The capitalist environment of Chadha and Choudrie, and the modern standards of pluralistic governments for Gupta, are not only compatible with corrupt activities: they require them for the system as a whole to function.
Our discussion certainly missed many situations of importance. For instance, the three cases we mentioned concerned instances of corruption at high politico-economic levels. As we know, corruption is also an everyday mechanism encountering the life of each and every citizen of a country like India. This is what Shiv Visvanathan addressed in a recent lecture. 1 His contribution is not only insightful; it is also particularly rare in the contemporary critical climate. While the hypotheses he submits would duly deserve another commentary, we can briefly present the affinity of his understanding with our own:
“It is not that we cannot fight corruption. It is just that the way we define and battle with corruption perpetuates it as a system. By personalizing and demonizing corruption, we distort it. We need to look corruption in the eye and one cannot do that through the lenses of human rights, rational choice or management theory. In fact, the irony is that corruption perpetually distorts its own logic as a story.” 2
Closing his discussion, Visvanathan announces: “To reform corruption, one must seek to change more than corruption.” 3 This is, clearly, the vision that underlined the present essay. In agreement with Visvanathan, the argument presented here is not one justifying corruption with a line of reasoning similar to the capitalist ideology that legalized lobbies in the west, or to the aforementioned Delhi arms’ agent who simply called for the liberalization of his activity. Instead, what must be found is a way to deeply affect the reality of corruption beyond the mere neutralization of the actual corrupt agents – for the simple reasons that they are way too numerous, and precisely placed at the highest level of the political, judiciary and economic fields. When Visvanathan refers to the ‘lenses of human rights, rational choice or management theory’ as irrelevant means to fight corruption, he implies that, to a large extent, the ‘humanist’ definition of the Enlightenment was a simplistic lure that monopolized the attention of social activists for several centuries, while on the background the logic of profit (in the market) and of productivity (in the state architecture) allowed societies to persist. But this is not a thorough rejection of the humanist project of the Enlightenment. Visible in both Visvanathan’s study and the present essay, is a faithful reliance upon the Enlightenment’s values of equality, justice and personal freedom. The locus of the contention is elsewhere: it concerns the supposed medium of reference for human beings and their societies, the infamous reason professed by Immanuel Kant. Innumerable historical events have successfully proved how irrelevant reason is when it comes to stopping major human-made catastrophes. Behind the singular agent, the social actor, and even behind her immediate societal context, it is the structural logic that we must attack, and, more, the very flexibility of logic to conveniently fit any human decision. Behind corruption, there is always a new logic. Therefore, here lies the true culprit: logocentrism.
Image courtesy: Mosh Lab
|EXPLORE THE SERIES
|The Socio-Capitalist Cocktail
|Bureaucracy and the Race for Information
|The Competition of Pluralities
|Necessities and Structures of Corruption