The Nepali Podcast is part language practice for myself and part an introduction to this blog post.
To further elaborate on my thoughts I will explain now in greater detail in English.
I personally believe that the way corruption is institutionalized in Nepal is maybe the biggest obstacle in the way of a economic and social prospering in Nepal. Corruption is based on a very limited understanding of one’s own needs and it fosters mistrust, lack of solidarity and fatalism.
Is corruption human nature?
But first of all I was wondering if the idea of corruption isn’t something that somehow comes quite natural to us humans? Because of course there is also corruption happening in Germany – the country so well known for its correctness and high quality standards. The difference here though is the extent of corruption and how much it is institutionalized. To which degree do Germans feel that their country is run based on corruption and to which degree do Nepalis feel that. And obviously the Nepali person feels that corruption is interwoven with everything much more than the German person.
So what I am trying to say is: There is a difference, but it is obviously a gradual difference. But I want to drive this argument even a little further, by saying: The degree of difference actually results in a systemic difference. Which is difficult to digest if I talk about gradual differences on the other. But bear with me: In this article (or in a later one) – I will probably better explain my thoughts on this.
Is there a way to describe this systemic differenc and how it relates to progress?
My thoughts are still preliminary (that is where I usually prefer them to be anyways), but so far I have concluded that corruption has a huge impact on the trust in the community, but of course even more so in the governing bodies of the community. The true idea of government is “a service to the people”. People pay taxes and fees, which partly finance the government, which in then return does the best for the wellbeing of the population. This is a crucial contract basically – a contract where the government is actually in a serving position and executes its power only for the well-being of everyone. And I am not saying that this system works perfectly here in Germany – there is a lot of mistrust in politicians, but at least we trust the government employees to maybe not be friendly, but do their job as they are supposed to. This trust in the government employees does simply not exist in Nepal. But also do Nepali rarely pay their taxes – which shows: The trust is completely broken from both sides. The government does not trust that the citizens will pay their taxes, and the citizens do not trust that the government would actually use the tax money for the well-being of the citizens.
Of course this is only one aspect in this very complex topic. And maybe I will look at more aspects at another time, since the topic really fascinates me.
The question – though – that arises from this, is:
How do you create trust in such a situation? How do you actually change the system?
Would guilt as a motivator work? Like: How dare you cheat your citizens? How dare you cheat your country?
But I don’t believe that guilt is a good enough motivator for this. It would still be too big of a leap of faith.
Another great motivator of course is fear. If you are caught doing anything like corruption you will be punished severely. But the problem in Nepal is, that even the “punishers” – the police and the legal system are extremely corrupt – so if you cannot trust them, this simply won’t work.
I believe it really needs a shift of mindset – a shift of norms and values. Well and again it needs to be asked? How can this be achieved? What can you actually do to achieve such a positive shift, when the mindset of corruption is so powerful in perpetuating itself?
Well, so much for now. Those thoughts are anything but conclusive. It is more like