Corruption is the misuse of power for private gains or for the benefit of groups of decision-takers as the 1% or the top of the public of private sector. Power and money are interconnected. Corruption is one of the ways to get money and perks by using power. Corruption is in contradiction to the public interest and increases the gap between powerful rulers and powerless ruled.
Small and big corruption accounts for a huge stream of money to the top of the power and money pyramid. In The Netherlands the yearly cost of corruption is at least ten billion euro. For all OECD-countries it is much more than a trillion euro. More money is involved in corruption that in laundering drug money though also in this branch the 1% is present. Hardly anyone at the top is prosecuted. Only small corruption by the 99% is punished. Any crisis could be solved by stopping corruption. And the yearly dying of ten million kids before they are five years old stops when some of this money is used better. But ten million dead kids are less important than the greed of the 1%.
Though corruption is illegal hardly anyone is prosecuted. There is almost no control of this money stream and independent controllers as financial auditors often play a dubious role. The top of society protects each other because all are involved in corruption. The behaviour of the 99% is controlled by strict laws, the 1% and their lackeys can spend private and public money on ways they determine.
In developing countries common citizens are often forced to pay lower officials who have to pay their bosses, who have to pay their bosses etc. These small bribes are a nuisance but hardly prosecuted because part of this corruption money arrives at the top. This stream of money is not monitored by independent people. Small corruption is in developed countries less frequent but some lower officials are still inclined to use their power to get more money. Control of lower officials restricts this behaviour while the top of society is hardly controlled.
Independent control can combat corruption but then controllers must be really independent and have the power to intervene. Now most controllers belong to the same group as the people who are corrupt. Judges do not like to sentence their peers, auditors to correct people they meet on parties. Corruption is caused by an inequality in power. When the power distribution is not changed corruption continues to exist. Therefore we need Autonomous Clubs of common citizens that control and eventually punish faulty corrupt leaders.
In rich countries small bribes are less frequent but the life of the 99% is deeply influenced by corruption at the top of society that causes higher taxes and higher prices There are many forms of corruption, the trade of power and influence in which often money is involved. Bribery is a direct form of corruption but uncontrolled misuse of power is wide-spread. The mentality that decision-makers have the “right” on much more and have the power to influence decisions by using money is the cause of much of the misery in the world. First the demands of the powerful have to be fulfilled and then the needs of the powerless. People do not have the same status and the 99% are inferior to the extravagant demands of the Happy Few for more, more and still more.
Declarations for private necessities by politicians and higher servants in the private and public sector or incomes, golden hand-shakes and lavish pensions for top-managers are all misuse of power. There is no relation between the time and energy needed for the job and the money and other benefits they get for their work. Direct corruption is also wide-spread. To get new orders many forms of corruption are often involved and nobody controls and nobody is prosecuted. It cost the 99% yearly hundreds of billions, money that is transferred from the pockets of the 99% to the top who has so much power that they unpunished can misuse their power for their own benefit. There is hardly control and when someone is sentenced for corruption the 99% are not compensated for damages while the people who did not control remain on their posts.
It is corruption when higher placed people have bigger offices, bigger desks, more expensive furnishing of the office, higher travel allowances, free use of the expensive sex industry or five star hotels etc. when that is not needed for their job but paid for by the organisation. Overhead costs are often very high, even in charity organisations but never connected to the idea that this is corruption. It is corruption when bank directors give themselves high bonuses when they are already paid lavishly for their work. Why should the top travel first class and lower servants second class? Why should food for lower servants cost less than that for the top? Not because they produce more but because they think they are higher and better than common citizens and deserve better and more expensive food. They misuse their power to get more.
Corruption is an integrated part of our economic system, an institutionalised vice, a permitted crime. Crimes as money laundering or Ponzi schemes, often committed via legal institutions as stock exchanges and banks, are narrowly connected with corruption and the misuse of power for the own benefit. To ask too high prices that is common in the pharmaceutical industry and elsewhere is tolerated. One third of the price of each ipad is profit for the owners. Well-paid lobbyists use a lot of private money to influence decision-makers. Misuse of private and public money leads to a decay in the decision-making process in which decision-makers consent to deviate from criterions which should rule their decision-making in exchange for a reward or for a promise or an expectation of a reward. These motives influence the decision-making process and should not be part of the decision.
A more concealed form of corruption (misuse of power) is the Gatesian corruption. It is not humane when someone amasses billions in a few years. It is not humane to get 50% or more profit in a few minutes, days or months. Asking too high prices for products is misuse of power but permitted by other corrupt people at the top. Microsoft is known for breaking monopoly laws but people who order this law-breaking, including Bill Gates, have never been prosecuted. A criminal is prosecuted when he steals by order of the top of Crime.Incorporated. A greedy CEO of Production.Incorporated is not prosecuted when he orders the theft of billions from common citizens by asking too high prices.
Corruption is necessary to secure the big stream of money from low to high. There is no control, only Autonomous Clubs of common citizens, the Fourth People’s Power, can stop this corruption. Corruption is now more or less legalised and even accepted by the 99% who have to pay for it. 150 years ago Frederic Bastiat said already: “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it”.
When money continues to dominate decisions corruption cannot be wiped out. In combating corruption the idea should stand central that the top does not have the right on more earthly goods because it contradicts the same status paradigm. The ultimate target in actions against corruption is the extravagant private life of top people who misuse their power for the own benefit.
Corruption is an integrated part of the present society in which money and not people is the leading factor in all decisions. In the end everything turns around one reason, to have more money than other people. How you get that money is not important, the friendly ties between the 1% and the top of organised crime support this idea.
The 99% do not like corruption and corruption should become a focus point in actions. The stream of money to the top is one of the causes of much of the misery for the 99%. Corruption is a clear goal instead of jumping from one subject to another and sometimes alienating part of the 99% because they do not agree with the action goal.
Corruption is done by powerful people so when you want to stop corruption you have to attack these corrupt people.
Joost van Steenis