I like your question. I think you’d have to set some standards for “what is modernization” and “what is corruption” to answer this more easily. Maybe this isn’t the answer you’re looking for since I do believe modernization and corruption are separable, but I’d like to at least explain why. I view “modernization” as updating ways of life and “corruption” as a violation of ethics or morals by a person or party that has power. Using these definitions, I have to admit modernization has brought several positive things namely women’s rights, workers’ rights, steps toward racial equality – things that don’t fall into the realm of corruption. That’s based on my definitions though of those two key words. I’m interested in how other people view this question.
I believe corruption is born of bureaucracy. When you establish a system of hierarchy and their are material or social awards associated with higher rankings, this is when greed and envy will drive man to act unethically. I think that if we look at society before civilization, or existing outside of civilization, we find groups of people working together because they shared the same risk and the same benefit. Ancient societies such as these were often founded on spirituality, sharing and honor.
That being said modernization and an exploding population has brought need for organization, thus more bureaucracy. The human element often seems lost in this scurry for rational organization. Also there is now money involved in all things, which can feed the beast that is greed. Modernization has brought more opportunities for corruption and a lot more motivation for it. Therefore I think that modernization and corruption have been inseparable to this point, but that doesn’t have to be with further progression. There are some fundamental issues of humanity and civilization that we have to face to try to eliminate corruption; and even then there’s no promises.
This question got me thinking deeply. I think that corruption will always exist, with or without modernization. Like americalibre mentioned, modernization has brought many great things into society, like women’s rights and steps toward racial equality. However, I also think modernization has brought in big business and large corporations that haven’t been all that “ethical” over the years. This can be said for Wall Street as well, especially with the prospect of the “American Dream” disappearing as the rich keep getting richer. Here’s a link explaining the corruption on Wall Street.
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