One of Indonesia's leading newspapers, Kompas, ran the above-the-fold headline today that said, "Political Corruption is Systemic."
Wait for it...
NO SHIT SHERLOCK.
Why is it that people are continuously surprised by the obvious? I mean, if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten. It's one of those basic rules in life that we all have to learn.
Corruption is endemic to ANY political system. Any time a group of people is empowered to take the productive work of any other group of people for supposed services rendered, there will be corruption. It is a fact of life that is as old as government itself, especially when that power involves a bureaucracy to maintain the systems of government.
The way it works is this: first a government will create a list of "services" that it performs for the general populace; then it creates a bureaucracy to shuffle the paperwork to obtain those services; then the piles of paperwork grow to the point that obtaining those services takes months, if not years; then the bureaucrats start taking bribes to "expedite" applications; then the politicians all want a cut of the bribes.
It's a very simple process from A to Z, and when the politicians and bureaucrats continue to get away with the corruption, it reinforces the system of corruption and it continues to grow and become more endemic until it either becomes completely stalled and untenable, or the people rise up and throw the bastards out. History tells us that one or the other is inevitable.
One of the key signs of a fascist state is that the legal code becomes so complex and Byzantine that the average citizen is a felon just for waking up in the morning. This creates a system of corruption as the citizens try to maneuver their way through this system without going to jail. Naturally, the citizen is willing to pay whatever it takes to stay "free" and out of the tangled nightmare that is The System. Naturally, the politicians and bureaucrats are willing to take the money to leave people alone.
Until the last couple of years, Indonesians have been very provincial. They could not afford to leave the country, so they had no experience with other governments and other systems. Therefore, they tended to see their own system as being the most corrupt, and others (like the US) as less so.
Indonesians demanded, and received, a governmental body called the KPK (corruption eradication commisiion), whose job it was to investigate and punish corruptors. However, it too became corrupt as the politicians and bureaucrats, swollen with bribe money, were willing to pay the overseers a portion of their take to stay out of the spotlight.
It goes as far back as Ovid, the Roman poet, who asked the famous question, "Quid custodiet ipsos custodies?" Who will watch the watchers? It is a problem as old as civilization itself.
What it comes down to is human nature and what Lord Acton so rightly observed, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
The more centralized and remote power systems become, the more corrupt and uncontrollable they become. It is a fact that cannot be disputed. It is human nature to become more corrupt as the ability to catch and hold a person responsible for their actions becomes less of a threat.
Ultimately, this is the central problem with a global government. Ironically, it is also the reason that it will never come to be.
The problem is this: as we plod ever closer to a central world government, the more corrupt those at the core will become. In the end, they will factionalize and begin infighting the closer ultimate power comes to reality. Finally, the whole thing will collapse as the sharks begin feeding on each other for every shred of power they can secure.
It has already begun. Joseph Farrell, in his book Babylon's Banksters, makes a compelling case for the fact that the erstwhile global governors are already eating each other for ultimate control. Ultimate control means ultimate corruption, and no system that is totally corrupt can stand. It must, of its own corruption, collapse.
Many books have been written on the rise and fall of great empires. Without exception, they are studies in corruption and decay.
Therefore, it stands to reason that the least corrupt governments are the most likely to survive and offer the best possible state for the citizenry. Given the fact that large systems collapse, it is thus only small and controllable governments that work best. For that reason, decentralized regional governments are the most feasible, and governments on the level of communities are the best. It must be kept in mind, though, that any amount of power will corrupt any number of bureaucrats.
We end up with the most logical solution to this mess we humans tend to create: the government of ONE is the best possible form of rule. If the individual becomes corrupt, he cannot infect more than what he can control, and all he can control is that which he owns.
Many people ridicule this idea as 'anarchy', but it is what the libertarians call "enlightened self-government". The individual will do everything possible to protect what is his, thus he will avoid corruption in order to enlist the support of others (friends, family, etc.) in his effort to protect his possessions. The theory is that the less corrupt a person is, the more likely others are to assist him.
In the end, 'anarchy' produces the best form of governance for any group of people. Those who are least corrupt will engender the most support and goodwill from the most number of people, and so will be the most successful.
Vendors who routinely short-change customers will not stay in business for long. In the same way, in an anarchic system, only those who are perceived to be the most honest will receive support of large groups of people.
Anarchy does not require voting, which can be corrupted (a la United States). It does not require licenses, deeds, titles, or any other form of bureaucracy, since those who perceive you to be honest in your public dealings will most likely protect your interests against outside challenges. Anarchy requires individuals to be honest, upright and competent. It is the nature of that system.
The minute I delegate power to someone else, then they -- no matter how honest and trustworthy -- will have the temptation to become corrupt and abuse your power, since it is not theirs and they perceive no loss to themselves in squandering what is yours.
The solution is deceptively simple, and it is the most likely to protect rights and property, but it is also the most difficult thing to convince people of this fact. We have become so used to centralized government and we have become so spoiled by the ability to leach off the productivity of others (welfare, socialized medicine, etc.) that we cannot see any other solution. Yet the logic is inescapable.
Under the system we currently subscribe to, we have only escalating layers of 'watchers', creating ever more vast bureaucracies, engendering ever more corruption and in-fighting for control. It is an untenable system and must collapse of its own weight and corruption.
Two of the most successful governments on Earth are the Icelandic and Swiss systems because they leave the greatest amount of power in the hands of the individuals. However, as we have seen in recent years, even those systems are subject to corruption, though they are the most able to deal with it, since the power is still closest to the individual.
In a system of delegation of power, the individual is most likely to get run over by that system, since the inherent mentality is that the good of the many is more important than the good of the individual. But, the opposite is true.
When the individual feels secure in person and property, he is more likely to work on behalf of the group, since he will have surplus that he is able to deploy in the community to build the perception that he is a good and trustworthy person, thus reinforcing the desire of the community to protect his rights and property.
So-called anarchy -- or enlightened self-interest -- is the only system of governance that can possibly work over the long term, while preserving the rights and property of the individual. It is the only system that is self-righting, automatically correcting corruption and similar problems. There is only one weakness...
Humans have an in-born desire to serve a leader. It is part of our genetic code and is pounded into our brains from birth, though education, religion and other community forces. As long as humans view themselves as servants, both willing to hand over power and accept scraps from a master's table, then we will have the corruption and decay and power-hungry elites that we have suffered under for millennia.
It is only when we, as individuals, take full responsibility for our actions and well-being that we will throw off the yoke of government that is corrupt and ultimately self-defeating.
The only thing wrong with anarchy is that it has never been tried on any scale that could prove the point. As a species, we have been so hell-bent on servitude that we don't even trust ourselves to act in our own best interest. Rather, we must establish organs of State (and make no mistake, religion is an organ of State) to force us to do what we know is best for us in the first place.
If you do not delegate your power, then no one will have power over you.
So simple, yet so hard to achieve.