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Extended family vs corruption

Jan 21, 2010, 1:35 PM

The other day we were chatting during break time, when someone narrated that he was having a conversation with an elderly woman, when the issue of corruption cropped up.

He said he had explained to the old woman that many find themselves engaged in corrupt practices, mainly because of their family size, culminating from extended family relations, most of whom demand more than the earning capacity of a particular son or daughter, niece or nephew.

Simply put, in terms of simple economics theory "the demand is higher than the supply."

The 7th edition of the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, describes corruption as "dishonest or illegal behaviour, especially of people in authority." It further states that "corruption is the act or effect of making someone change from moral to immoral standards of behaviour."

On several occasions, we have carried articles condemning that corruption in whatever form is not, and must never be accepted in society.

However, taking a closer look at what the young man told the old woman, one may concur to some extent that the extended family system also contributed in some way to the prevalence of corrupt practices in society today.

Do not get us wrong; we are not in anyway against extended family relations as this is a social norm, which our forefathers had lived with for generations.

However, what is incomprehensible is total dependence on someone simply because he or she is a cousin, nephew, uncle or aunt. Especially when the person on whom others depend has a wife(ves) and children to feed house and cloth.

At a time of global recession, it is high time that people take a good look at the dependency syndrome, which is a contributing factor to the never-ending practice of corruption.

"All happy families resemble one another, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way"

Leo Tolstoy