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By Prof. M J Xavier1, Director IIM Ranchi Abstract This paper proposes a new theory of forbidden apple that classifies people into six categories based on the opportunity to make money through unfair means and their propensity to indulge in corrupt practices. Attempt has been made to profile of each of the six categories of people, namely, animals, humans, angels, devils, pseudo angels and pseudo humans. Different strategies, such as, Severe punishments, Transparent and fool-proof systems, Fear of exposure, Self-control, Instilling morals and values, Fear of God, to deal with the above six categories of people.
Introduction We are living in the age of swindles, stings and scams. A question that haunts every Indian citizen is whether any redemption from this moral turpitude is possible at all. Different people have different takes on this issue.The media thrives on it through so-called sting operations and investigative journalism; it is a different matter that some of the media could also be bought. Pseudo intellectuals derive satisfaction by sharing these investigative reports with their Facebook friends on the Internet; it isalso a fact that most of them do not even read them before passing on to others. Self- appointed guardians of morals preach and pray for the renaissance of Indian ethos and values. The common man isstruggling to make his ends meet in the face of stiff inflation and looking forward to more freebies from the government.In this article, we present the theory of `forbidden apple to analyze and understand the moral crisis that haunts India. Theory of Forbidden Apple The problem of the forbidden fruit is as old as mankind; Adam and Eve being the first set of victims/beneficiaries. While there were plenty of fruits in the garden of Eden, the world s first couple fell for the forbidden ones for the simple reason that it was forbidden. It is in the DNA of every human being to long for what is not rightfully his/her own. It remained under check during the agrarian age (read as, feudal system) as it was the essential requirement of the landlords for protecting their properties and maintaining the power equation. Though several of the great civilizations of the world have passed through a feudal period in the course of their history, India is still suffering from the hangover of the feudal age. What moralists are preaching is nothing but romanticism of the past. The advent of industrial/information age opened the flood gate of opportunities for the repressed masses. Though it brought material comforts to the common man, hitherto available only to the
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These people will have utter disregard for any rules and regulations. Demons: While the `Animals are corrupt from childhood. these are people who yield to the temptation in the later part of their life. Not everyone who have the opportunity to taste the forbidden apples. Primarily. those who avail of opportunities to taste the forbidden apple can be classified into two further categories. They become so insensitive to rules and regulation that they tend to believe that `money can buy anything . (i) those who don t care as to who is eating what but are more concerned with their next meal. Basically. There is nomagic wand nor a single solution available for keeping the entire population away from the forbidden apple. it has also resulted in the erosion of values that were held sacred during the feudal age. people in power. These people can be reformed through severe deterrents. They use short cuts to get jobs or make money in business. As a guilt reduction mechanism these . (i) those who enjoy the benefits. We need to understand different categories of people and use different strokes for different folks. These are vocal about the need for a change but will not lift their fingers to take any corrective action. public. Animals: These are people who do not know the distinction between what is right and wrong. some out of fear and a few out of self-determination. whom I call `Pseudo Humans . either through hard work or through illegitimate means. These group of people are jealous of those who have made it big in life. except that they experience a sense of guilt. they must have grown up in a corrupting environment. These are people who must have experienced troubled childhood marked by starvation/deprivation. They do not experience any guilt while enjoying the forbidden apples. Some of these people will be very religious too. They put selfish interest above that of all others. parents who take bribes and who believe in short cuts can have the same corrupting influence on their children. Most people believe in `money by any means and are not averse to enjoying the forbidden fruits. Six Categories of People Broadly people can be classified into six categories based on the forbidden apple theory. whom I call `Pseudo Angels and (ii) those who are outwardly seen as clean but are internally feeling jealous of those who enjoy forbidden apples. avail of the opportunity.nobility. social or government sectors. I call those who stay away from the forbidden apple out of fear as `Humans while those who have self-determination to keep away from forbidden apples as `Angels . For example. My own estimate is that approximately 20% people should belong to this category. (i) those who get opportunities to enjoy `forbidden fruit and (ii)those with no opportunities (see Figure). Or. whom I call `Animals . These people go to capitation colleges and get degrees by paying money. We shall now see the behavior of these six categories of people in some more depth. These people are no different from animals. Most of them also tend to be very religious and perform poojas for their own well being. either in private. belong to the first category. knowing fully well that it is illegal and/or immoral. there are two broad categories of people. The remaining 80% who do not get opportunities. whom I call `Demons and (ii) those who do not possess the sensitivity to know what they are doing is illegitimate (may due to their upbringing). again can be of two types. The pseudo intellectuals are those aspiring to make it big in life but do not have opportunities to taste the `forbidden fruits . In the same way. such as the eye-for-eye kind of laws. They would go to any extent to get what they want.
They are struggling to make their ends meet. Angels: These are people who would have had a good upbringing and also would be very accomplished persons. They may accept small gifts for favors done to others. Pseudo Angels:These are people who are mostly in the below the poverty line category. Systems will need to be fool-proof and transparent to control this category of people. These people tend to be highly educated and tend to become masters in scientific corruption. No law will be good enough to control them. rather than discuss and debate the moral degradation or rise in corruption.people tend to share a percentage of their booty with their favorite Gods. Basically they feel full inside and do feel compelled to compare themselves with others. Opportunity to Taste Forbidden Apples Available Not Available Avail the opportunity Not avail the opportunity Jealous of others who enjoy forbidden ones Doesn't Care Not aware that it is forbidden With full knowledge that it is forbidden Out of Fear Out of self determination Pseudo Humans Pseudo Angels Animals Demons Humans Angels Six Categories of People Humans: These are people who have been brought up with strong value systems but may lack conviction. The strong sense of honor that they have comes to their rescue. However. They do not have the need to indulge in illegitimate activities to make money. the value systems get built in the family during the early part of life itself. For these people. they may be open to paying speed money in a Government office to get things done. They cannot even understand the . What saves them from committing economic offenses is their fear of getting caught. These people respect social norms. we can be sure of a better future for our country. For example. But they would not go to the extent of committing serious offenses. they might be willing to compromise on small matters. If we can have more leaders of this kind. We only need to reinforce the values in their workplaces through rewards and punishments. They typically tend to worry about their next meal. These are the proverbial philosopher Kings. They are called `Humans because these people find a good balance between individual aspirations and societal norms.
Pseudo Humans: These are people who do not have much opportunity to taste the forbidden apple but feel jealous of those who enjoy the same.number of digits in the money swindled in different scams. Apart from taking away the money swindled by them. we cannot predict as to how they will behave if the same people are put in positions of power with opportunities for misuse of the authority vested in them. Animals do not understand anything other than severe and stringent punishment. we should award imprisonment and physical punishments. They do envy their own batch mates. We need to give more teeth to law to deal with these people. Basically they are paranoid people. These people are vocal about issues related to corruption. Table 1 Profile of the Six categories . Beyond that they would not be able to do much to eradicate the ills of the society. They tend to be educated but would not be having jobs commensurate with their qualifications. who have amassed a lot of wealth through illegal means. Strategies to Contain Corruption Table 1. However. summarizes the profile of different types of people and strategies to deal with each one of them. Currently they are angels as they are not harming the society. Hence I call them pseudo Angels. They get excited when they exchange emails on black money stashed away in foreign banks or the size of the 2G scam.
Pseudo humans can turn out to be animals or angels depending on how they react when faced with opportunities to make money through immoral and illegal means. What others think of them is more critical to these people than what they are. educational institutions and work places should provide the right environment for shaping people into angels. Human category is very much concerned with their public image. prevention would work better than punishments. Pseudo Humans currently stay clean due to lack of opportunities. Our social and religious organizations should continue to play a key role in keeping these people under check. Once again religions can play a key role in instilling the fear of God and educating the people on right and wrong. Fear of getting caught is a good enough deterrent for these people. They tend to read the media exposure of scams and swindles. Size of the Six Categories My own estimate of these categories of people is as follows: Animals: 4% Demons: 8% Humans : 8% Angels: 2 % Pseudo Humans : 40% Pseudo Angels : 40% The detailed working of these percentages is shown in the Table 2. We should make our systems transparent and fool-proof. For example. Has Opportunity to Taste Forbidden Apples (20%) Not avail the opportunity Avail the opportunity(10%) (10%) Not aware that it is forbidden Animals(4%) With full knowledge that it is forbidden Demons(6%) Out of Fear Out of self determination Does not have the Opportunity (80%) Jealous of others who enjoy forbidden ones Pseudo Humans (40%) Doesn t Care Humans(8%) Angels(2%) Pseudo Angels(40%) Table 2 Size of the Six categories . Unique Identification Number project is expected to help improve the reach of social initiatives for the poor. Information Technology can play a key role in bringing about transparency and accountability at all levels. Angels are self-made people and will not stoop down low levels under any circumstances.As demons are more educated. Our families. Whether they will turn out to be angels or demons depends on their morals and values.
Schools and colleges should play a key role in sensitizing the young people to the issues concerning corruption and the loss it brings to the companies. Of the 80% of the people who do not have the opportunity. the proportion of private sector employees with such opportunities are is much smaller. We have achieved certain amount of success in bringing about environmental sensitivity among the young minds. my estimate is that half of them end up utilizing the opportunity while the remaining half stay away. Though we can count most government employees in this category. The approaches to tackle the same will also have to change with changing times. Religions played a key role in ensuring socially acceptable behavior by its citizens. Government and the Country as whole. as in the case of Egypt. We basically need to give more teeth to law to make severe punishments as deterrents to these acts of corrupt practices. These are very subjective estimates and will need to be validated through an empirical study. Of these 20%. emanating from the young minds.It is only people in positions of power who get the opportunities to misuse their position to swindle money from the hapless public or curry favors from businessmen and traders. There is a ray of hope. who do not avail this opportunity have been put under Humans and 2% in the Angels category. With the erosion of credibility of religions. my assessment is that half of them are pseudo humans and the remaining half are pseudo angels. ********************* . Conclusion The basic desire for forbidden apple cannot be gotten over even if hundreds of spiritual gurus like Christ andBuddha as born in this world. The pseudo angels are usually found among the poorest of the poor. People are already feeling sick and tired of the news that gets generated around this issue. Of those who avail this opportunity I have put 4% in the animals category and 6% in the Demons category. we need to look for alternative ways. The same can be done with regard to economic offenses. My estimate is that no more than 20% people can be said to have opportunities for the so-called forbidden apple. 8% of the total people. We can only harness it and it will certainly show its ugly face from time to time. Today s splintered and broken families are not adequately equipped to educate the young minds about the right and the wrong. They can become a major force to overthrow corrupt governments. Family once played a key role in imparting the right vales in children. They can boycott products/services by companies that are indulging in corrupt practices. We can put our faith on the millennial kids.
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