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Ethics, a preventive measure against the poison of corruption

12-07-2021

Published in

Diario de Navarra, El Diario Montañés

Gerardo Castillo Ceballos

School of Education and Psychology

Political corruption is the misuse of public power in the service of an illegitimate benefit staff. It is currently growing exponentially and is even emerging in some democracies, despite the fact that, theoretically, they are two incompatible concepts.

The corrupt are driven by insatiable greed and overconfidence. I agree with Dr. Castillo, professor at the University of Piura, that corruption is like a five-headed monster, and that to end it, all five heads must be cut off at once: political, economic, judicial, cultural and staff.

The prevention of the poison of corruption begins in the family. It is in the family that we learn from childhood to practice ethical values: to be sincere, supportive, generous, responsible, respectful, loyal, etc...

Politicians who lack ethics hide behind laws, laws that sometimes favor impunity. Political resignations should not only be based on non-compliance with laws, but also on lack of ethics.

Ethics is the philosophical discipline that studies good and evil and their relationship with human behavior. Its function is to analyze the precepts of morality and virtue that guide human behavior towards freedom and justice.

In my opinion, one of the causes of political corruption is social tolerance for widespread illegality. The corrupt tend to justify their actions on the grounds that "everyone does it and nothing happens to them", so they consider themselves immune. As corruption increases, it becomes more understandable and acceptable, until it becomes a way of life.

Coercive measures can help to counteract corruption, but they are not enough, because systems are made or applied by people. Systems (e.g. public administration) do not get to the root of the problem, because corrupt behaviors are the consequence of a deformed moral conscience. A Education is needed to internalize ethical values from an early age. Ethics is the best prevention and the best antidote against the poison of corruption. Therefore, an ethical rearmament of all citizens is urgently needed.

Politics may be one of the noblest of tasks, but it is susceptible to becoming the most despicable of trades. The latter happens when ethical values are displaced by selfishness and greed. I agree with the eminent sociologist Amando de Miguel that greed is something more than the desire to accumulate wealth, characteristic of the miser. Greed needs to provoke the envy of others. Once unleashed, greed has no limit. The greedy always compares himself with another who possesses more.

The root of corruption can be in each one of us. For example, we are not born righteous, but we have to struggle every day to acquire and maintain that value. One does not fall into corruption all of a sudden, but through a process. It happens that every immoral action we perform, no matter how small, (for example, not respecting the line to make a purchase) impels us to continue on that path.

Corruption must be fought by properly applying the laws, but, above all, in a preventive and proactive way, through the promotion of ethical values in a staff and corporate manner. Ethics as a set of rules imposed on us from outside is not enough. Ethics is also required as a deep conviction that leads us to act seeking righteousness of conduct in staff and in the community.

Ethics offers arguments that have their roots in the person himself. The problem is that they are obscured by the pressures of totalitarian ideologies or by particular expediencies.

The Education in ethical values begins by creating an ethical conscience from childhood with the testimony of parents. It is necessary to promote a culture with ethical values to counteract what is happening: the culture of immediacy and money in which the end justifies the means.