Corruption

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Corruption is a form of dishonesty or a criminal offense which is undertaken by a person or an organization which is entrusted with a position of authority, in order to acquire illicit benefits or abuse power for one's personal gain. Corruption may involve many activities which include bribery and embezzlement, and it may also involve practices which are legal in many countries. Political corruption occurs when an office-holder or other governmental employee acts in an official capacity for personal gain. Corruption is most common in kleptocracies, oligarchies, narco-states, and mafia states.


Arranged alphabetically by author or source:
A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z · Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations · See also · External links

A[edit]

  • The more corrupt a society, the more numerous its laws.
    • Edward Abbey, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness (Vox Clamantis in Deserto) (1990).
  • Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.

B[edit]

  • He that accuses all mankind of corruption ought to remember that he is sure to convict only one.
    • Edmund Burke, In letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol, (4 April 1777)
  • Such corruption feeds on its own success when it meets no correction.

C[edit]

  • Corruption exists because there is too much, not too little, market.
  • History shows that, at earlier stages of economic development, corruption is difficult to control. The fact that today no country that is very poor is very clean suggests that a country has to rise above absolute poverty before it can significantly reduce venality in the system.
    • Ha-Joon Chang, in Bad Samaritans (2008), Ch. 8: Zaire vs Indonesia, Should we turn our backs on corrupt and undemocratic countries?, Prosperity and honesty, p. 151
  • Thieves at home must hang; but he that puts
    Into his overgorged and bloated purse
    The wealth of Indian provinces, escapes.
  • When men realize the depths to which they have fallen they will take stock of themselves and begin the journey back to sanity and safety. This will take time, of course, for the fall from Grace into the present corruption and chaos has a long history. For thousands of years, man has made a steady decline from the spiritual base which once ordered his life. He has forgotten his origin and purpose as the Dark Age clouded his memory and waylaid his heart. Lost in the twin glamours of Matter and Time man is only now awakening from his long dream and illusion.
  • More and more, the nations are beginning to recognize, to take seriously and to deal with, an age-old problem, namely corruption. In some parts of the world corruption has been a way of life for centuries. This has benefited the few, of course, at the expense of the many. For untold ages, corrupt leaders and powerful politicians have waxed rich on the taxes imposed on their subjects and citizens. In modern times, the large corporations of the West have been found guilty of ‘cooking the books’ on a massive scale, while in the East it is taken for granted that every transaction needs the ‘greasing’ of someone’s palm.
    Corruption is endemic, and runs through some societies from the president or prime minister to the police and sport. Electoral corruption is rampant, as recent elections have demonstrated, even in countries supposedly dedicated to freedom and democracy. Such corrupt governments fail and betray their peoples and so surrender their right to govern.
    In the midst of such corruption is it possible to engender trust without which the future for men would be bleak indeed? ... Without blessed and beneficent trust, men would forfeit their right of Stewardship of Planet Earth, and would seal themselves off for aeons from further evolution. Thus would it be, and thus should men tackle seriously, and without delay, the corrosive impact of corruption on every strata of society, and every nook and cranny of our planetary life.

D[edit]

  • The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
    • David, Psalms 14:2-3 (King James Version)
  • While Washington consistently wields as weapons political abstractions such as transparency, corruption, and freedom, it is unwilling to apply to itself those same cornerstones of America’s collective self-conception. Hypocrisy is perhaps not strong enough a word.

E[edit]

  • Der Umgang mit einem Egoisten ist darum so verderblich, weil die Notwehr uns allmählich zwingt, in seine Fehler zu verfallen.
    • Dealing with egotists is so corrupting because we gradually fall into their mistakes out of self-defense.
    • Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Aphorisms, D. Scrase and W. Mieder, trans. (Riverside, California: 1994), p. 45

F[edit]

  • Corruption is a tree, whose branches are
    Of an immeasurable length: they spread
    Ev'rywhere; and the dew that drops from thence
    Hath infected some chairs and stools of authority.
    • John Fletcher, The Honest Man's Fortune (1613; published 1647), Act III, scene 3.

G[edit]

  • Corrupted freemen are the worst of slaves.
  • When rogues like these (a sparrow cries)
    To honours and employments rise,
    I court no favor, ask no place,
    For such preferment is disgrace.
    • John Gay, Fables (1727), Part II. Fable 2.

H[edit]

  • When Bobby Kennedy went after organized crime in the early 1960s, one of the things he learned was that the Mafia had a series of rituals new members went through to declare their loyalty and promise they’d never turn away from their new benefactors. Once in, they’d be showered with money and protection, but they could never leave and even faced serious problems if they betrayed the syndicate. Which brings us to the story of Kyrsten Sinema. For a republican democracy to actually work, average citizens with a passion for making their country better must be able to run for public office without needing wealthy or powerful patrons; this is a concept that dates back to Aristotle’s rants on the topic. And Sinema... Apparently... she decided that if you can only barely beat them, you’d damn well better join them. Sinema quickly joined other Democrats who’d followed the Citizens United path to the flashing neon lights of big money, joining the so-called “Problem Solvers” caucus that owes its existence in part to the Wall Street-funded front group “No Labels.” ... Political networks run by rightwing billionaires and the US Chamber of Commerce showered her with support... She’d proved herself as a “made woman,” just like the old mafiosi documented by RFK in the 1960s, willing to do whatever it takes, compromise whatever principles she espoused...
  • And this is a genuine crisis for America because if President Biden is frustrated in his attempt to pass his Build Back Better legislation (that is overwhelmingly supported by Americans across the political spectrum) — all because business groups, giant corporations and rightwing billionaires are asserting ownership over their two “made” senators — there’s a very good chance that today’s cynicism and political violence is just a preview of the rest of the decade. But this isn’t as much a story about Sinema as it is about today’s larger political dysfunction for which she’s become, along with Joe Manchin, a poster child. Increasingly, because of the Supreme Court’s betrayal of American values, it’s become impossible for people like the younger Sinema to rise from social worker to the United States Senate without big money behind them.... While the naked corruption of Sinema and Joe Manchin is a source of outrage for Democrats across America, what’s far more important is that it reveals how deep the rot of money in American politics has gone, thanks entirely to a corrupted Supreme Court. In Justice Stevens’ dissent in Citizens United, he pointed out that corporations in their modern form didn’t even exist when the Constitution was written...

I[edit]

  • אֵיכָה֙ הָיְתָ֣ה לְזֹונָ֔ה קִרְיָ֖ה נֶאֱמָנָ֑ה מְלֵאֲתִ֣י מִשְׁפָּ֗ט צֶ֛דֶק יָלִ֥ין בָּ֖הּ וְעַתָּ֥ה מְרַצְּחִֽים׃
    כַּסְפֵּ֖ךְ הָיָ֣ה לְסִיגִ֑ים סָבְאֵ֖ךְ מָה֥וּל בַּמָּֽיִם׃
    שָׂרַ֣יִךְ סֹורְרִ֗ים וְחַבְרֵי֙ גַּנָּבִ֔ים כֻּלֹּו֙ אֹהֵ֣ב שֹׁ֔חַד וְרֹדֵ֖ף שַׁלְמֹנִ֑ים יָתֹום֙ לֹ֣א יִשְׁפֹּ֔טוּ וְרִ֥יב אַלְמָנָ֖ה לֹֽא־יָבֹ֥וא אֲלֵיהֶֽם׃ פ
    • Isaiah 1:23, Leningrad Codex.
    • How the faithful city
      has become a whore! ...
      Everyone loves a bribe
      and runs after gifts.
      They do not defend the orphan,
      and the widow’s cause does not come before them.
    • Oh! Can you believe it? The chaste city
      has become a whore!
      She was once all justice,
      everyone living as good neighbors,
      And now they’re all
      at one another’s throats.
      Your coins are all counterfeits.
      Your wine is watered down.
      Your leaders are turncoats
      who keep company with crooks.
      They sell themselves to the highest bidder
      and grab anything not nailed down.
      They never stand up for the homeless,
      never stick up for the defenseless.

K[edit]

  • As the world changes the forms of corruption also gradually become more cunning, more difficult to point out—but they certainly do not become better.
  • In the developing world, corruption is public enemy number one.
    Every dollar that a corrupt official or a corrupt business person puts in their pocket is a dollar stolen from a pregnant woman who needs health care; or from a girl or a boy who deserves an education; or from communities that need water, roads, and schools. Every dollar is critical if we are to reach our goals to end extreme poverty by 2030 and to boost shared prosperity.

P[edit]

  • False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.
  • Then there is a very small remnant, Adeimantus, I said, of worthy disciples of philosophy. ... Those who belong to this small class have tasted how sweet and blessed a possession philosophy is, and have also seen and been satisfied of the madness of the multitude, and known that there is no one who ever acts honestly in the administration of States, nor any helper who will save any one who maintains the cause of the just. Such a savior would be like a man who has fallen among wild beasts—unable to join in the wickedness of his fellows, neither would he be able alone to resist all their fierce natures, and therefore he would be of no use to the State or to his friends, and would have to throw away his life before he had done any good to himself or others. And he reflects upon all this, and holds his peace, and does his own business. He is like one who retires under the shelter of a wall in the storm of dust and sleet which the driving wind hurries along; and when he sees the rest of mankind full of wickedness, he is content if only he can live his own life and be pure from evil or unrighteousness, and depart in peace and good will, with bright hopes.
  • None of the governments, as they now exist, is worthy of the philosophic nature, and hence we see that nature warped and corrupted; just as a foreign seed, when sown in an alien soil, generally loses its native quality, and tends to be subdued and pass into the plant of the country, even so this philosophic nature, so far from preserving its distinctive power, now suffers a decline and takes on a different character.
  • At length corruption, like a general flood
    (So long by watchful ministers withstood),
    Shall deluge all; and avarice, creeping on,
    Spread like a low-born mist, and blot the sun.

R[edit]

r 14, 2021

S[edit]


  • All general business corporation statues appear to date from well after 1800.. The Framers thus took it as a given that corporations could be comprehensively regulated in the service of the public welfare. Unlike our colleagues, they had little trouble distinguishing corporations from human beings, and when they constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment, it was the free speech of individual Americans they had in mind.
    The fact that corporations are different from human beings might seem to need no elaboration, except that the majority opinion almost completely elides it…. Unlike natural persons, corporations have ‘limited liability’ for their owners and managers, ‘perpetual life,’ separation of ownership and control, ‘and favorable treatment of the accumulation of assets….’ Unlike voters in U.S. elections, corporations may be foreign controlled.
    ...It might be added that corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of ‘We the People’ by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.
  • (TH: In Justice Stevens’ dissent in Citizens United, he pointed out that corporations in their modern form didn’t even exist when the Constitution was written in 1787 and got its first ten amendments in 1791, including the First which protects free speech)
  • In addition to this immediate drowning out of noncorporate voices, there may be deleterious effects that follow soon thereafter. Corporate ‘domination’ of electioneering can generate the impression that corporations dominate our democracy. When citizens turn on their televisions and radios before an election and hear only corporate electioneering, they may lose faith in their capacity, as citizens, to influence public policy. A Government captured by corporate interests, they may come to believe, will be neither responsive to their needs nor willing to give their views a fair hearing. The predictable result is cynicism and disenchantment: an increased perception that large spenders ‘call the tune’ and a reduced ‘willingness of voters to take part in democratic governance.’ To the extent that corporations are allowed to exert undue influence in electoral races, the speech of the eventual winners of those races may also be chilled.
    Politicians who fear that a certain corporation can make or break their reelection chances may be cowed into silence about that corporation.
    On a variety of levels, unregulated corporate electioneering might diminish the ability of citizens to ‘hold officials accountable to the people,’ and disserve the goal of a public debate that is ‘uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.’

T[edit]

  • Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges.
    • Translation: The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the government.
    • Variant: The more corrupt the state, the more laws.
    • Original Quote: And now bills were passed, not only for national objects but for individual cases, and laws were most numerous when the commonwealth was most corrupt.
    • Tacitus, Book III,27. Annals (117)

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 140.
  • Spiritalis enim virtus sacramenti ita est ut lux: etsi per immundos transeat, non inquinatur.
    • The spiritual virtue of a sacrament is like light: although it passes among the impure, it is not polluted.
    • Augustine of Hippo, Works, Volume III. In Johannis Evang. Cap. I. Tr. V. Section XV.
  • 'Tis the most certain sign, the world's accurst
    That the best things corrupted, are the worst;
    'Twas the corrupted Light of knowledge, hurl'd
    Sin, Death, and Ignorance o'er all the world;
    That Sun like this (from which our sight we have)
    Gaz'd on too long, resumes the light he gave.
  • I know, when they prove bad, they are a sort of the vilest creatures: yet still the same reason gives it: for, Optima corrupta pessima: the best things corrupted become the worst.
    • Owen Feltham, Resolves, XXX. Of Woman, p. 70. Pickering's Reprint of Fourth Ed. (1631).
  • So true is that old saying, Corruptio optimi pessima.
    • Samuel Purchas, Pilgrimage, To the Reader; of religion. Saying may be traced to Thomas Aquinas, Prim. Soc., Art. I. 5. Aristotle, Eth. Nic., VIII. 10. 12. Eusebius, Demon. Evang. I, IV, Chapter XII, St. Gregory, Moralia on Job.
  • The men with the muck-rake are often indispensable to the well-being of society, but only if they know when to stop raking the muck.
    • Theodore Roosevelt, address at the Corner-stone laying of the Office Building of House of Representatives (April 14, 1906).

See also[edit]

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