Honesty versus Corruption

By: Brooks A. Mick

Recently an armored truck carrying megabucks overturned in Detroit, Michigan, and loads of money spilled onto the highway. Hundreds of people were seen stopping, picking up as much as they could, and driving off. The police later announced a 10% reward for all money returned, no questions asked, a guarantee of non-prosecution for the theft. Can you guess how many people returned the money? NONE! NOBODY! NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON!

That’s the reason we may not get through the current economic downturn. An economy, to function properly, requires honesty and integrity. Where these are in short supply–or as in Detroit, entirely absent–then the economy is doomed no matter how many laws congress passes or how many bailouts the president orchestrates.

In a previous piece I decried the deterioration of honesty that was accelerated by Bill Clinton’s wanton disregard of the truth.

Certainly one cannot blame entirely upon Clinton the current state of integrity in our schools wherein a majority of students think cheating on tests is OK. One cannot blame Clinton entirely for the deerioration of ethics in our corporations. I submit that he accelerated the decline by creating the impression that whatever you did was OK if you could get away with it.

But that attitude spells disaster for a country’s economic and financial systems. We’ve gotten through previous economic downturns precisely because there were still plenty of good men and women doing their jobs to the best of their ability. Plenty who would have picked up the money from the overturned truck and returned it to its rightful owners, even without a reward. But the days of honesty and integrity in the USA may be over, sad to say. I hope not, but the Detroit experience makes the odds of a sufficient reservoir of honorable behavior a long shot.

The Fifth Dimension sang about “The Age of Aquarius.” I am sore afraid we are in “The Age of Corruption.”

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