CORRUPTION OF INSTITUTIONS AND THE DECAY OF CIVILIZATIONS
University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
This chapter discusses the dangers of corruption of institutions, especially governments, and how such corruption can be exposed and partially cleansed. Theories about the decay phase of civilizations are briefly cited, and examples of corrupted forms of six professions illustrated (military, law, medicine, journalism, business and the clergy). Parallels between large organizations and the human body are shown to illustrate system consequences of dysfunction. An enduring theme is the need for constant, built in mechanisms to reduce corruption in living systems, including the largest scale of civilizations. Some solutions to these problems are mentioned, but readers are also challenged to do better since the problems of corruption of governance have been eternal and have successfully resisted many reform efforts.
Civilizations are living systems, so like any living system they need at least 19 subsystems to acquire and process food, water, energy and information, to safely dispose of toxic byproducts or wastes, to avoid being eaten themselves, and otherwise to stay alive and to reproduce themselves. In one sense all these life functions are equally “essential” (Miller, Living Systems, 1978). Still I will maintain here that cleansing a civilization regularly of corruption (or empire or nation state) is especially important. Why?
This was a chapter in a series of books edited by Andrew Targowski, Marek Celinsky, or both about great problems facing civilizations on earth today. Its focus is the central role of corruption of institutions with sidebars on civilizational collapses in history. The question of cycles is addressed and mostly rejected, but that is a recurring issue in civilizational studies.
Andregg, Michael M..
Corruption of Institutions and the Decay of Civilizations.
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