By Ashok Natarajan


When Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India she was once asked what she proposed to do to tackle the growing corruption in this country. She answered that in an indirect manner by saying that corruption was a global phenomenon and not unique to India. When the press speaks about growing corruption it is referring mainly to what is happening in the developing countries. Why it is happening in such economies is a pertinent question. There are many more related questions and they are as follows

  1. Is this going to be a permanent phenomenon
  2. Is India inherently corrupt?
  3. Can we get rid of corruption at some point of time and if so when and how?
  4. Are developed countries free of corruption?
  5. Is it an inevitable phase in the process of development?
  6. If it is deemed inevitable does it amount to justifying corruption?
  7. Is not there something we can do to remove a substantial part of corruption?
  8. What are the various forms of corruption?
  9. Can a society be absolutely free of corruption of any kind?
  10. What is the proper definition of corruption?

At the time of Independence Rajaji made the comment that we were exchanging a good government for a bad government. There is a good reason for his saying so. The Englishman was brought up to be a gentleman whereas we Indians were very deficient in gentlemanly behaviour. 800 years of slavery has weakened the nobility of our character and it is surprising that after such an ordeal we still retain a good measure of character. This should give us an idea of how great the past spiritual culture must have been. As Science has very exacting standards so too Spirit has an uncompromising attitude towards falsehood. In the depth India's culture is spiritual and the corruption seen on the surface is something superficial and it is bound to be a passing phenomenon. Our spiritual past is something very great. But it won't be of any use to us unless we take efforts to restore it back.

Corruption has its basis in life, mind and the spirit also. When poverty prevails on a chronic basis that is bound to generate corruption as a way of life. Long-standing poverty gives social approval to corruption in all its forms and there is a tacit acceptance of corruption. When the mind is ignorant it breeds superstition and a superstitious atmosphere is a ripe field for political corruption. When higher spiritual values are diluted into ritualistic religion the pure spirit gets replaced by vital spirits, which are the remains of dead people. Worship of vital spirits can vitiate the atmosphere very much and support corruption of all kinds.

Corruption can be made to yield wherever there is a determined exercise of Will. The Election Commission has intervened in a decisive manner and wiped out electoral malpractices and made the conduct of fair elections possible. It was able to do this because it is a statutory body that has been empowered to conduct elections in a fair and proper manner. Without the statutory empowerment the Election Commission may not be able to do anything. Therefore if the right move is made by the right people corruption can be eradicated and the original spiritual light can reoccupy those areas darkened by the darkness of corruption. The only question is who is to make the right move. Nations experiencing corruption outgrow it through a process of education and prosperity. Education gives people self-respect and that weans people away from corruption. Corrupt politicians' send their children abroad for studies and those children come back with a lot of self-respect and do not easily succumb to the kind of temptations that their fathers fell victim to.

We should not be under the illusion that the corruption that we are facing now is something unique to India. Every developed country that we know of has passed through a corrupt stage. Throughout the 19th century, mafia leaders in the U.S had judges on their regular pay and in some cases whole legislatures had been bought out and laws were being enacted according to the dictates of mafia leaders. We have to go back in history to realize the full severity of misuse of power and authority. In ancient Tamil Nadu a silk merchant came to the Chola King offering fine quality silk. The king had no money to buy and so he turned down the offer. The merchant however went to another rich man named Sadaiyappa Vallal and managed to sell his products. The king was so angry that what he could not buy somebody had dared to buy that he sent his soldiers to ransack that merchant's house. It sounds outrageous to us now. But in those days such misuse of authority was common. We are now focused on a narrow definition of corruption by which we mean using money to get favours done. But in the wider definition of corruption misuse of power and authority are as much a violation of propriety as inducements of money.

Notions of corruption emerged only after the birth of mind in man enabled him to develop notions of justice and set standards of what is right and wrong. Before the birth of mind, brute physical strength ruled the roost and the policy of might is right prevailed. The strong people enjoyed everything and even robbed the weak people and made them work for their prosperity. The harassment of the weak by the strong did not evoke sympathy for the weak. Instead it evoked admiration for the strong man for amassing the strength to persecute those below him. Rich men in ancient days who kept many women in their harem felt no shame about it. On the other hand they were very proud of their acquisition and their status in society rose in accordance with the number of women they kept in their harem. Men enforced loyalty on women but did not feel that the same yardstick applied to them. Only in the second half of the 20th century are women questioning such double standards and demanding that men behave properly also.

The emergence of corruption can be best understood when viewed in the context of the birth of social organisations. The word organisation is understood by people to mean a company, factory, an institution or a family etc. That is only its outer meaning. It has an inner deeper meaning by which organisation means systematic coordinated functioning for maximising results. Society develops organisations when possibilities arise for people to interact together for fruitful work. Trade, bank, school, hospital and a whole lot of other organisation have sprung up in this way only. In the beginning there was only the required physical activity such as buying and selling and the required structures to support the activity. Later on the people engaged in the activity understood that their work and its results could be enhanced if values could be added to their work and become the guiding factors. Only the elite of society developed such attitudes in the beginning. Later on when the mass of the population wanted to share in the benefits also values took a back seat and quantity became more important than quality. Such a fall in standards of quality paved the way for corruption to emerge. A tractor or lorry waiting in the RTO Office for issuance of a fitness certificate loses income for the days that it is standing idle. The owner is tempted to pay a bribe to the officer and take the vehicle and put it back to work so that he can continue to earn money. The officer issues a fitness certificate in return for a bribe even if the vehicle is not really fit. The fitness of the vehicle is sacrificed before the urgency of the owner to put it back to work and the need of the officer to supplement his income. There is a fall here in standards of fitness and standards of duty and that is how corruption enters.

When trade gets organised norms about the quality of goods, location for trade and terms of payment and norms about what to trade and what not to trade all develop. Since trade involves money and payment a commitment becomes necessary in terms of delayed payment. A promise to pay given orally earns the individual a name for honesty if he keeps his word and in this manner people engaged in trade discover that honesty enhances one's trading performance. Preparing documents to strengthen people's commitment to pay can be a cumbersome process and traders would prefer an oral commitment if the man's honesty is unquestionable. The high-level of honesty found among the English people is attributed to the fact that England was a trading nation. Even when standards are high there will always be some people who would like to benefit by dishonouring their commitments and evading payment. Such lapses however will be on the higher side when society is in a formative stage and will diminish in proportion to the advancement of society. There are however times when rampant falsehood reigns supreme such as during the Nazi era in Germany and people try to come up in life using false methods. They succeed but for a short while only and later find the falsehood ruining their lives.

We see a child having messy habits during his infant years which he gives up after a while. Torrential rains turn river waters muddy and the water clears up only after the rains subside. Similarly during the growing phase of a society capable and hard-working men throw social norms to the wind and try to make money by all means possible. The excitement of earning money is so strong in the pioneers that they have no patience to honour values and abide by the rules. Only in the third or fourth generation do the descendants of rich men become cultured enough to think about values and social norms. Power is always misused in the early stages of social growth and if it is kept under check and control, it may not be visible at all. Developing societies exhibiting corruption falls under this category and it is an interesting fact that rates of growth are higher in those developing countries where rates of corruption are also high. If the corruption is brought down by force, there is a danger of development slowing down also. This is a neutral observation and it is by no means to be understood as a condoning of corruption. Those who indulge in corruption do have a chance to reform in the later generations. But those who have never tasted prosperity and remain poor for generations hardly show any inclination to reform.

Corruption is normally defined as illegal payments to politicians and government officers to get some favour. Though the phenomenon is believed to be rampant, a careful consideration will show that it is only on the surface and not pervasive at all points of society. In other words the surface becomes corrupt while the inner core of society may remain untouched. If the core has been affected little can be done. Since only the surface gets affected there is scope for eradicating the disorder. People become corrupt mainly because income has not kept pace with the rising cost of living. Cost of education and costs of providing oneself with all the amenities of urban life have increased enormously and many people find that they may have to live a Spartan life if they keep to their regular income only.

It is possible for the government to put its foot down strongly on corruption if the leader of the government happens to be incorruptible. But the effect of such a total ban on corruption will be undesirable in the sense that it will lead to a total stoppage of all new development. A lot of black money goes into the founding of colleges, hospitals and housing colonies etc. If such new buildings do not come up anymore, to that extent it will hurt the welfare of people. In poor countries people do not care so much for the means of success as they do for the result. Even if a man has earned a lot of money in questionable ways, people will accept him once he has become rich. If he persists in his wrong-doings on a long-range basis they are likely to disapprove of him. India being a very poor country people here cannot be selective about the ways and means of earning money. They are more likely to accept money in whatever way it comes.

Man can progress in two ways. He can accept the values that come down from above and see how powerfully they are able to lift him up. Or else he can succumb to the temptation to set aside values and come up in life using raw physical strength and clever talents. If he is moving in a cultured society this will force him to avoid cultured people and keep company with men like him who are equally devoid of values. All short cuts in life have a shining beginning and a disastrous end. In keeping with this trend he will achieve in a dramatic way in the beginning. But later on he is likely to be defeated by a hero representing the side of Truth. If not it is equally likely that he will be robbed and dispossessed of everything he has earned and accumulated by somebody who is even more clever than him and even more unscrupulous.

A society can flourish if the elite and the commoners develop a mutually nourishing relationship. But historical experience shows that the elite are more likely to remain aloof and want to keep for themselves what they have acquired. If the commoners rebel and withdraw the support they give by their physical toiling the edifice of the elite is likely to come crumbling down. That is what happened during the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution. The priestly community in India showed an aversion to sharing its knowledge with other sections of society. But in the democratic set-up now prevailing their aversion has been overlooked and India is witnessing a free distribution of knowledge of all types.

In the past the social elite actively worked to widen the gap between themselves and the commoners. They did that by organising falsehood, deceit and greed and all sorts of clever machinations. Sri Aurobindo has observed this phenomenon and described it as the simple contrary changing into complex perversity. Such organised perversity had to be physically destroyed in the past as it was unyielding. But nowadays with the spread of education and dissemination of knowledge, what required violence in the past can be changed by peaceful legislation and a healthy debate.

Money has a positive and negative side and which side gets expressed depends on how man handles money. If it is used positively it can make him progress by leaps and bounds. But if it is used negatively it will destroy him in no time. People who develop a habit of gambling, horse-racing and betting are good examples of the destructive power of money. Children of rich families fall a victim to this temptation very often. The finest example of the destructive power of gambling is shown by the disruptions that take place in stock exchanges. Stock exchanges are meant to be channels for collecting public savings for business expansion. When the exchanges function properly such collections do take place. When stock prices get artificially inflated and trading is fueled by greed things can get out of control and then the destructive power of money shows itself by making the stock market crash as it happened in 1929. The crash led to depression and it sapped the energies of the American economy for many years. The destructive effects of the depression were even more severely felt in Germany where it led to run-away inflation and made money virtually worthless. While the American economy was resilient enough to come bouncing back after a few years of dull inactivity, restoring the German economy required much more serious efforts. The Germans were not willing for all that effort and thought they could turn things around by simply going to war. Hitler arrived on the scene at this time and his evil nature misguided the Germans into believing that the Jews were the source of Germany's misfortune. The Jews were the symbol of Money Power and instead of urging the people to emulate them, Hitler urged the German people to rob the Jews of all their belongings and physically put them to death.

Out of this total devastation Germany came out and rebuilt itself with the help of massive American aid under the Marshall Plan. One of the laws of social evolution states that out of the worst calamities the best possibilities can emerge. In the 50 years after the Second World War Germany has achieved a progress that is equal to what was achieved in 500 years prior to the war. Man is handling money much more carefully now than he used to before the Second War. The inward-looking and amassing tendencies of money are now giving way to an outward-looking and dispersing tendency. The former was a self-centered tendency while the latter is a selfless tendency. Bankers and financial institutions seem to have acquired the knowledge that the way for money to grow now is to give itself out and so we see money seeking customers now instead of the other way round.

Even corruption will peter out in the course of time and lead India to a higher stage where there will be a greater appreciation of values. Because many nations have passed through a corrupt stage it does not necessarily mean that corruption is an inevitable phase for all countries. Indian spirituality has enough greatness and strength to eliminate corruption if the right human instrument is available.

In comparison to the integrity and honesty of the erstwhile British Government the present corrupt atmosphere prevailing in the country is degrading. By all means the sooner we get out of this the better it will be. If we look at it from a higher point of view what we call corruption may not appear so degrading. It is a quick way to become rich for people who have for generations known only poverty. If all such quick avenues to prosperity are blocked, the disappointment felt by the people may be so great as to slow down development very much.

The nations of the world have been ranked according to the degree of corruption present in the nation. In that list Finland has emerged as the least corrupt of the nations. U.S.A is 8th on the list and India is 64th on the list. Certainly it will make any nation very proud to discover that it is the least corrupt in the world. It is difficult to make any nation totally free of corruption. Some minimum is inevitable because society is not cultured enough to function without any trace of corruption. The Chinese attained a very high level of mental development five centuries before Christ. It was confined to the top levels of society and the commoners were left in poverty. The combination of high mental development at the top and rampant poverty below led to a perverse cruelty which tarnished the reputation of the Chinese civilisation. The Western World on the other hand attained prosperity only in the last few centuries and prosperity has the tendency to blunt cruelty.

The Englishman exhibits a perfect and proper behaviour in his personal dealings and takes a great effort to safeguard his reputation as a gentleman. But when he came to India as a trader he was quite unscrupulous and demanding. He exhibited the same unscrupulous and dishonest behaviour in the diplomatic field also and defended it saying that it was unavoidable in that field. This leads us to understand that he compensates for excellence in one area with substandard performance in another area. We see a continuation of this same behaviour in the American refusal to honour their nuclear disarmament commitments while insisting on other nations to join the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Excellence in one area and poor performance in another area is something normal to the nature of life. If we extend this to philosophical heights we will come to know that quantity and quality are illusions and the high and low are all equal in the eyes of Brahman. But from a social point of view these differences are there. Even individuals can exhibit contradictory behaviour. Indian Rishis who attained inner spiritual splendours did not mind sporting matted hair and remaining unwashed for many days. Europeans are famous for not taking daily bath and not even brushing their teeth properly. When energies are focused on maintaining inner purity, there may not be sufficient energy left to take care of personal outer cleanliness.

When life brings crucial turning points in the course of history the sudden spurt in productivity brings a flood of good things to people. They become overwhelmed by the flood and are unable to organise quickly to receive it properly. The spurt comes before organisation and values get established. In the process of unregulated growth men become eager to make money while opportunities are good and that is where corruption finds a place. Corruption will help valueless people make a lot of money because they are already at a low level. But even during periods of unregulated growth, men with a conscience and good principles should stay away from corruption. It will be detrimental to them because they are at a high level already and a slip can prove fatal.

When development comes energy levels get greatly magnified before organisation stabilises. It requires an organisation to direct the energy in a particular direction and turn it into a productive force. When a carpenter works on wood to make a piece of furniture, there will certainly be a lot of wood shavings coming as waste. It will be impossible to make furniture without wasting some portions of the wood. In the larger scheme of nature what we call waste is allowed by nature and it does not look at it as waste at all. When rains come down in torrents a lot of the water goes back to the sea as floodwater and becomes unavailable to man. Man may consider such a return of water to the sea a waste, but in the cycles of nature the water has only gone back to where it has come from. If such return is not allowed the sea will become exceedingly salty and become unlivable for sea-dwelling fishes. What appears to be corruption now was once a permissible way of living. In the past centuries invading armies survived by looting and plundering the conquered nation and generals and admirals were routinely given a portion of the spoils. Such a habit of looting and plundering continued till the Second World War and was not looked down upon as uncivilised. When the general commanding the French army that invaded Spain during the Napoleonic wars wrote back to Napoleon requesting replenishment of supplies Napoleon wrote back wondering if the general was not aware of the possibility of surviving by looting and plundering. What is called looting in warfare is now euphemistically called corruption in administrative and political circles. Leadership in the international arena is dependent on a great deal on strength derived from corrupt gains and acquisitions. Soviet political and military domination of the world was based mainly on the forcible occupation of Central Asian states and countries of Eastern Europe. When the Soviet Union wanted to reform itself the Union got dismantled and its power and strength accordingly got vastly reduced. A similar shrinking effect will come to the U.S. also should it want to reform itself and eliminate corruption from its environment.

Corruption during short spurts of development is excusable. But if it comes to a stay as a regular phenomenon on a prolonged basis it can weaken a society and damage its values and higher accomplishments. Stray incidents of copying here and there during exams did not affect the functioning of educational institutions. But when the copying got organsied on a massive scale it made exams meaningless and it degraded the value of real degrees in the face of fake degrees. Corruption starts with money and then gets extended to values and if this is allowed it will lead to a progressive dissolution of society itself. We expect people to be ashamed of corruption. That is a logical expectation. But it is equally possible for corrupt people to be proud of their corrupt practices and to value the strength that wrong tendency gives. Proponents of Nuclear disarmament feel that if the American people are properly informed, they will turn against their government's pro-nuclear policies. But these optimists could be mistaken. If the people are given the full details of their country's nuclear capabilities they are equally capable of feeling proud about their nuclear superiority and value that more than they fear the dangers of nuclear warfare. It may appear puzzling but the fact is humanity values pride more than it values security.

Society allows different routes for approaching the same goal. Those who grew in pre-war days could have very closed opinions about corruption. But in the larger scheme of things development through corruption may be viewed by nature as simply one more route to development. Ramapuram villagers who were given bank loans for digging wells used those loans properly and developed their fields. Even if such loans had not been given, it is possible that they could have achieved the same prosperity through a different route though it might have been a more devious route. There is a qualitative difference between positive and negative routes which cannot be denied.

In certain countries the atmosphere is conducive to corruption. India is a good example for this. In this country corrupt judges cannot even be removed through legal procedures. They can be removed only through a parliamentary impeachment. When a motion of impeachment was brought against a very corrupt judge not even one vote was cast in favour of it. Values that were cherished in one era could be looked down in another later era. Those who kept slaves in the American south felt very proud about it prior to the American civil war. But nowadays people recollect such incidents with a sense of shame. The Nazis felt jubilant about their holocaust programme. But subsequent generations of Germans felt a strong guilt about it. When a corrupt atmosphere grows in a nation and becoming rich through corruption becomes fashionable, it tempts some pseudo idealists to taste the fruits of corruption also. As they are indecisive they falter and the clash between their earlier espousal of idealism and later adoption of corruption causes a disharmony that can be detrimental. One idealistic professor had a false streak in his personality which allowed him to give a pass to undeserving students. Later it recoiled on him through his son who did not want to complete his studies and refused his father's requests to go through the motions of sitting in an exam for which the father was ready to arrange a pass using his influence.

Man starts at the physical level, moves to the vital and then to the mental level. These are the three conventional stages of human development that we normally know. But there is a still higher spiritual side to man and if we include that the stages of growth will go up to four in number. The Americans achieved their way to prosperity through hard physical work. The Russians developed intense emotions and moved up to a level where they could attain mysticism. The Tamilians in India have developed a pro-ethical culture and there is a strong insistence in ancient Tamil writings about the need for appreciating the other man's point of view. In the famous Tirukural treatise there is a couplet that says that even if the host offers poison the guest should take it without complaining or refusing. Taken to its logical extreme it may appear that each person is right in his course of action from his point of view. This may lead to unwelcome conclusions such as that even the criminal is justified from his point of view. The scope of this essay however does not permit us to go to those philosophical heights. Our scope is restricted to what is the role of corruption and what are the different views about corruption. The rational approach to corruption would be to see it as a means of development resorted to by people who are impatient to make money. If a nation as a whole has been subject to poverty for a long period of time its social Will gets deflected from a proper course and it leans towards the wrong course of making money through corruption in order to quickly emerge out of the grinding poverty it has been subject to so long. The Collective Social Will is as much a real entity as the Individual Will and it can have a pronounced leaning and direction. It is made up of two sides, positive and negative. It is preferable that the positive side be in excess over the negative side and the general rule is that the nation progresses to the extent of its positive surplus. Attempting to progress beyond that surplus will be a vain effort. If a society has developed the wrong side in excess, then individual idealists calling for purification of the society will be making a vain appeal. Sri Aurobindo realised that centuries of poverty and subjugation had weakened the Social Will of the Indian community and made it an easy victim of corruption. He realised that a massive effort was needed to reinforce the ancient spiritual values and he worked on whatever little strength was left in the country. His comments on these issues make us realise two points clearly.

  1. It is possible to get rid of corruption.
  2. Whichever route society takes, the ultimate goal would be wonderful.

Our disgust at the prevailing corruption is real to our nerves. But what we do not understand is that strong condemnation shows a negative attachment to the thing condemned and such an attachment will postpone its removal. What we need is a calm understanding of what corruption is and such a calm and detached understanding is a superior attitude that will hasten the removal of corruption.

We look at society as a collection of individuals. But it is not really as simple as that. Society is an entity by itself and it has its own Will. That Will may be conscious or unconscious. Nevertheless it acts and moreover it acts in a non-moral way and does not recognize right or wrong as individual human beings do. During Nehru's reign one parliament member turned into a businessman. He wanted access to Nehru and his family and for that he chose to befriend Nehru's gardener. He enticed that man to come away and be his PRO and gifted him with a car. That PRO strengthened his access to Nehru and that close contact continued with Indira and even Rajeev. The approach that businessman took may not be acceptable. But it worked for him and that is all that mattered to the Social Will.

What years of hard work cannot accomplish, social contacts can. Such achievement may be at the cost of cultural and moral values that one cherishes most. Such hustlers may behave in a demeaning manner and be obsequious in front of their boss. What we see as total loss of self-respect can also be seen as total humility coming from total absence of ego. Primitive man was once like that and he developed an ego only after some degree of civilisation emerged. Along with the formation of ego pride also took form. Pride stands in the way of accomplishment and there is no comparison between what a self-effacing man achieves and what a proud man achieves. One businessman was behaving very humbly towards his principal supplier. The principal started building a temple and his subordinate participated in the construction to the extent of 4 crores over a period of time. At one point the subordinate incurred an arrear of 20 lakhs over a bill. The principal immediately stopped further supplies and made it clear that next consignment would come only after the arrears are cleared. The subordinate's temple expenses of over 4 crores counted for nothing in the eyes of the principal and what mattered was non-payment of the bill. The subordinate took the outrage calmly and paid the bill without reminding his principal about the expenses he has incurred for the temple. We must think of the extent of humility that the subordinate must have possessed in order to act calmly in such a situation. Such a total absence of ego is needed for accomplishment.

In a school run by a minority community the presiding headmaster was not very effective in maintaining discipline. There was one particular teacher who used to write anonymous threatening letters to the headmaster which turned out to be a major headache for him. A situation arose in which the threatening teacher needed a favour from the headmaster. In a school function the teacher garlanded the headmaster. That act made the headmaster forget all the previous enemity and feel very friendly towards that teacher now. Human nature can adjust to changes in circumstances with great facility and it can also change to suit its conveniences. People can exploit these loopholes and get their purpose fulfilled. In an atmosphere of lax discipline corruption is the first thing to rear its head.

Some people who harbour corrupt tendencies in their subconscious put up an extremely proper behaviour in their conscious functioning as a compensation for their hidden wrong tendencies. Visveshraiyya, the famous engineer from Karnataka, used to keep candles labelled private and official. He will read office files in the daytime using official candles and switch over to private candles in the night. Such over scrupulousness was a compensation for having separated from his wife on the basis of a mere anonymous letter. A young boy hailing from a family in Villupuram had a case in court involving some money due to his family. The family was in financial difficulties as it had lost the head of the family. The boy went to the Munsif's house and pleaded with him to expedite the case. The Munsif took offence and blew up the issue and threatened to hand over the boy to the police. He could have easily advised the boy not to come to his house and plead like that and then and there settled the matter. His exaggerated response shows hidden inclination to corruption. Resourceful people with corrupt tendencies will indulge in corrupt behaviour in such a way that they do not get caught. If such people become the head of an institution they will regularise corruption and rule the roost. Democracy allows dynamic rogues to accomplish in corrupt ways by cultivating vote banks of uneducated and poor people who look up to and admire such leaders for having made a lot of money through corruption.

India is in the initial stages of prosperity only. The more the Indian public grows in trust by repaying bank loans the more the money supply will grow. If the trustworthy population grows in numbers also that too will have a beneficial impact on the prosperity of the country. People who have no sense of shame or self-respect are the people most likely to indulge in corruption. Shame is a vital emotion and when that is missing it helps the physical to progress unimpeded by higher restraints. The physical element in man progresses in two ways. Wherever rigidities and ossification have set in the physical progresses by breaking down those rigidities. If such rigidities are absent, then it may indicate a stage where the physical is not very well formed. Such an unformed physical will simply dissolve under the impact of overwhelming prosperity. In such a stage of social formation only educated men will be able to come up in life. But even such men are not immune to corruption. Rising market standards in terms of quality can prevent such men from resorting to corruption. However flourishing corruption can be a sign of progress in a developing nation. It means that society is actively functioning and pays a price for its development through submitting to corruption. If it is static and unmoving, there is no scope for demanding money as there won't be any new generation of wealth.

Corruption thrives in violent societies and those violent societies that claim to be free of corruption cannot be trusted. Corruption and violence go together. There are many social traits that are indicative of corruption. The rule is not absolute, but only indicative. Unpunctual behaviour is one of those traits. Corrupt politicians will generally be unpunctual. They use their unpunctuality with its attendant delays and postponements with good effects to fulfill their purposes. A high incidence of road accidents will point to corruption in administration as corrupt transport officials are likely to issue licenses to unqualified people. Demagogues who pander to the lower vibrations of the people are very good at promoting corruption. Autocrats can become fully corrupt and they will lay their hands on anything they feel is good income for them.

Corruption can extend to even religious and spiritual realms. The Catholic Church in the medieval days was selling redemptions from sins for a payment. The laity was told that they could purchase redemption even for their dead relatives. Corruption is attractive for non-achievers. They believe that they can use the power of money to achieve things that would normally require hard work and talents. However resorting to corruption effectively bars those people from entering the zone of accomplishment. Those indulging in corruption may not even be aware of this. Advancing technology is making people shed their moral inhibitions. Contraceptives have made women give up their fear of pre-marital sex and many are indulging in it in Western countries without any inhibitions. Corruption also has its own grades and they range from liquor, women and social influence and finally liquid cash. Gambling and betting have proved ruinous traps for many people and corrupt people have used these devices to ruin their rivals. Diplomacy which is the field of high-level social and political influence bristles with corruption. Its most effective tool is the power of bargaining.