This week's revelation that more than half the number of people interviewed in a global survey felt the level of corruption in their countries had increased over the past two years is unlikely to surprise anyone. Nor will shock waves be generated by Transparency International's conclusion that politicians, the police and the judiciary are prime offenders and that one in four people have paid a bribe.
Where the respected NGO's Global Barometer should stir emotion, however, is in the bleak picture it paints of the future; a world in which our children will pay a high price for such behaviour.
But, to their shame, many selfish people just don't care. They will continue to put profits before principles, regardless of the harm done. A poll conducted by the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission cited almost one in three MPs as saying they viewed corruption as normal and a fact of life. Others, among them people in the 18-30 age group, also put self-interest ahead of the national interest in another poll and said they believed corruption to be acceptable so long as they benefited. They appeared oblivious to the fact that corruption increases the cost of essential services borne by individuals and is an enormous burden on taxpayers and state coffers. Nor did they seem to be aware that perceptions of widespread graft erode essential trust and faith in the democratic and legal process.
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