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A.Melita. Corruption Under Our Noses

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CORRUPTION UNDER OUR NOSES

August, 2016

Corruption is a devastating and malicious disease that affects our society as a whole. This antique and widespread issue has anchored its roots on our society and today no corner of the world seems to be free from it. Every day, corruption alters our lives to a greater or a lesser extent either directly or indirectly. Weak institutions, illegal practices and dishonest professionals are the main features of a rotten system that has a negative impact on the quality of life of the population, especially to those most in need.

When people sees corruption as a regular thing of their daily lives, these irregular practices become normal and are not judged as improper or unfair anymore, but as natural. They are just a part of our lives. When corruption becomes a cultural issue, then it starts modifying society’s values and behaviors. Corruption tends to violate people’s fundamental rights and affects their intrinsic honesty. Living in a society where everybody is breaking the rules, let us think that it is ok doing so and that those actions won’t be punished. 1

The continuous and growing corruption is not suspected, but well-known and obvious. It is not even strongly repudiated, since we have incorporated it into our routine. Cases of corruption take place every day right under our noses. They are common in both public and private sectors, and in fact, they are usually connected. Paying a bribe is assumed as just another bureaucratic element of the process instead of an illegal act; and sometimes these are offered unsolicited because it is understood that the system won’t work without them.

Moreover, in order to boost their profits, many multinational companies look for illegal mechanisms that allow them to do what the law forbids them. Despite expressing public complaints about this harmful corporate behavior, public officials are often secretly supportive and collaborative with them. Many corruption cases that link private and public actors have come to light in recent times. Without going any further, the European Union has recently announced that the Irish government provided illegal fiscal advantages to the multinational company Apple. This selective treatment allowed this company to pay substantially lower taxes than other firms and gain a significant advantage over the rest. European rules don’t allow its members to provide tax advantages to private companies since this kind of governmental aid violates equal conditions in which firms must compete and ultimately harm the whole society.

Sadly, tax avoidance is an increasingly used mechanism worldwide with devastating effects on society, particularly on the provision of quality public services. These kind of tool is the evidence that power can often be above the law when you have the appropriate contacts. It is necessary that all actors involved have a more active role and take a stronger approach to combat corruption. While society continues to ignore this type of behavior, cases of corruption will continue to show up and will remain “normal” to all of us.

1 – Society can have a strong influence on how honest we are, says a new study

 http://phys.org/news/2016-03-society-strong-honest.html

 

Alejandro Melita, LAPAS intern