The antidote to Corruption

I am not surprised there's popular anger against corruption in India. But reasons attributed to this outpouring is misplaced. It isn't as you say people rising against the politician, instead its people reacting to what corruption's done to their everyday lives. Meaning, there probably aren't too many government services in India that you can avail without a bribe. Imagine that. Government servants eat taxpayer money when they take home salaries, and then they proceed to bite the hand that feeds by eliciting money from the taxpayer when they need to get something done.

So there, its people fed up with what government has done to their lives that's gotten them to rise up in protest.

Now is this good news? I am not sure. A trip to church last Sunday morning and the number of misconducts that I witnessed on Bangalore roads, and I know the desire to blatantly violate rules is embedded deep in the Indian psyche. Drivers jumping lights, cutting lanes, honking at vehicles at traffic stops, driving with overloaded vehicles, is all too common on Indian roads. Bet there may have been few of those very same people protesting against politicians. Now how ironical is that?

It has to be a corrupt society that throws up corrupt politicians. It can't be such that people are snow whites, but politicians who emerge from amidst them are black sheep. Meaning, to root out corruption requires that people purge their own ways, collectively and individually and decide that the law guides and regulates their own actions. As much as democracy brings with it freedom, it also imposes responsibilities on citizens to abide by what's lawful.

On that count, India and its people have a long way to go.

In the world of consumption too, rules must matter. These rules must be aimed at ensuring its a level playing field for whoever it is that wants to create value for consumers. The business firm that does it best will then be the one that gets consumers. Businesses that survive and thrive must be ones that play by the law and create superior value. Note, such law isn't aimed at nurturing a license raj, instead will promote entrepreneurship free of nepotism and favoritism. Such law at its zenith will be one that nurtures and maintains free markets.

Now that's a revolution that will make all the difference. In rooting out corruption.


Corruption has been institutionalized and organized with successive governments. There is a unwritten rate chart for every work to be done at government offices. This over regulation is what breeds corruption. No wonder India ranks low in the "Ease of doing business" index which includes permits, licenses et al.

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