Jan 19-25 2014

TaN: Corruption in government comes from both the business sector and the government itself.  It must be remembered that there cannot be a briber if there is no bribee.  In like manner, there will be no corruption in government if there is no reason.

Corruption in government comes mainly from too much bureaucracy and too many unnecessary regulations.  Goverment’s primary duty (or purpose for existence, with respect to the population) is to ensure a level playing field for business and society.  Government should not be competing with the business sector unless it is to prevent monopoly and anti-trust.  It would be unfair if the government is the regulator and it will compete with business.

On the part of government, if it puts up too many regulations that are deemed to be irrelevant to “leveling the playing field” – but as a means to derive revenue wherein the agency involved with revenue generation (like Immigration, Transportation, etc) – then some corruption can be expected.  Business will see it as a means of trying to “have a piece of the proverbial pie” of business which government is not entitled to.

On the other hand, there will always be certain unscrupulous businesses that are so greedy to the point that they would not even part with a portion of their income so government – can not only function but – need in order to serve society and comply with its social contract to bring economic and social justice to everyone, to assist the less fortunate in society and uplift their quality of life.

Corruption in government should never be used as an issue or an excuse not to pay taxes and whatever obligations business has.  The proper way is to pay whatever is required but be vigilant and be pro-active and see to it that the taxes are spent properly by the government.  If we expect good government, we have to get involved.  Vigilance cannot be delegated.

Public opinion (and memory) must be strong.  This is another problem with most of us.  We are outraged by the scandals and the anomalies of government officials and yet we keep on electing them into office.  Some politicans are ingenious and mix the wrongs they do and a sprinkle of good.  This way, (1) there will always be some people who will be on their side and defend them and (2) they can have a basis of argument that they have done something good so they deserve re-election.  [However, the usual cause where poverty is rampant and widespread is that we sell our votes for a meager sum.]

It is important to remember the adage: A public office is a public trust.  People in public office must always remember that they are public servants and not masters – in fact, public officials should serve or hold office on a pro bono basis, that they are there because they love their country.  They are there to serve and not be served.  And the people must hold them to it.  The public must be strict and insist that public officials must be impeccable and must never hesitate to let the officials know and remember that the public will remember when (re-)election time comes.  The public must mean the “threats” they give and they are not for sale at any price.

We have every right to demand transparency and accountability on the premise that we are paying taxes and our dues properly.  Given this latter pre-condition, people who do not pay taxes or their dues properly are not entitled to the right of suffrage.  Of course, this is not to mean that the poor – whose income are so meager that the law mandates that they are tax-exempt – does not enjoy this right of suffrage.  It only means that even if one is so poor that one is tax-exempt, it is still one’s duty to file an ITR (income tax return) – except that the amount due is Zero.  In fact, they may be so poor that it is the goverment’s obligation to “pay” them – in terms of free social and medical services.  Again, this is based on the assumption that these so-called poorest of the poor have been and are continuously and sincerely seeking employment (that they even go to the point of trying to learn new trades, crafts, and skills from the free government and corporate-sponsored training centers and programs) – it is just that no employment is available.

Finally, it is misleading and an over-simplification to say that: Walang mahirap kung wala corrupt (There are no poor if there is no corruption) – but it is a good start.  This phrase falsely guarantees that once corruption is eliminated that the poor will automatically no longer be poor.  But, as I mentioned, it is a good start.

There is no excuse for corruption.  We deserve the government that we get.

TaN: Since (supposedly) only man has free will, only he has the ability to “go against” the “laws” of nature.  Ergo, anything that happens out of the natural can only be blamed on man – nothing and no one else.  In the light of this argument, the spate of “recent” natural calamities and disasters cannot be blamed on anything but man himself.

It is man’s insatiable, irrational, obsessive, and obscene desire to change and control everything around him for his own selfish and greedy interest and agenda that is at the root of all of his woes and misery – not to mention the primary cause of the turmoil and extreme and life-hostile events and phenomenon transpiring globally.  It is likewise a fact that nature defines its own boundaries and does not recognize the impositions of man’s laws and definitions.

It is therefore nonsensical and arrogant of man to insist and to put the blame on anything – other than himself – as the cause of man’s misery and suffering.  And since nature recognizes only its own boundaries, the impact of man’s activities on the environment will naturally follow the dictates of nature and will go and affect wherever and whatever it encounters – like air and water pollution traveling from one city to another, from one state to another, from one region to another, from one continent to another.

It is further therefore that devastation by extreme weather like Typhoon Haiyan cannot and should not be dismissed simply as force majeure but must be placed on the collective burden and blame on man’s activities.  In this manner, it is but obligatory that other nations – especially those who (negatively) impact the environment, like industrialized countries – bear the major brunt of assisting in the rebuilding and restoration of the destruction wrought by the typhoon.  Ergo, assuming that the estimated damage and cost of reconstruction will reach into the hundreds of billions of dollars – according to current UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon – it is a disgrace that the largest economy donated a measly $18M (although there are also contributions in kind, like manpower, and there could be additional donations as of this writing).

But, more than putting blame and picking up the pieces left by nature’s wrath is the immediate cessation of clearly unsustainable human activities brought about by man’s greed and lust for power.  There are numerous examples of small communities in obscure and isolated sites globally where money does not get into the picture and yet the community is not only surviving but even thriving.  These are the perfect paradigms to emulate.  It has also been proven repeatedly that money is a very poor incentive for people to do their best – please watch the video: http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html.

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