(Sample Material) Gist of Important Articles from IIPA
Topic: Need for Ethical Empowerment as Social and
Political Reform A Ranga Reddy
If men behave like angels no government is needed, Thomas
Mann once said that in this modern age man’s destiny leads him back to politics:
political activity is one of the most visible aspects of public life and the
current Westphalian model of the nation—State has dominated human history for
the last few centuries.
Empowerment is a process of giving more power by engaging
both the hearts and minds of people so that they can take the opportunities
available to them for greater responsibility and to create a credible,
trustworthy and a value model. Ethical development certainly brings mental
balance, contentment, standard nature and everlasting society over this earth.
CIVILISATIONS AND UNETHICAL ACTIONS
Most of the civilisations have been destroyed as a result of
internal corruption than the external aggression, and regimes have collapsed on
the erosion of their moral authority by deep-seated and prolonged corruption.
There are number of such instances even in modern times. During the last years
of his tenure as Prime Minister; Lloyd George, in England collected funds by
virtual auction of honours; and the funds which should have gone to the Liberal
Party coffers, bad been diverted to his personal political fund. It is unlikely
that he never turned for his personal expenditure the money he received; but the
stench of the honours scandal had given rise to such strong repugnance that in
spite his great achievements as a war leader, and also in domestic affairs, no
chances were of his becoming Prime Minister again. In the process, the Liberal
Party too suffered grievous damage. The fall of Kuomintang under Chiang Kai shek
provides another instance of the destructive effect of corruption. The defeat
and disintegration of the Government of South, Vietnam, in spite of massive
support from the USA and also their direct, prolonged military involvement,
present yet another example of the fatal consequences of political corruption,
and unbridled acquisition of wealth and privileges by those favoured by the
regime, Nixon’s, case was a more recent instance of the disastrous consequences
of adoption of totally unethical means, including outright lying, in pursuit of
political ends. A powerful President had an ignominious exit under the threat of
impeachment and prosecution and the pressure of a morally outraged public
opinion, and partly as a reaction against Watergate, the Jimmy Presidency that
followed after the next election showed concern for moral and human values.
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ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF ETHICS
Like Socrates, Plato’s emphasis is ethical rather than
scientific; knowledge is not separable from virtue, and the good is also true.
History tells us that advantages gained by sacrificing principles and rules of
ethics at the altar of expediency have always proved to be short lives. In the
long run, they not only undermine the moral fabric of society, but also, let
lose the forces of political charlatanism, rank opportunism and brazen
chicanery. Our founding fathers made the mantra “Satyameva Jayate” part of the
national emblem. This was in consonance with the great traditions and values and
the land which gave to world Mahaveer, Buddha and Gandhi. Let us prove ourselves
as worthy inheritors of those traditions and values by receiving them and making
them a part of the national life.
Individual and Social Choices
Ethical consideration are relevant not only to politicians and public
officials, but also to citizens, we have invoked the concept of citizenship
associated with the tradition of civic republicanism.
Kemeth Arrow, the Nobel Prize winner in Economics proved that
although a series of individual choices may be consistent, social outcomes are
not necessarily consistent. All social choices are determined by individual
desires. Social choices are rational and they have to fulfill the following five
For any set of individual preferences, the social function should reflect a
true social ordering (i.e., it is translatable into some social choice.)
A social ordering responds positively to change in individual values, such
that the more the individuals prefer an alternative, the more likely it will be
the social choice.
Irrelevant alternatives—those not under considerations—should not influence
the social choice among relevant alternatives.
The social welfare function is not to be imposed (e.g., by tradition.)
The social welfare function is not to be dictatorial. The violations of
either condition of four of five would directly contradict the basic premises of
SOCIAL JUSTICE AND DEVELOPMENT
Social Justice is an extension of the principle of ethics in
public life. Extreme concentration of wealth on one side and extreme poverty on
the other are the manifestation of an unethical order of society. Societies, if
they have to march in a smooth and peaceful manner towards progress and
prosperity, must banish such ugly and unethical blots like: hunger, poverty and
Regarding Indian economy, growth has strong direct reducing
effects; the frictions and rigidities can make these processes less effective,
and the Eleventh Plan must therefore be formulated in a manner, which explicitly
address the need to ensure equity an social justice. A three-pronged strategy
for attaining equity and social justice along with higher rates of growth is
proposed for the Tenth Plan period given below:
(i) Agricultural development must be reviewed as the core element of the plan
since growth in the sector is likely to lead to the widest spread of benefits
especially to the rural poor.
(ii) The other sectors like construction, tourism, transport, Small-Scale
Industry (SSI), retailing, Information Technology (IT) and communication-enabled
services are needed to promote.
(iii) There will be a continuing need to supplement the impact of growth with
special programmes aimed at special target groups, which may not benefit
sufficiency from the normal growth process.
SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL SYSTEM AND ETHICS
Every system of government requires that those wielding power
should use it for the public good and not make it an instrument of self-seeking.
All powers is like a trust. Those who derive it from the people are accountable
for showing that it has been exercised for the people. Abuse and misuse of
authority can take many forms. It can result in acquisition of more authority by
those in power, and use of that authority for eliminating political and personal
opponents. Such abuse may trigger authoritarianism and dictatorship. Power can
likewise be abused by making it a source of personal aggrandizement. And if
those at the top turn corrupt, we would soon find that corruption and graft
become ubiquitous and percolate down to all spheres of administration at lower
levels. Although corruption anywhere is reprehensible, developed countries can
somehow afford this vice, despite it how they may, because their economy is
already well-developed. In case of developing countries, corruption arrests and
often retards the process of development and the nations pay a heavy price in
terms of loss of moral values. In a nascent democracy like India, where the role
of a minister has to be that of a pioneer rather than that of pirate, one
dedicated to the public weal and not one obsessed with the desire of personal
gain. The old adage that Caesar’s wife should be above suspicion is equally true
of the ministers in a democratic set-up.
Sir Ivor Jennings observed, the most elementary qualification demand of a
minister is honesty and incorruptibility. Therefore, it is imperative that mean
at the top should personify the highest standards of personal integrity, probity
US Congress ban of research on human cloning have thrown up
ethical issues in the realm of science, ethics and human welfare. In this
connection, ethical guidelines as per the recommendations of a Central Ethical
Committee set up under the Chairmanship of M.N. Venkatachaliah come to into
Further, it is found that in the West, there has been more
work on the language of ethics than on the ethics of language. The best way is
to civilize the politicians, who restore truth an absorb criticism of opposition
parties, finally, ethics will prevail in the society.
The remedy is that without a strong public opinion, it would
be preposterous to depend upon laws and courts alone to ensure compliance with
rules of conduct in public life. Idealism plays as much part in shaping the life
of a nation as do the other material teachers. It is one of the greatest sources
of inner strength of a nation. No progressive nation can allow the springs of
national idealism to dry up.
CHANGING ETHICS IN INDIAN ADMINISTRATION
In the colonial phase, the problems revolved around ego and
hierarchy. There was no appreciation for outspokenness. Yet there was a degree
of commitment on the part of the officers to respond to the exigencies. During
the transitional phase of the colonial administrative ethics, outspokenness,
space for hard work and commitment were gradually replaced by a new set of
ethics. These ethics somewhere came to be influenced by the upper classes. The
new situation invoked nostalgia for the older days. This was result of the
absence of a purpose and direction for administration. As a consequence, the
administrators became more selfish and self-centred. They started using public
office for their private benefit. The rulers were mended and bent for private
gain, but for public purpose they became a stumbling block or a source of
harassment. This was also a result of increasing nexus between the corrupt
politicians, self-seeking administrators and criminals. And those who stood for
values became the target of attack, causing considerable demoralization. Poor
people have to raise their empowerment by electing only ethical politician.
Gandhi’s seven sins as listed below are to be removed, first on Gandhi’s land to
achieve a holistic society.
Politics without Principles; Wealth without Work; Commerce without Morality;
Education without Character, Pleasure without Consciousness; Science without
Humanity; and Worship without Sacrifice