Does power corrupt or do you need to be corrupt to obtain power?

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Kestrel, Jan 9, 2017.

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  1. See title.

    Interpret at your leisure and answer accordingly or throw nuances at the blanket statement.

  2. Arguably, both.

    If we're talking political power, then some degree of funding is required to gain public office. Said funding usually comes with strings attached in the form of protecting donors' interests above those of the people. See? We're venturing into corruption territory already, and we haven't even gotten elected yet!

    Now, once we actually get into power, then there's all sorts of yummy ways for corruption to take root. Bribing judges, reelection campaign donations, and even directly buying off representatives via wining and dining, etc..
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  3. This question has no meaning if you haven't bothered asking what the definition/interpretation of power or corrupt is first.
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  4. I'm interested in associations people have.
  5. Depends on when and where you're living I feel. Nowadays, most of the time, it's a yes to both statements.

    However in itself, it's a no to both statements.
  6. The idea that one needs to be corrupt in order to gain power is ridiculous. Sure, I suppose being corrupt is helpful, but it's certainly not impossible to find oneself in a position of power without any corruption being involved.

    As for whether or not power corrupts people -- eh, I guess. It depends on a lot of things, really. At the very least, asking "does power always come with corruption" is certainly a more interesting question with a lot more room for debate. But the question in the thread title already starts with the assumption that all people with power are also in some way corrupt -- and that the only question worth asking is just whether the corruption happens because of having power, or just because one needs to be corrupt in order to obtain power. But I just don't think that all people with power are corrupt to begin with.

    So, I guess my answer is -- neither are completely true. Power doesn't corrupt everyone, even though it can corrupt -- and just because corruption is helpful in obtaining power doesn't mean that it's a must-have qualifier.

    And I don't even think that all corruption in power can be explained by just one of these two things anyway. I'm sure it's a combination of both.
  7. Power does corrupt, but it's not inevitable. All power does is increase one's opportunities for corruption and alters the risk to reward ratio of one's available opportunities. Corruption (as in being dishonest or immoral for personal gain) is possible at all levels of power: theft is a form of corruption and everyone from a homeless beggar to the richest person in the world can steal. Simple crimes that require just an able body and determination are opportunities available to everyone, but power can bring connections and wealth that will allow for larger opportunities, and larger opportunities are more tempting. Not many people are going to be tempted by the idea of trying out armed bank robbery and risk the many years in jail for the sake of a few thousand dollars. Lots of people would be tempted by someone offering to pay them a kickback of tens of thousands of dollars if they just go ahead and choose Company A for the big contract they are in charge of instead of giving it to Company B despite their offer being a little better, particularly since the punishments for such things are usually along the lines of a fine that's a little more than what you got paid plus a short stay in a nice white collar prison. Power = more and better opportunities for corruption = more temptation = more people succumbing to temptation.

    You don't need to be corrupt to obtain power, not even of the political variety. It is absolutely possible to obtain power while remaining honest and true to your morals. Being corrupt can certainly help you get power, but it's not a requirement.
  8. To what extent are these methods beneficial to stay in power? To what extent are they necessary? What in the event you're in a leadership position but still dependant of corrupt parties in your network?

    How is being corrupt helpful?

    Does power always come with corruption?

    What about fear of losing power? Is all corruption simply about gain? What about relations and self esteem?

    Is this more difficult? If so, how?

    How is being corrupt helpful?
  9. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    I don't think you need to be corrupt to have power. Power can be anything. A restaurant owner has power over his employees; hiring, firing, scheduling, etc. Doesn't mean he is corrupt. In fact, many people obtain power, and then become corrupt, so I definitely think power corrupts. However, only if that person lets it.

    I find weak willed and selfish people are more likely to succumb. I know I do at first, as I experienced during high school when I became a group leader. I became kind of authoritarian, until I realized what was happening. If you want someone who might not become corrupt in a position of power, look for the person who doesn't want to be in the position of power. If someone desperately wants to lead, red flags should be going off.
  10. "Personal gain" does not necessarily mean the acquisition of new things, it refers to things that are selfishly beneficial to an individual. Retaining power, maintaining or improving relations, or maintaining or improving self esteem by dishonest or immoral means would indeed be forms of corruption.
    Depends on the type of power, but generally I would say yes. It puts a person at a disadvantage versus anyone also seeking that power that is willing to do corrupt things and it closes off easier and perhaps more effective avenues of gaining resources (such as money or endorsements in politics, or the support of peers management if you're competing for a promotion at work) that will help you gain the power in question.
    See above. Easier and possibly more effective acquisition of resources to help one gain power.
  11. If you're willing to play dirty and create an uneven playing field, then you can give yourself a better chance at reaching a position of power than someone who plays fair.

    Personally, I would say no, not necessarily -- but I suggested the question because I can at least see how people would be able to argue the other side of it, and I can see where they would be coming from.

    I don't like the question in the thread title because it seems to start with an underlying assumption that all people in power are corrupt, which I don't agree with in the first place. :P
  12. Neither. Ultimately, that would depend on the person.
  13. In the case of dictatorships, the primary reason why they're so cruel is that being nice is actually against your own interests as a dictator. Resources spent on your people's needs is resources not spent on bribing the people you need to run your nation and also makes it easier for your civilians to overthrow you.

    Essentially, any resources spent on helping people is resources spent on a rebellion against you.

  14. I feel like these videos are useful to this conversation.

    Someone already said it, "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely"
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