STRENGTHENING ETHICAL AND MORAL VALUES IN GOVERNANCE
Prof Joseph K Alexander Chairman , IIPA Kerala Regional Branch
Inaugural speech At he Seminar at The NSS College for Women -
When a group of beings; animals or men happen or decide to live together there arise the need for dos and don’ts so that the elbow of one does not hit at the nose of another. This is a Universal truth applicable even to the planets, stars and galaxies. Every one of them moves in their own orbit as per rules of the Universe or God. In human society this is more necessary. Unlike animals or shoals of fish which move under the natural ethics and morality instinct endowed in them, man has an additional capacity – the freewill. So ethics and morality rules may be violated by men. Imposition of moral rules is a necessity in every human society: more so in healthier wealthy so called civilised societies.
In the formation of a state there is a social contract says the theorists Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. Every individual has to sacrifice a part of his absolute sovereignty to the state so that it emerges powerful to protect them from internal squabbles and external attacks. So the state maintains a police force or army. To maintain peace the state insists on certain rules and regulations. Thus rules- dos and don’ts emerge not only in political but also in religious groups. In Sir Thomas Moore’s Utopia, Plato’s Ideal State, religious groups like Judaism, Buddhism, Jainism, Mahabharata and Ramayana etc there are rules for the maintenance of a peaceful society . God gave Ten Commandments to Moses. Githa specify the real duty or role of man in this life.
In the early stages of the formation of the state every citizen strictly follows the ethical and moral rules of the society like “puthanachi”. Later with more peaceful, secure and leisurely life they tend to neglect them. As in dialectics the peace generates its own antithesis of distrust. Now the important issue discussed all over is how to enforce ethics and morality in governance of modern states..
We had direct democracy in Athens and Sparta of Greek History. Since our population and land area of most of the states are large unlike them, we copied Parliamentary Democracy of Briton. In the early stages parties had difficulty in getting candidates to represent each county / constituency. .They were to be persuaded to stand for election. Now even in Briton suitors are cringing before political leaders for candidature because of fringe benefits and under the table black money income. In India we have multi-party system and now coalitions of them to govern us.
Our Parliamentary constituencies have more than ten lakhs of voters. To reach them within a fortnight after the declaration of the election date, each candidate require huge amounts of money which no one can muster for himself. True, the political party will give some which will not be enough to meet his needs. Business corporations and magnates with vested interest seek the candidates with funds to finance them. If he is elected he has to repay the debt by resorting to corrupt out of the methods. This corruption is the greatest bane in parliamentary system of government. Despite it is far better than monarchy, dictatorship, autocracy and all other forms of governance.
Corruption is the greatest curse in civil society. Corruption exist all over the World in different degrees Tranparency International in their study says that of the 173 countries examined, India is now 75th in the group of less corrupted countries.
India has taken many initiatives to strengthen our ethical and moral frame work; some of them are:
Code of Conduct for Ministers and Civil Servants, accountability to parliament, Right to Information Act, creation of Lokpal, Lokayuktas, Vigilance Commission, National Investigative Agency, right to public service delivery act and so on..Despite they are all ineffective in curbing corruption.
In the wake of the two World Wars and despite the creation of UNO, World Bank and other international bodies, distrust and wars were happening in many parts of the World. So in 1960s the Club of Rome was created and financed by the international community to find a method to establish peace in the Word. After a detailed study of the World situation the club created a formula ZPG= ZEG. This club was later closed and one leader of them Herman Khan joined as leader of another think tank in Hudson Institute in USA. Someone asked him that World Peace is not anywhere near and the resources of the World are being depleted so fast that the future is bleak. Then Khan replied that human ingenuity is such that he can jump over any hurdle that emerges. Like-wise whatever rules and regulations are passed or implemented, man’s ingenuity can jump over to fatten his pocket with corrupted under-the table transactions..Yet creation of as many watch dogs as possible is a necessity to generate awareness of the need for ethics and morality in governance.