Dishonest Systems can’t be Managed Honestly

Winner Of CSC March 2019 Essay Competition : Nitya Nigam

"Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty." - As said by the Greek philosopher Plato

A dishonest system has a trait of deceitfulness with an exploitative view for personal as well as material gains. Many a times, people misuse their legal power or official authority to receive illegitimate financial gains which they don't deserve. Most of the times, dishonest systems categorically eliminate opportunities for honesty to thrive. This often hurts the society in general because being honest hurts and is frowned upon.

Generally, people like to take the easy way out to end their sufferings and for their greed for money. Those who don't have enough skills, patience or the work ethic to make an honest living would resort to the path of dishonesty which for them would be like a convenient opportunity to end their everlasting miseries. Thereupon it erodes trust in the society as everyone tries to find shortcuts to success, money and power. It is destructive in the long run and even leads the entire society to suffer. The people often forget that rules and regulations are intended to govern their behaviours but all they can perceive is the easiest opportunity to fulfill their greed and an easy way out to save themselves from hard work.

An individual having dishonesty in his/her character surely sees the short term benefits but in the long run the deceitful actions add up, resulting in stress, more dishonest actions and ultimately a downfall. He will confront mental and emotional disturbances threatening his self-esteem and his self- worth. This can immensely affect their families and have long term impacts on their kids. When this becomes widespread in the society, it continuously transfers from one generation to another, spreading like wildfire. When this becomes a culture, it undermines the nation's economic and social development.

In the long run for an individual, society as well as a nation it proves to be exploitative. Managing a dishonest system with dishonesty might seem an easy option as its swifter and ceases the damage of the dishonest system much faster than by managing it honestly. However, it’s a short-term fix and does not terminate the ill-intentions. It only thwarts their action for the time being and aggravates the problem in the future. If we retaliate against a dishonest person, the person will likely follow up with more dishonest acts. Managing it honestly will definitely be a slow process but at least it will help to cut the problem at its root. This will help build a solid foundation for the future. Treating a dishonest system honestly is a more effective way to raise awareness and enable other rightful and honest people to speak up, take a stand and build a better system. The values of finding common good and do no harm builds the foundation of an honest system.

For instance, cancer cells in the body are needed to be removed completely. Along with the cancer cells a small part of the normal tissue is also removed to make sure that no cancer cells are left behind. If they are not completely removed there will remain a chance for cancer to come back.

Similarly, until we do not make the dishonest individual aware of the problems he is creating for him and others, he will not end his habit of being dishonest and will create further problems. By managing it dishonestly, the system will not step in the right direction and there are high chances that it will slow down but will ultimately find its roots again.

A short term method to reform such system will not prove to be very effective. Vigilantism, which means a process to correct things which are not in accordance with the law by a person or an association without any legal authority to do so. But the way they choose to correct an individual is often confrontational and while the society appreciates the applauds the short-term win. It’s not a sustainable method and ends up creating more chaos like affecting the individual negatively. Reforming it calmly and firmly revealing the disadvantages of a dishonest system that can harm himself and everyone around him will have a more long-lasting effect. Even if the conduct takes a long time it's the right way to build a solid foundation and is worth its time.

We can take examples of dishonest systems in our day to day lives and how can they be resolved honestly. The problem of unequal wages to men and women for the same work is quite prevalent across the world. Even when women work equally hard and as competitively as men, they are remunerated inadequately. Women face challenges like stereotypes, discrimination and casual sexism in almost all fields resulting in a gender pay gap between men and women. To solve this, we wouldn't need to break laws. Instead a little government interference and mentoring programmes would be sufficient to aim at the root cause of this problem. Allocating more women in the leadership positions and promoting female entrepreneurship will further help in gaining transparency.

There are instances of women being exploited by men for their benefits and desires. Unfortunately, some employers take advantage of an applicant's position during the hiring process to make inappropriate comments or even make sexual propositions to job candidates putting them in a difficult and uneasy situation. Some women on the other hand feel shame and fear that they might lose their dignity if they bring these kinds of issues in public. Nowadays, a #MeToo movement has spread worldwide where women who have suffered sexual harassment or have been abused by a person can retweet the hashtag sharing their sufferings. This hashtag has allowed many women to speak up and has exposed a laundry list of accusations against individuals in powerful positions. This movement has now become a revolution. This is a powerful example showing how a dishonest system can be exposed and reformed without being dishonest.

Prime Minister Narendra Modiji's demonetization was introduced to make India a corruption-free country. This was to track black money and unaccounted cash and punish the dishonest people indulged in corruption, keeping counterfeit currency notes and other malpractices. Although the sudden announcement made adverse impact on business and economy in the short term, it definitely made the entire country more accountable for their wealth and hurt miscreants. The treatment for such a big problem in a highly populated country like India is a really big step towards development and an excellent example of how a dishonest system can be corrected lawfully. Society will remain backward till a true leader comes and takes things under his control.

We have so many similar examples around us. The root cause of having dishonest systems thrive around us are loopholes in law and governance which are being exploited. Plugging these loopholes, building tighter laws, stricter punishments, leveraging the technology and digitization to spread awareness are a much more impactful use of resources as we fight dishonest systems. It's a lot smarter to have laws and spread awareness around fireproofing places, not keeping all combustible items in one place and conducting regular checks than getting caught in a fire. It leads to risk of life, loss of property and water and above all, it’s just a temporary solution.

India's motto 'Satyamev Jayate' in Sanskrit means 'Truth alone triumphs'. Dishonesty cannot stand for a long time. Sooner or later truth does emerge out on its own. To sum it all up, treating a dishonest system with honesty will be more beneficial and more impactful than treating it with dishonesty. Eye for an eye in a dishonest system will further impact the society negatively and we run the risk of propelling ourselves into a world where the values of hard work and honesty are forgotten.