It is claimed that corruption is a western concept and not applicable in traditional societies where corruption does not have such a negative meaning. Further, it perceived that political traditions and social structure of many countries are founded on beneficial exchange of rewards for services provided and as a result it cannot survive in the absence(Eckstein, 1988). Critical analysis to these claims indicated that corruption in itself is unethical affects all societies regardless of the traditions. Therefore, cultural relativism is an argument that attempts to justify and legalize corruption acts by the corrupt individuals.
Public corruption is descripted as abuse of position or breach of public trust by the local, state or federal employees and accomplices from the private sector. It is important to understand that a government or private sector official whether appointed, elected or hired, may breaches the federal law by agreeing, accepting, soliciting or demanding bribes or anything of value in return for the serve rendered during their official duties(iDebate.com, 2010). The corruption in the public sector is categorized into four: legislative and judicial corruption, which involves the process of influencing judges and legislators to make decision and laws that are bias; regulatory corruption where the government investigators are influenced to produce recommendation that acquits past corporate scandals; contractual corruption which involves persuasion and influencing the process of distributing government contracts; and law enforcement corruption which is described as the process of attempting or influencing the law officers to make bias decisions.
Corrupt behavior include influence peddling, appropriation of public property and assets for private use, cronyism, nepotism, embezzlement, fraud, extortion and bribery. Corrupt activities such as embezzlement and fraud can be perpetrated by the official on their own without involving the second party. However, corruption activities such as influencing peddling, extortion and bribery involves the participation of two parties, the taker and the receiver in the deal. I agree that corruption is a Western concept and is not applicable to the traditional societies because it seen to have no negative effect(Eckstein, 1988). Based on cultural relativism, most traditional societies known to have a “gift culture” understand differently the civil etiquette and responsibilities. This means that political traditions and social structure of most countries are founded on beneficial exchange of rewards for service rendered and cannot survive in its absences.
In most traditional societies, giving is part of life and is considered as ethical which is associated with a positive association. In fact gift-giving culture is a considered as gratitude, good gesture and sign of appreciation. Most traditional countries considers gift-giving as social practice between business personnel, social bodies, political authorities, families and friends. For example, in China people give gifts for the services they receive and business favors because it is considered as good etiquette(iDebate.com, 2010). This practice is seen as an expression of gratitude and not extortion or bribery. In such societies gift-giving is considered as way of thanking individuals who rendered the services. This means a show of respect and honor to the people for the service rendered. Critical analysis on this claims and views showed varied belief existing in western and traditional societies.
Being a citizen of the United States, I do not agree that corruption should be legitimized because it is unethical. Legitimization of corrupt activities means that rich people who have resource to bribe or buy their way will receive more services than the poor people who do not have resources to bribe. It important to note that corruption harms each individual and everyone in the society.
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