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Free «How Power Leads to Corruption» Essay Sample

Introduction

Power is a feature that solely belongs to the field of mankind. By and large, it is the capability of an individual to influence human beings to behave in a certain way, or to alter their minds. There are those who will control things and those who will be controlled. The twin concept of power is authority. While power is the ability to influence individuals, authority, on the other hand, is the permission to influence them. However, the two are likely to be out of balance when either influence surpasses authority, or when authority surpasses the capacity to influence.

How it Leads to Corruption

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Throughout the history of humanity, there are influential personalities who, unfortunately, have been in a position of entangling themselves in myriad conflicts of interests. For instance, the President of the US wields incredible power. The position can lead to significant rewards and perks. However, the position of the President fades away the moment he leaves office. On the other hand, the personal interest of an individual in such a powerful position is likely to hearten him to hold on to his old stature during his term in office. As a result, he is likely to use his former influence and take advantage of his past accomplishments.[1]

In the same way, business leaders behave in a similar manner as high public officials. In some cases, they put at risk their positions by misusing power. Consequently, they are likely to choose to take their leave from their companies in nobility or leave their positions in ignominy. By and large, the lust for money has been in existence since the beginning of humanity. This is part of human nature, due to the fact that man often slides to the easy way to get things done.

Keys to Livelihood

In all aspects of life, powerful individuals hold the keys to the livelihood of many people in the world. It is also worth noting that the reality of what such individuals utter bears great significance. In fact, the fate of survival of humanity depends on the actions undertaken by powerful personalities.[2] Research has indicated that powerful people are likely to be corrupt. In most cases, powerful personalities perceive those without power as objects that can be manipulated. Consequently, they treat them poorly, devoid of any respect. It has also been noted that they deceive the less powerful and communicate very poorly with them.

The Mechanism

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The main reason why the power is found to lead people to corruption is because the powerful exalt themselves to the point of overrating themselves. Additionally, they tend to expressively and physically distance themselves from people who are devoid of power. As a result, they perceive those devoid of power as objects that can be controlled, detested, and discounted. Power also ends up corrupting the powerful because it weakens them of a sense of integrity. Power makes people more indulgent when it comes to correcting, restraining and keeping an eye on their conduct.[3]

It is worth noting that the powerful people are usually paying more attention to remuneration than common people. In this regard, they are more likely to engage in dealings that only advance their selfish interests. Power also leads to more dishonesty as well as fraudulent conduct, and more pro-social accumulation of resources for themselves.

In many ways, power acts as a shield against psychosomatic as well as physiological stress that is connected with dishonesty, hoax and theft. This is because of the fact that it is stressful to tell lies.[4] For an individual to tell lies, a number of things have to be suppressed. This includes the fear of consequence. The moment one successfully suppresses these feelings, negative emotions embark. This becomes very stressing because according to human nature, people tend to follow paths that are less challenging and more worthwhile.

Power is Elementary

It is a known fact that power is elemental. This is because it determines access to resources. In this regard, power corrupts by depicting corrupt acts like insincerity that is nerve-racking. Additionally, power cushions the cognitive, emotional, and physiological stress connected to the dishonest act of double-dealing.

Power is Seductive and Addictive

 
 
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One of the ways in which power corrupts an individual is because it is seductive. By and large, power is the means by which an individual is in a position of getting what he wants. It plays a significant role since it is one of the basic things that human beings need. It boosts a sense of identity; therefore, losing it is something akin to an identity crisis. Since it actually plays to satisfy unfathomable needs, it becomes seductive, thus drawing people in the process.[5]

When it comes to the aspect of addiction, an individual wants something just for the sake of it. People take alcohol, not just for the sake of making them happy, but because it becomes profoundly ingrained in them to extent that the thought of living without it makes them scared. The same thing happens with those in power.[6]

In as much as being without power is not fearsome, as such, a powerful person seeks more and more power, even though he may not necessarily require it. Once addicted to power, powerful people just desire more and more of this privilege. It is this addiction that leads to corrupt actions that may not be healthy. Eventually, a power addict loses a sense of social norms and turns inwards, with the desire of only satisfying the craving for power. In this way, it is remarkably easy for an individual to fall into corruption. [7]

The Absurdity of Power

The paradox of power stems from the fact that mankind needs and uses societal dexterity in order to acquire positions of power. However, the moment they acquire power, powerful people fail to remember how to be social to other individuals. The reason why this happens is that powerful people get together with others who desire favors from them.[8] Such people may desire the powerful individual to utilize their powerful positions for meticulous reasons. In many ways, they may perhaps desire to relax in the replicated glory. As a result, the powerful individual experiences isolation.

Another reason why the powerful individual becomes dishonest is the fact that he/she may naturally be that way, though such a person may be skilled at appearing to be honest. Thus, the moment they make it to the top, they eventually fall back to their true self.

Exchange and Compulsion

Another way in which power corrupts individuals is because, in one way or the other, they may have been assisted by others on their way to the positions of power. However, the understanding is that this might have taken place with an expectation of returning the favor at a future date.[9] As a result, they may be called upon to carry out an action that they are not in support of, though they feel indebted to do. In most parts of the world, this is how power corrupts people, with the back-scratching ritual being the order of the day.[10] 

Conclusion

Power, being part and parcel of humanity, is bound to corrupt those who have it. This is because the powerful tend to feel special and separated from the powerless and eventually abuse their power. This happens especially in cases when power “gets into their heads” and cushions them against the fear of the consequences of their actions.

   

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