THE BIBLE VERSUS CORRUPTION

"They are corrupt, their deeds are vile, there is no-one who does good." (Psalm 14:1)

"Throughout the fabric of public life in newly independent states runs the scarlet thread of bribery and corruption." (Wraith & Simpkins 1968)


Anonymous

(Investigator 173, 2017 March)


INTRODUCTION

The Bible condemns bribery, graft and extortion. A "World War On Bribery" began in 1977 when the USA criminalized bribing public servants abroad. Germany joined the "war" by an attack on bribery in Frankfurt. Other countries followed.


CORRUPTION

In the legal and moral sense corruption refers to:
1.    Bribery: Abuse of public office by accepting payment to discriminate in favour of the payer or to otherwise break the law;
2.    Graft: Obtaining profit or advantage by dishonest means;
3.    Extortion: Obtaining money by threatening to inflict harm or damage.

In the Bible the word “corruption” embraces the above but includes other immoral and criminal behaviour.

Payne (1975) observes that: "Corrupt men are always liars. Lies are their instruments, their pleasure, their solace. In time they come to believe their lies or rather to half-believe them."


TIME MAGAZINE

James Walsh (1998) for Time magazine reported "A World War On Bribery". Dictator Mobutu Sese Seko had plundered Zaire's treasury of $1000 million during 32 years and "bankrupted his country". In Italy prosecutions against top politicians convicted 460 including a former two-time Prime Minister. In China 500,000 government or party officials were reportedly, "punished for involvement in kickbacks and favouritism…"  

In 1977 the U.S. enacted the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Walsh (1998) writes:

The costs of corruption have reached earth-shaking proportions, prompting Herculean international efforts to clear out the muck…

In Chile last April at the Summit of the Americas, President Bill Clinton and other heads of government up and down the New World reaffirmed a commitment to ending corruption. More crucially, the world's 29 richest countries and five others are in a process of passing laws to crack down on the bribery of foreign officials…

In effect, the signatories promise to do what the U.S. alone has done since 1977: criminalize commercial payoffs by their nationals to public servants abroad…


GERMANY

In 1991 Die Welt (Bonn) reported:

Bribery and corruption were rampant for decades at the municipal roadbuilding department in Frankfurt am Main, one of the largest in Germany. Unscrupulous officials had no qualms about demanding bribes…

The municipal administration and the public prosecutor's office have worked hand in glove to prosecute 428 public officials…

Frankfurt may have put its house in order, but what about other sectors of the public service? …

Hesse's new director of public prosecutions, Christoph Schaefer, 55 … has set out to eliminate corruption in the public service and says that corruption, which has now even reached the police and the courts, is the subsoil "in which the monstrosity of organised crime flourishes." …

In the Frankfurt area alone nearly 1,000 people, public service and company officials, are or have been under investigation in connection with bribery and corruption allegations.

But corruption is not limited to Frankfurt. It occurs all over Germany...


DEMOCRACY AGAINST CORRUPTION

Church (1996) reported that Columbia, India, France, South Korea, Japan, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Ecuador and Kenya, among other countries, "have been shaken by corruption scandals reaching into the top levels of government." In Italy a probe of politicians and businessmen led to 1000 people being jailed; in India 25 top politicians were forced to resign.

The exposure of corruption was: "powered by … the spread of democracy to scores of once authoritarian countries, with its concomitants: an independent-minded judiciary, a free and nosy press, and unrigged elections in which opposition parties have found charges of kickbacks and bribery powerful vote getters." (ibid)


COST OF CORRUPTION

Wide-scale corruption reduces national productivity, thereby increases poverty and misery. Church (1996) writes: "Also, corruption-ridden countries are lousy competitors in the global economy; bribes and kickbacks kite their costs of doing business too high."

Walsh (1998) cited the lead economist of the World Bank: "Now we have a plethora of literature showing that corruption has a negative impact on all those indicators we care about in development—economic growth, domestic and foreign investment, poverty."

The Weekend Australian in 2011 reported:

Corrupt Chinese officials siphoned off more than $114 billion out of the country in less than two decades…

Between 16,000 and 18,000 government officials and executives of state-owned firms have fled China or simply vanished… (June 18-19, p. 19)

With their tremendous oil reserves Venezuelans should be prosperous, happy, and secure. Instead Gallup has ranked Venezuela "the most insecure nation in the world", and Transparency International its judicial system as the world's most corrupt.

The murder rate is among the world's highest; very few crimes result in prosecution; looting of trucks and shops is common; sex trafficking is rife; officials and police commonly cooperate with drug-traffickers and other criminals; kidnappings for ransom number about 16,000 yearly; people put enormous time and effort into self protection; and foreign travelers stay away.

In Sicily the Mafia is in decline. But in 2008 80% of businesses still paid protection money: "The Mafia's annual rake-off was calculated at almost €1billion, equivalent to 1.3% of Sicily's gross domestic product." (Jacobson 2011)

In Solomon Islands a gold-mining company failed to reopen its goldmine because: "police corruption, political collusion, and the fact that unless you pay bribes nothing gets done, rendered the mine too lawless to operate."  (Higgins 2014) With corruption so rampant: "kids can't get an education, hospitals are a disgrace, roads are full of holes, public safety is an issue…"

Regarding Papua New Guinea, Callick (2010) writes: "an extraordinary proportion of public funds have been purloined by members of the elite, while 40 per cent of Papua New Guineans live on less than $US1 … a day."  The consequences included declining government services, outbreaks of disease, hospitals unable to buy equipment and life-expectancy in decline.


CHINA

China has joined the war on corruption — President Xi launched a crackdown in 2013:

The Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection reported yesterday that 182,000 officials nationwide were investigated by police for corruption in the past year…
Mr Xi said his government … would take a "zero tolerance" approach towards government officials involved in graft and taking bribes… (Murdoch 2014)


CORRUPTION ONGOING

Corruption is common for the same reason that crime in general is common, because people don't know right from wrong and easy money is tempting.

In the case of bribery, clever men often find ways to disguise it. A bank, for example, gave jobs to relatives of government officials in Asia to win business. Viswanatha (2016) reports: "JPMorgan agreed to pay $US264m and admitted it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act — which bars US firms from paying bribes to officials of foreign government to win business…"


THE BIBLE AGAINST CORRUPTION

The Bible commends anyone who: "walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes…" (Isaiah 33:15)

Bribery, graft and extortion along with attendant conduct such as deceit, lies and violence are all condemned in the Bible. Regarding bribery see Exodus 23:8; Deuteronomy 10:17; I Samuel 8:1-3; Psalm 26:9-11; Proverbs 17:23; Isaiah 1:23; 5:22-23; Amos 5:12; Micah 3:11; Titus 1:7.


CONCLUSION

Bribery and corruption, in government, business and courts as well as by common people, has been standard practice for thousands of years to the economic detriment and impoverishment of all nations. This demonstrates the truth of the biblical teaching that everyone is deceived, and no-one, not even the most intelligent, knows right from wrong and does only what is right.

The modern "world war" on corruption benefits the world economically. But the Bible, the "Word of God", got there first and taught life-improving ethics thousands of years ago!


REFERENCES:

Callick, R. Grand larceny robs PNG of millions, The Weekend Australian, June 12-13, 2010, Inquirer p. 4

Church, G.J. War Against Sleaze, Time, May 6, 1996, 50-56

Higgins, E. Aussies fail to eradicate graft… The Weekend Australian, November 15-16, 2014, p. 13

Jacobson, P. Sicily Fights Back, Reader's Digest, October 2011, 103-108

Murdoch, S. Xi vows no mercy in China graft fight, The Weekend Australian, January 16, 2014, p.7

Payne, R. 1975 The Corrupt Society, Praeger, p. 249

Scherer, P. (translator) Stop bribery and corruption says public prosecutor, The German Tribune, 6 October 1991 - No. 1487, p. 8. Translated from Die Welt, Bonn, 23 September, 1991

Viswanatha, A. Bank's 'corrupt' $47m scheme, The Weekend Australian, November 19-20, 2016, p. 30

Walsh, J. A World War On Bribery, Time, July 13, 1998, 37-43

Wraith, R. and Simpkins, E. Corruption in Developing Countries, In: Kebschull, H.G. (editor) 1968 Politics in Transitional Societies, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 246-254

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_Venezuela.htm





ROLLS ROYCE

Anonymous

(Investigator 174, 2017 May)


A noteworthy case illustrating my article “The Bible Versus Corruption” (#173) is the British engineering giant, Rolls-Royce Holdings plc.

A Google search on "Rolls Royce Bribery Settlement" brings up a long list of reports. Top of the list when I searched was:  

Rolls-Royce will pay over $800 million to settle bribery charges
money.cnn.com/2017/01/17/news/.../rolls-royce-bribery-corruption -settlement/
Jan 17, 2017 - Tangled up in corruption investigations on three different continents, Rolls-Royce will shell out more than $800 million to deal with the legal fallout. The British engineering giant says it has reached settlements with authorities in the U.K., the U.S. and Brazil over bribery ...

People in management with the power to allocate money to pay bribes, would be among the most intelligent on Earth.

And if the brightest people are misguided and fail to distinguish right from wrong, what about the majority of lower education?

This is actually a theme of the Bible — that everyone thinks himself blameless but is deceived and often does not know right from wrong.

A history of Rolls-Royce Holdings is at:
https://en-wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolls-Royce_Holdings

Anonymous





CORRUPTION COMMON

(Investigator 175, 2017, July)


"Corruption" in politics and ethics refers to bribery, graft and extortion.  In #173 I showed that authorities throughout history favored corruption and that the practice contributed to keeping all nations in poverty, whereas the Bible all along opposed it.  In 1977 US lawmakers commenced a "world war" on corruption.

The extent of the problem, even after 40 years into the "world war", is indicated in The Weekend Australian which reported: "Brazilian meat giant JBS is facing a backlash from its business partners after admitting to bribing nearly 2000 politicians in exchange for subsidized financing..." (June 10-11, 2017, p. 34) The report says that "JBS's holding company, J&F Investimentos" has agreed to pay Brazilian prosecutors $US3.14 billion in penalties.

If the world’s smartest people — which would include politicians and heads of companies — don't know right from wrong, what about the common people who also, in many ways, reject biblical guidance? This is actually a biblical doctrine — that everyone feels himself to be blameless and good but is deceived.

Anonymous




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