Sunday, May 08, 2011

Random Thoughts - IX_a

The article I mentioned in my last post declares people who joined a recent movement against corruption in India as hypocrites. These people presumably are corrupts themselves in their own small ways but come out to protest against bigger corruptions. I would think there are two reasons for the author's opinion.

First, it's a view that some things are meant to be pure and even a single violation of whatever background would permanently defile it. Views like these are unacceptable.

For the second reason, let us consider a hypothetical situation where these protests become successful. Would not that make these hypocrites to continue with their true self inviable? So obviously these should be cynical hypocrites. That shows the majority who participated in the protests belong to this category since the whole middle class has been stereotyped as 'hypocrites'. The middle class that didn't participate in the protests are a majority of:
- Cynical but original uncorrupts
- Non-cynical but hypocrite uncorrupts
- Non-cynical but original corrupts

This absolute farce of corrupts fighting corrupts fascinated me. I wanted to delve on it further after my initial categorization. The problem I found in the list of corrupt practices was that, not all of them could be called corruptions. I'm further refining the list. Before that I've to define the term corruption.

Corruption: Any action for undeserved  gain (monetary) for self and/or related ones directly or indirectly resulting in loss to others directly or indirectly.

1. Paying in "black" when buying a house: Qualifies as corruption
  •     Property buyer and seller are both corrupts. The government deserves the money. 

2. Bribing cops to get away with minor offences:
    - jumping the signal or breaking one way, no u-turn: Criminal act but not corruption
    - Carrying no proper documents (forgetting RC, license): Mistake but not corruption
    - having no proper documents: Criminal act but not Corruption
    - no pollution certificate: Stupidity (Pollution certificate is an official scam by the governments) but not corruption
  • Penalty money is not a benefit to the government but way of controlling the criminal act. However, the bribe taker gets undeserved money and may in turn also responsible for any potential damages because of the criminal act of the lawbreaker. The lawbreaker may gain violent pleasure but corruption is about money. 

3. Paying "capitation fee" in higher educational institutes: No corruption from the person as the benefit has to be earned but corruption by the management. Unclear criminal act as the loss to a more deserved isn't confirmed since capitation fee is legal because of loopholes.
  • Here actually the parents are a victim as they have paid undeserved amount to the school thus incurring the loss and the school management has gained undeserved benefit. 

4. Bribing for school admission: No corruption from the person as the benefit has to be earned but can be criminal act and a corruption from the management.
  • Same as (3a) but criminal act because a deserved candidate might have lost out. 

5. Buying an illegal driving license (or any license): Criminal act but not corruption
  • It's a pure criminal act by a citizen but corruption from the government officials. 

6. Paying extra to get gas cylinders ontime, when in short supply: Criminal act but not corruption
  • The gas cylinder is deserved however it's a criminal act as it results in loss to a citizen ahead in the list 

7. Fudging bills to claim refunds: Qualifies as corruption
8. Avoiding paying income tax: Qualifies as corruption
9. Bribing cops when they come for passport identification: Insecurity (passport is not a benefit but the right of a citizen) but not corruption
10. Pulling strings even paying touts, to confirm a waitlisted railway ticket: Criminal act but not corruption
  • Same as (6) 
We can observe that out of 10 only 3 qualify as corruption(1, 7 and 8). Of the rest;
- the government officials are sole corrupts in 2, 5, 6, 9 and 10 (50%)
- Private institutions and individuals in 3 and 4 (20%)

It is very important to define the corruption precisely because every "hypocrite" is against corruption as defined above. What we see here is nearly sixty percent cases are criminal acts. Few are desperate situations but some others are the result of pleasure seeking through violent behaviour. I suppose Indian children should be taught to channel their risk taking inclinations to planned adventures where probable victims would be only themselves. The solutions to some of the desperate situations (eg. quality schools) are the responsibility of the government.

We cannot say Indian middle class has indulged in corruption in multiple ways but is undeniable that there are few instances where  they do indulge in corruption. All the three instances mentioned here basically boil down to paying the taxes. But this is not an unrestorable hymen. Of course, there are people who argue for giving it for charity instead to our corrupt governments which misappropriate it anyway. I don't agree with this line. But giving for charity and then not claiming income tax benefit probably one way of restoring the purity.


anilkurup said...

Your points are quite matter of fact. I cannot think of rebuttal or an answer. Do you have one ?

manju said...

Your points are quite matter of fact.
Then I suppose this is a good post. The reasons are not meant for arguments but are analysis as a matter of fact. Instead of viewing any point of interest either from optimism, pessimism or cynicism prism, taking it as a matter of fact would be better, I guess.

SHE said...

To each one his own definition. Corruption to me is an act that takes away someone else's right. So, for example, paying money to get away from the cop for not carrying RC is not corruption but paying to get a cylinder out of turn is. (because you are actually taking away some one else's cylinder)

manju said...

To each one his own definition.

Well, if that's the case then none have understood the phenomenon and each definition is wrong!

What you describe is a criminal act. But defining it as corruption you are equating the customer with the official (who is actually corrupt). And this is illogical. Let us consider three parameters that come into play here and how it corresponds to both of them.

1. Motivation
Customer: Need for a cylinder
Official: Greed for money

2. Action:
Customer: Pay extra money thus incur loss
Official: Get extra money thus gain undeserved monetary benefit

3. Consequence:
Customer: Deny or delay a deserved customer
Official: Deny or delay a deserved customer

You can see that in two out of the three counts the customer and the official are not equivalent.

In the third count they are but that is a criminal act.

A criminal customer is justified in protesting against the official's corruption as they are not equivalent.

Then there remains the criminal act. If the corrupt official is controlled then there doesn't exist any criminal act. Here we understand the most important aspect in this equation, 'power'.

A common man, paying extra to get his need doesn't have the power in the entire situation whether he is denying someone else's right or not.

I think that's the reason we need to be careful while defining 'corruption' but define we must.