Meeting number 12 on 13 August 2012.

Barry asked the question: "how should we deal with public corruption?".

(Subquestions were: "what is corruption?" and "does power corrupt?")

People who attended: Ben, Barry and Masood.

1 comment:

masood said...

We started out with a long and fruitless attempt to solve a certain contradiction in democracy which is the fact that we don't like undemocratic regimes where people aren't allowed to vote for the government of their choice. But on the other hand there is a problem with a situation where lots of people have a vote but where maybe rather they shouldn't because they are not sufficiently knowledgeable to have a valueful opinion on the issues they are required to have an opinion on (one example of which being: what's the best way to end the recession, is it to increase public spending to stimulate the economy or is it to cut public spending and cut taxes?)

Then we started talking about the issue at hand, namely public corruption. (During which I struggled in vain with Barry's inclination to state very broad and very unfounded generalisations such as "it's impossible to get justice in this country" and "all the authorities are corrupt".) I said that the answer to the question "how should we deal with public corruption?" wasn't that we should simply replace the corrupt officials. For example if the Chicago police are taking bribes from the mafia, replacing the individual officers won't help if we can't be sure that the new officers won't similarly accept bribes. And if (like Lord Acton said) power corrupts then this is what will happen.

Barry was convinced that religious countries are less corrupt although I gave him Pakistan and India as examples to disprove this.

Maybe the only way to have no corruption is to have nobody with any power. If nobody has any power then nobody can abuse their power.

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