. You need money for talc, toothpaste, toilet soaps, and everything. You need money for songs and sex too. Thus, you need a lot of money to lead a life of ease and luxury, a lifestyle fitting the space age you belong to. You need a lot of money to lead a lifestyle that'll make your living not only worth living but dignified too. Further, as the saying goes, everyone has their price. I believe this wise saying is highly significant and true absolutely. Everyone, like a commodity, has got a price, and like commodity prices, their price is different for different people and seems to be in conformity with their position and power, as I see it. If paid the right price, everyone is ready to be sold to anyone and do their bidding. Implicit in it is what the sensible consider agonisingly distressing, namely, the fact that none of us, you included, happen to be IMMUNE to the seduction of money, the filthy lucre.
Because you haven't been convicted to date of some illicit act or the criminal abuse of power, it doesn't follow that you really stand out from the crowd or that you're superior to the disgraced ex-Goldman-&-P-&-G director or the ousted South-Korean President that ignominiously succumbed to the temptation of money and power. In order to abuse power, you have to gain access to power first. Did you ever grow so powerful really as to deserve indulgence in the abuse of power ? Did you ever really have an opportunity to make some millions of dollars, by ' securities fraud ', as Rajat Gupta did, and through something as novel and delicate as the ' conspiracy ' , such as the one that Rajat Gupta masterminded, ' for passing along confidential boardroom information ... to a hedge fund ' ? A penniless and powerless guy's pretension to being Mr Clean sounds hollow and ridiculous, doesn't it ?
In our India, the income figure of over Rs 300 000 counts as taxable now. That means all those Indians with earnings not more than Rs 300 000 are eyed by the Govt of India as so poor as to be entitled to full exemption from paying taxes on their income. Thus, as I see it, it may not be silly or unreasoning to expect a middle-class Indian to be able to conquer the temptation of Rs 30 000 or rs 300 000 of easy money by illicit means. But what if the sum of illicit money rises to Rs 3 000 000 or an amount more than that ? It is not to be missed in this regard that all those Indians without taxable income add up to over 95 per cent of all Indians making up the national workforce.
The per-capita GNI figure of India and the USA were respectively $* 6 020.0 and $* 56 430.0 in 2015.. ( United Nations Data Retrieval System ;' $*' denotes PPP ( current international $ ); ' GNI ' stands for Gross National Income. ) The high GNI per-capita figure of the USA has not made Yanks more honest than poor Indians with pathetically low GNI per capita, I'm afraid to say. The USA's median household income in 2014 was $ 53 657 ( Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the USA : 2014 ), which means half the total US households' per-household income was less than $ 53 657 while that of the remaining half was over this figure in 2014. How many Yanks in this space age are in your estimate endowed with the calibre and capability needed in order to vanquish the seduction of illicit money to the tune of $ 1 000 000 ? And how many Yanks do you expect to prove mightier than the allure of $ 1 billion of easy money through illicit and unethical means and practices― 1 per cent , 0.1 per cent , or 0.00 ... 1 ( you may replace the three dots with as many 0's as you please ) per cent ?
The main points I'd like humanity to take cognisance of in this regard are : ( 1 ) everyone has got a price ; ( 2 ) none of us are immune to the seduction of money and power ; ( 3 ) all those guilty of corruption or the criminal abuse of power are really and truly innocent victims of the seduction of money and power .
All the above three points are very disconcerting. And what the sensible find the most disturbing is the third one that seems to be a logical conclusion we arrive at from the first and the second points. The first point suggests that all of us are BASICALLY either good or bad OR neither good nor bad. And the fact that NONE of us are IMMUNE to, hence IMMUNE from, the seduction of money and power implies that all those that are guilty, in the eyes of society and the State, of corruption or the criminal abuse of power happen to have failed to resist what happens to be irresistible truly in a world where humanity is divided on the basis of power and possessions. Were it NOT for the fact that they belong to a world so divided and so full of irresistible and nasty allurement, they would NOT commit the wrongs they did, would they ?
the LESSON we canNOT afford to MISS
The most important question we're confronted with now happens to be, what lesson do the sensible have to draw from the ignominious failure of high-calibre, high-flying people to resist the seduction of power and money ? A Net-friend of mine said the right lesson in her opinion is : you should NOT do any wrongs or escape arrest after committing wrong acts. Nevertheless, in my opinion, her view of the right lesson at issue fails to prove sensible on analysis. The idea of escaping arrest and being forced to stand trial after committing something wrong may appear novel and clever on the surface, but it really and truly is silly in essence just because none of your arrest and being made to stand trial are in your hands. On the other hand, the view that you oughtn't to do anything wrong sounds like empty preaching. It seems to be a silly, disgustingly silly, attempt to deny what really and truly happens to be undeniable, namely the fact that the fact that so many people worldwide, the ordinary and the extraordinary, the talented and the mediocre, the rich and the poor, the learned and the ignorant, et cetera diverse sorts included, succumb to the seduction of power and money proves incontestably that the twin evils, money and power, happen to be invincible, as I see it. The brute and inescapable truth is power and money are far more seductive than such silly preaching. Some people that love to preach at other people seem to be unaware that conquering the allure of power and money is really NOT as easy as to preach that you ought NOT to give in to such stuff is, to my way of thinking.
In my humble opinion, the right LESSON in question is : NONE of us are IMMUNE from the PERIL of MONEY and POWER. Any questions ? I invite your questions.
You may suggest this as a moral : You should stay away from both power and money. I won't say it's wrong. Nevertheless, I must say I don't think the idea of staying away from both power and money is sensible. Leading an existence as the powerless and penniless are used to doing doesn't deserve to be reckoned RESPECTABLE, the way I view it. The penniless and powerless command the respect of NONE. Furthermore, the pennilessness and powerlessness lies at the root of the subjection of the penniless and powerless to injustice, exploitation, and domination by the affluent and powerful. Thus, the life of the penniless and powerless does NOT fit in with the PRINCIPLE of healthy and meaningful living. It makes sense to lead a healthy and meaningful life, doesn't it ?
the ORIGIN and ESSENCE of the twin EVILS
It ought to be clear as day now to all the sensible how mighty and perilous the temptation of power and money is. The brute fact that disconcerts the sensible most is NONE of us NOR anyone of our beloved ones are safe from the peril of money and power. For this reason, the sensible cannot help wracking their brain wondering how to get rid of the twin evils. But in order to find a way to get rid of an evil, we need have a clear knowledge of its origin and essential aspects as well as its weak points.
Let's concentrate on money, the filthy lucre, first.
Money doesn't grow on trees. Money doesn't flow down rivers either. Nor does money fall like hail from the sky. Man made money to measure the value of a commodity and to exchange commodities through it. Evidently, money is inseparably associated with the production and exchange of commodities, i.e. the commodity economy. Money is NOT in existence from all eternity. There was a time when there was NO commodity and hence NO money. In fact, NO commodity means NO need for money. Man needed money when they started to produce commodities, i.e. useful things made for exchange, not for the use of their producers. The time when man started the production and exchange of commodities belongs to the prehistory of man, namely, barbarism, the last prehistoric period that preceded civilisation. Readers interested in details of this phenomenon and process may consult the work THE ORIGIN OF FAMILY, PRIVATE PROPERTY AND THE STATE by Engels. What we need know right now is the fact that money is meant to measure the value of and to exchange commodities. Money cannot measure the use-value ( i.e. usefulness )of a commodity. This is money's a basic limitation, as I see it.
Just like money and commodities, the State has NOT been in existence from all eternity either. There was really a time when there were NO money, NO commodities, NO classes, and NO State. By the State, ' a public power ' is meant ― a ' public power ' which arose out of society following the division of society into antagonistic classes, such as the propertied and the non-propertied, the exploiters and the exploited, etc, and out of the necessity to ' hold class antagonisms in check '  and thus protect the society.
' The state, then, ' observes Engels, ' has not existed from all eternity. There have been societies that did without it, that had no idea of the state and state power. At a certain stage of economic development, which was necessarily bound up with the split of society into classes, the state became a necessity owing to this split. ' 
The State, evidently owes its origin to the division of society into classes. Nevertheless, the division of society into classes with conflicting economic interests owes its origin to the institution of private property, the exploitation of man by man, the production and exchange of commodities ( by the fundamental law of the commodity economy, wealth accumulates in a few hands at one pole to create swarms of the poor and the penniless at the other, and thus the social division into the rich and the super-rich few idlers alongside of millions of the hard-working people that sweat blood to produce all wealth but lead a hard and humble existence themselves, like beasts of burden, throughout their life was effected ), et cetera. Thus, money, the commodity economy, the exploitation of man by man, private property, the social division into antagonistic classes, etc and the State are all inseparably interrelated. According to Engels, they originated simultaneously in the prehistoric period called barbarism. And it's the State that vests some people, i.e. those that hold positions of power, such as Presidents, Prime Ministers, MPs, senators, police officers, bureaucrats and other high officials, etc, with a lot of power.
Your concept of the origin of corruption will remain seriously deficient if you fail to take cognisance of another most important point, namely, the fact that in an unequal society where people are divided on the basis of wealth they're in possession of into different strata like the rich, the poor, the super-rich, the middle stratum, and the abjectly poor making up the bottom stratum, you'll always encounter someone wealthier than you are or someone not as wealthy as you are but the wealth disparity is NOT as large as you'd like it to be. This fact gives birth to a desire to amass wealth, which soon degenerates into an insatiable craving for wealth. The more you get, the stronger your hankering after wealth grows, which makes you keep on amassing wealth as if amassing wealth happens to be the sole end and aim of living. Nevertheless, lawful roads to riches are too few and too long while there exists NO end of the allure of easy money through illicit means and practices in the capitalist world. The state of affairs being such, your insatiable hankering after wealth is most likely to drive you to resort to some illicit means or practice aimed at easy money.
It should now be clear as day to all the sensible that corruption is rooted in a class-ridden, unequal society, such as the ones you see, yours included, in the capitalist world.
 THE ORIGIN OF FAMILY, PRIVATE PROPERTY AND THE STATE by Engels ( See KARL MARX and FREDERICK ENGELS SELECTED WORKS in three volumes Volume Three, PROGRESS PUBLISHERS MOSCOW, p 328. )
 op. cit., p 330
The brute fact is NONE of us are IMMUNE from the peril of power and money . There's NO assurance that it's not you yourself nor some beloved one of yours that is going to be the next victim of the twin evils and resort to illicit activities to achieve the desired goal, brought to justice someday, and put behind bars finally. Such things do not fit in with the PRINCIPLE of healthy and meaningful living, the life principle of all the sensible and enlightened humans. Therefore, the sensible canNOT help caring about the twin evils at issue and rest until finding an answer to this problem.
Which way can lead up to humanity's deliverance from the grip of power and money ?
Conquering the seduction of power and money is just NOT possible, humanly. The sensible know it. The sensible also know that humanity is endowed with superior intelligence that has made humanity mightier than even the mightiest ( physically ) animal. Although humanity is incapable of beating the seduction of money and power, yet it can get rid of the twin evils. Humanity can rid itself of the twin evils by ridding itself of the need for them. And humanity can rid itself of the need for money by doing away with the production and exchange of commodities.
A commodity has got two sorts of values. They are : ( 1 ) use-value and ( 2 ) exchange value ( by ' value ' of a commodity, its exchange-value is meant ). It's the use-value that interests buyers while sellers are interested in the exchange-value of commodities. Sellers trade in commodities because of their exchange-value which money can measure, and which brings to them money, making money or easy money being the only stuff that motivates them to do trading. Money canNOT measure the use-value ( usefulness ) of a commodity. If rid of their commodity form, products will remain as much useful as they happen to be now but won't have any exchange-value, as non-commodities, like oxygen in free air, are really and truly valueless ( i.e. without any exchange-value ), yet they're not in the least valueless ( worthless, precisely ) because of their use-value. In fact, a valueless non-commodity, like oxygen, can be incomparably valuable and possess more use-value than the most valuable commodity does. By ridding products ( i.e. useful things ) of their commodity form, humanity can rid itself of the need for money, and thus it can rid itself of both money and mints.
In order to get rid of the need for power, humanity just has got to rid itself of classes.
The proposition that we should stay away from both power and money in a world where humanity happens to be divided into classes on the basis of how much wealth a human is worth is silly and hence unacceptable outright. Not only does the lifestyle of the powerless and penniless fail to deserve to be reckoned respectable and harmonise with the PRINCIPLE of healthy and meaningful living, the powerlessness and pennilessness also makes them incapable of resisting the domination of the propertied and privileged people whose property and privilege rest on the exploitation of the poor and underprivileged millions.
RIGHT ATTITUDE to victims of the TEMPTATION of MONEY& POWER
The fact of the matter is EVERYONE of us has got a PRICE and is ready to get readily sold to anyone that'll pay their right price. And the fact that NONE of us are IMMUNE to the seduction of money and power suggests that conquering the seduction of money and power is just NOT possible, HUMANLY. Thus, if viewed from the logical point of view, all those guilty of corruption and the criminal abuse of power appear to be INNOCENT victims of the temptation and charm of power and money. Nevertheless, those people are NOT in the least INNOCENT truly..They're like rabid dogs or HIV-positive humans, who, if allowed to stay free, will contaminate other people's mind and thus add to the number of people like them, which fact, if left unchecked, is certain to lead to a massive rise in corruption and the abuse of power and thus complete ANARCHY followed by the collapse of society in the end.
The foregoing para reflects the scientific, hence the true communist, attitude, in my view, towards corruption and the abuse of power. Any objections ? Any questions ? I'd welcome your all objections and questions.
' Ultimately, we're all responsible for our own actions. Giving in to temptations is an act of free will ... A drug addict is both a victim of the drug and responsible for taking the drug.... '
The above quote reflects the attitude towards people guilty of corruption and the abuse of power of a guy that disapproves outright of my position on this issue. What follows is my response to it.
Albert Einstein, the great man of science, did NOT approve of the concept of a God that punishes and rewards humans for their doings and misdoings ' for the simple reason that a man's actions are determined by necessity, external and internal, so that in God's eyes he cannot be responsible, any more than an inanimate object is responsible for the motions it undergoes. ' ( RELIGION AND SCIENCE in IDEAS and OPINIONS by Albert Einstein ; P 39 )
Einstein could NOT stomach the idea that a man can be asked to account for his actions and rewarded for good acts and punished for bad acts by God and argued that because his actions are ' determined by necessity ', he canNOT, ' in God's eyes ', be responsible for them just as a lifeless stuff canNOT be held ' responsible ' for its motion. I think the core of Einstein's point defends mine on this issue. If we must do justice to someone guilty of failure to resist what really and truly happens to be irresistible humanly , how can we treat them as guilty people, I wonder.
a most IMPORTANT point
Nevertheless, I think we can leave the debate over the question of whether it's fair to hold a victim of temptation or addiction fully or partly responsible for their actions open for now and give due thought to a far more important point, as I view it.
I remember I once encountered, in a newspaper, a news piece that said Ms Angelina Jolie, a Hollywood actor, underwent double mastectomy in 2013 to get rid of breast-cancer genes (BRCA1) ,and thus she got rid of the chance of contracting breast cancer .Prevention is better than cure, as the saying goes. But the best of all is to get rid of, as Ms Jolie did, the genes or germs that cause the disease, to my way of thinking. A good teacher who wants to raise the school's overall academic standard is expected to think beyond employing the best teaching methods and materials and deal with factors behind the distraction of students, RIGHT ? I think the sensible ought NOT to fail to see the basic distinction between punishing an offender just to punish them because they've committed some offence and punishing an offender to send to all the message that crime does NOT pay and thus restrain the offenders from committing wrongs again and deter others from turning offenders. The expression ' correctional centre ' or ' correctional institution ' used nowadays for the old term ' prison ' or ' jail ' bears witness to the fact that advanced civilisations of today are aware of it. Nevertheless, they have yet to awake to the factors at the root of the problem and the means of eliminating them. This fact shows humanity's level of enlightenment still, in this space age, leaves a lot to be desired.
Money is NOT , NOR is power, everything in life. We really don't need money or power to live a healthy and meaningful life. In fact, we have to do away with , if we choose to lead a healthy and meaningful existence, both money and power to create an environment in harmony with the PRINCIPLE of healthy and meaningful living.*
Everyone has their PRICE. The temptation of money and power is INVINCIBLE . Because you haven't been convicted so far of an illicit act, it does NOT follow that you're truly Mr Clean or a BETTER human than those that have failed ignominiously to resist the temptation of money and power.
NONE of us, NOR our beloved ones, are IMMUNE from the PERIL of money and power. All those guilty of corruption or the abuse of power are really and truly INNOCENT victims of the irresistible seduction and charm of money and power.**
* People in fact will be far better off without money and power than the moneyed and the powerful. The latter truly run the risk of giving in to the seduction of money and power, being brought to justice someday, and landing up in prison eventually. But in the classless, moneyless, and equal society, you won't encounter anyone with more money or power than you have, nor will you need money or power to lead an easy and respectable life, a lifestyle becoming a civilised human of the space age.
** Nevertheless, they're NOT innocent truly ; they're like people carrying RABIES viruses or HIVs , who, if left unchecked, are certain to grow menacingly to pose a serious threat to the entire society.