“Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. … Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking.”

–George Carlin, American actor

and social critic, 2012.

 

It’s natural to think of elections when we think of political corruption. People or organisations with their own agendas can skew voting. They may secretly give parties big donations. Or parties and candidates can buy votes instead of winning them.

But political corruption isn’t just about election rigging. It can lead politicians in office to steer away from good government. Their decisions can benefit those who fund them. The public interest comes second. Political corruption can divert scarce resources from poor and disadvantaged people. Private rather than public interests dictate policy.

This means an ethical line has been crossed. Governments can’t act freely and democracy can’t function. Our trust in politicians is damaged. We can turn away from involvement with how we’re governed. Then political corruption continues unchecked.