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.
- 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.
- Tacitus appears to have been as great an enthusiast as Petrarch for the revival of the republic and universal empire. He has exerted the vengeance of history upon the emperors, but has veiled the conspiracies against them, and the incorrigible corruption of the people which probably provoked their most atrocious cruelties. Tyranny can scarcely be practised upon a virtuous and wise people.
- John Adams (31 July 1796)
- The furnace of affliction produces refinement in states as well as individuals. And the new Governments we are assuming in every part will require a purification from our vices, and an augmentation of our virtues, or they will be no blessings. The people will have unbounded power, and the people are extremely addicted to corruption and venality, as well as the great. But I must submit all my hopes and fears to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the faith may be, I firmly believe.
- John Adams "Letter to Abigail Adams" (3 July 1776)
- We have now, it Seems a National Bible Society, to propagate King James's Bible, through all Nations. Would it not be better to apply these pious Subscriptions, to purify Christendom from the Corruptions of Christianity; than to propagate those Corruptions in Europe, Asia, Africa and America! … Conclude not from all this, that I have renounced the Christian religion, or that I agree with Dupuis in all his Sentiments. Far from it. I see in every Page, Something to recommend Christianity in its Purity and Something to discredit its Corruptions … The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount contain my Religion.
- 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)
- I have nothing against the smell of rot but something against what hides the smell of rot in the United States of America.
- Giannina Braschi, "United States of Banana," (2011).
- Such corruption feeds on its own success when it meets no correction.
- Lois McMaster Bujold, The Hallowed Hunt (2005), Chapter 15
- Corruption exists because there is too much, not too little, market.
- Ha-Joon Chang, in Bad Samaritans (2008), Prologue, p. xxv
- 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
- 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)
- The whole idea of using markets to figure out who gets what is predicated on corruption — it’s a way to paper over the fact that some people get a lot, most of us get not much, and so we invent a deus ex machina called market forces that hands out money based on merit. How do we know that the market is giving it to deserving people? Well, look at all the money they have! It’s just circular reasoning.
- Cory Doctorow, The Man Who Sold the Moon in Ed Finn & Kathryn Cramer (eds.) Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future (2014), ISBN 978-0-06-220469-1, p. 150
- 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
- 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.
- Corrupted freemen are the worst of slaves.
- David Garrick, Prologue to the Gamesters.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- In 2004, Transparency International listed the ten worst kleptocratic rulers of recent times. Mobutu came in third, followed by Sani Abacha (Nigeria, 1993-98; stole US$2-5 billion); Slobodan Milošević (Serbia/Yugoslavia, 1989-2000, US$1 billion); Jean-Claude Duvalier (Haiti, 1971-86, US$300-800 million); Alberto Fujimori (Peru, 1990-2000, US$600 million); Pavlo Lazarenko, Ukraine (1996-7, US$114-200 million); Arnoldo Aleman (Nicaragua, 1997-2002, US$100 million); and Joseph Estrada (Philippines, 1998-2001, US$78-80 million). Second was Ferdinand Marcos, Philippine president from 1965 to 1986, who with his wife Imelda — famed for her vast collection of shoes — plundered the Philippine economy through a system of ‘crony capitalism’, amassing a vast fortune while ordinary Filipinos went hungry. Opponents were arrested by the military — over 60,000 from 1972 to 1977 —- and many tortured and murdered, including opposition leader Benigno Aquino. A popular rebellion in 1986 finally forced him from office and he fled with his wife to Hawaii. Transparency International put his stolen wealth at US$5-10 billion, others much higher. Marcos died in 1989 before he could stand trial. The worst kleptocrat was Mohamed Suharto, Indonesian president from 1967 until 1998 but virtual military ruler from 1957. His brutal regime saw 2 million massacred following an attempted Communist coup in 1965, 250,000 killed in his 1975 invasion of East Timor and hundreds of thousands tortured and murdered during his dictatorship.
- Simon Sebag Montefiore, Monsters: History's Most Evil Men and Women (2009), p. 334
- 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.
- Alexander Pope, Moral Essays (1731-35), Epistle III, line 135.
- A corrupted mind can't recognize the beauty of the world.
- If some infringement of traditional liberties and privacy is involved, then I believe it is a price which the community ought to be prepared to pay, if it really wishes to see corruption ousted from our public life. If it is not ready to surrender some of these liberties, then it cannot easily, in the future, complain that the Government is reluctant to tackle the evil with sufficient vigour.
- 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)
- I will not pay bribes
- I will not seek bribes
- I will work with others to campaign against corruption
- I will speak out against corruption and report on abuse
- I will only support candidates for public office who say no to corruption and demonstrate transparency, integrity and accountability
- Transparency International, The Declaration Against Corruption
- We believe that transparency in government activities leads to reduced corruption, better government and stronger democracies. All governments can benefit from increased scrutiny by the world community, as well as their own people. We believe this scrutiny requires information. Historically that information has been costly - in terms of human life and human rights. But with technological advances - the internet, and cryptography - the risks of conveying important information can be lowered.
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.
- '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.
- Sir John Denham, Progress of Learning.
- 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).