Original Research

Fighting corruption – a philosophical approach

Schalk W. Vorster
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 47, No 1 | a651 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v47i1.651 | © 2013 Schalk W. Vorster | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 September 2012 | Published: 10 July 2013

About the author(s)

Schalk W. Vorster, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, South Africa


Share this article

Bookmark and Share

Abstract

Corruption has reached astounding proportions in South Africa. The purpose of this article is to contribute to philosophical approaches aimed at combating corruption. In considering punishment for acts of corruption the most common approach is based on the philosophical theory of consequentialism, which allows only consideration of the consequences of corrupt acts. Ideally, cognisance should be taken of the norms in question, especially those norms demanding the judicious execution of obligations. It was, however, found that the Kantian categorical imperative presupposes an ideal rational society. The imperative has to be ‘softened’ by also allowing for enquiry about the corruptor’s personal circumstances, in the light of Christ’s love commandment. This article highlights the most prominent attributes of two important philosophical theories applicable to the study of corruption, namely utilitarianism (a variant of consequentialism) and deontology. It is argued that qualified deontological and utilitistic approaches hold the best promise to curb corruption in the long run. The conclusion is that the state will urgently have to attend to the social context by revitalising programmes of ‘social renewal’, based on effective application of the law, the provision of adequate education and the eradication of poverty. There is also an urgent need for the ‘moral renewal’ of the entire population, focused on Christian values, operationalised within the context of the South Africa of today. Herein lies a massive task for the church.

Korrupsie het verstommende afmetings in Suid-Afrika aangeneem. Die doel van hierdie artikel is om ’n bydrae te lewer tot filosofiese benaderings wat daarop gemik is om korrupsie te bestry. By die oorweging van strawwe vir korrupte dade word die mees algemene benadering gebaseer op die teorie van konsekwensialisme, wat slegs die gevolge van korrupte dade oorweeg. Ideaal-gesproke behoort ook kennis geneem te word van die norme wat ter sprake is, veral dié norme wat die getroue nakoming van pligte vereis. Daar is egter gevind dat die Kantiaanse kategoriese imperatief ’n ideale rasionele gemeenskap veronderstel. Die imperatief moet dus ‘versag’ word deur, in die lig van Christus se liefdesopdrag, plek te maak vir oorwegings in verband met die korrupte agent se persoonlike omstandighede. Die studie is uitgevoer deur ’n oorsig van die belangrikste standpunte van twee filosofiese teorieë, naamlik utilitarisme (’n variant van konsekwensialisme) en deontologie te gee. Daar is aangevoer dat gekwalifiseerde deontologiese en utilitaristiese benaderings belofte inhou om korrupsie op die langtermyn te beteuel. Die gevolgtrekking was dat die staat dringend aandag moet skenk aan die sosiale konteks deur die inwerkingstelling van ’n proses van ‘sosiale vernuwing’, gebaseer op die effektiewe toepassing van die wet, die voorsiening van voldoende onderwys en die bestryding van armoede. Daar is ook ’n dringende behoefte aan die ‘morele vernuwing’ van die bevolking, met die fokus op Christelike waardes, geoperasionaliseer vir die Suid-Afrika van vandag. Hierin lê ’n groot taak vir die kerk.


Keywords

No related keywords in the metadata.

Metrics

Total abstract views: 3940
Total article views: 14353


Crossref Citations

No related citations found.