Corruption has always existed; it is a human quality. However, there used to be rules to corruption. There are regions where corruption is more apparent, such as in the East where traditions of bribery existed, and its practice was quite open. We knew who to give to, and how much to give. We could almost write a manual of corruption, for it was nearly codified. Oddly, because of this, it was less widespread. Of course, there were also those who are incorruptible, whose honesty was indestructible. Previously, In the West, virtue was seemingly stronger than the forces of corruption, not anymore.

Today corruption is more general. It reaches every country and every class, although it is principally in the political and financial world. Everything, everyone can be bought. The proof: scandals spare no one, they reach the highest and most venerable offices. The rich too, and we wonder why someone with so much would risk it all, forgetting that greed knows no limits.

The worst effect is that corruption has become almost natural, a custom. We are no longer shocked or indignant when it is brought to light.  Of course, it is not completely ignored, and at times justice is in some fashion rendered. Names are published and people resign, but in time all is forgotten. Soon these same names reemerge, as if nothing had happened, and all stains are removed.

Why is this? Because money has become a goal in and of itself, it is something to be admired and respected. It is the singular, sacred object of our time.


Even kings, my cousins, are susceptible. Formerly, in what was called good society, money was never spoken of, it was considered vulgar. Yet, from time immemorial, kings have received gifts. While frankly speaking they as a whole cannot be accused of being corrupt, some were known to have easily taken gifts in exchange for favors. Now, in the West, they are without any significant authority, but kings still have influence. Today they might exercise such an influence in exchange for a substantial donation to their charity or foundation. Perhaps this isn’t formal corruption, but it is evidence of our time. As for myself, I can say I have never been corrupt, but perhaps I am not important enough that someone would try to buy me. I have been approached on a few occasions, but I refused. Not out of virtue, but rather because what I hold most dear in life is my freedom. Corruption is slavery in a way. Additionally, the very rich, generally speaking, bore me to tears, and I prefer to keep my distance.

by  Prince Michael of Greece