Monday, March 10, 2008

Who’s more corrupt?

A great many number of researches suggest that India is amongst the most corrupt of countries. Ask any Indian & he’ll attest to it. Most of us have even witnessed it first hand.

But is India really the worst corrupt? There’s no denying that there’s a lot of corruption at all levels here, but other countries are no better off. Especially the developed nations. They just have a fancy name for that. While it’s impossible to bribe a policeman to evade a speeding ticket, it is quite possible to find favor with a politician. Lobbying is a huge industry in the US & millions of dollars are exchanged.

Political candidates need millions of dollars to run their campaigns. One of their major sources of funds is lobbyists. Corporate houses are typically behind such a thing. This allows them to find favor when the candidate they back is elected.

There are quite a few powerful lobbyists on Capitol Hill. Their role has come under scrutiny recently. These lobbyists will lobby the congress for their client’s advantage. Often contributions are indirect, thus one can’t call this corruption.

A certain spending provision to politicians with access to government funds has come under the scanner in the US. These are called earmarks, which allow a politician to provide for spending for a named project without prior approval, bids or scrutiny. This is a huge source for special interest groups.

I’m not suggesting that corruption is OK because it exists all over the world. But let’s just not ignore what happens in the nations like US. However, what’s different, at least in the US, is that once exposed, the public & the media go after the politician & the due course of justice if followed. The politician can then pretty much forget about his career. What happens in India? Tainted leaders continue to be in power, the media is hand-in-glove with them & the public memory is short. Life goes on.

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