You think corruption has nothing to do with you? Think again!
In the UK - a 'civilised' and 'developed' nation - most of us think corruption happens somewhere else. It doesn’t affect us. That sort of greedy dealing only happens in ‘corrupt’ societies, doesn’t it?
Of course, few if any of us will be making secret deals with corrupt government officials to secure business contracts, or will have been involved in illegal price fixing, or will have deliberately evaded paying our taxes. But if we think that corruption is only something that happens in ‘developing countries’ by people who are somehow less moral than us, and not here in our more sophisticated culture, then we need to just look around and examine at our own behaviour.
If you give a backhander to that bouncer to jump the queue, you’ve effectively given him, or her, a bribe to gain an advantage for yourself over all the other would-be revellers who are still out in the cold on the doorstep. If, to make ends meet for your struggling business, you’ve offered a ‘gift’ to a contractor to get a better deal than your competitors, then you’ve been involved in a form of corruption. You may think it’s just ‘good business’ but it’s actually a form of bribery.
WHAT IS 'CORRUPTION'?
It takes many forms – deliberate tax evasion, that blatant bribery, secret business deals, abuse of power by people in government, business and even the church –and where there is corruption, it is the poorest of the poor who are worst affected. Corruption is one of the main causes of poverty in the world today!
This week the EXPOSED campaign is 'Shining a Light' on Corruption but over the past year I've been privileged to work with the very small, inspiring and dedicated EXPOSED team who work tirelessly to make a difference on behalf of the world's poor.
Since EXPOSED was launched last year, thousands of people have become involved and the message has now reached 150 countries. Across the world EXPOSED hopes to reach 100 million people – Christian people, people of other faith and of no faith - to encourage them to speak out against corruption in all areas of public life. People are being encouraged to set up ‘bribe boxes’ in their churches to declare bribery in their communities, to write to church leaders, business leaders and politicians to take action to resist and fight corruption in their nations, and to promote increased integrity and ethics in business. The stories emerging are just amazing!
EXPOSED is challenging governments to tighten up on financial regulations to ensure that taxes are paid in the nations where the profits are earned and to introduce policies which create fairer societies. When taxes are not declared, then it those already living in poverty who suffer most - lost income can't be spent on services which benefit the society, ensure good healthcare and education.
SHINING A LIGHT ON CORRUPTION
It all kicked off here in the UK on Monday night at St Paul's Cathedral in London and I was privileged to be present. There was music and prayers and inspiring words as we were among the first across the world to 'Shine a Light on Corruption'. Since then, people have been holding similar vigils worldwide. And hopefully government, business and church leaders, as well as the media and the general population will have started to become more aware of the scourge that is corruption and the terrible effects on the poorest of the poor and the duty we all have to get involved to see it end!
I'M 'ONE IN A MILLION'
This week there is also a major push on collecting signatures for the EXPOSED Global Call to End Corruption. EXPOSED is aiming for 1million signatures on this petition which presses for more open tax regimes and greater transparency in payments to combat bribery and tax avoidance. This Global Call will be presented to world leaders at the G20 Summit to be held in Brisbane Australia in November 2014.
The EXPOSED campaign and our action at every level is vital important if we are to start to see some real justice in our world, fairer division of the world's resources, and the end of greed and corruption.
You might not think Corruption has got anything to do with you. But I encourage you to think outside your own circumstances, and to stand with the poor, and with the EXPOSED campaign!