Dirty Hands problem in South East Asia

November 25, 2011

Political Theory


The lecture on dirty hands was quite intriguing and raised some very interesting questions regarding the committing of actions for the greater good at the expense of a few. This topic forced me to consider the situation closer to home, back in India, regarding the prevalence of corruption among the government officials and how hands need to be greased in order to pass important legislation and projects that would ultimately help out the nation’s middle and lower income class individuals.

It is no secret that India is a powerful economy and is growing at a rapid rate that promises to one day take over as the number 1 economy in the world. However, that day is still far into the future.  Many critics believe that without the proper infrastructure to support the rapid growth and development, the dream for economic superpower and success will crumble to pieces real soon. The need of the hour is infrastructural development and India has been able to attract tons of Foreign Investors, however the obstacle all of them face is the bureaucratic government officials who refuse to budge and approve such investments in India’s future unless they are compensated handsomely in return.

A simple example is the recently concluded Common Wealth games in India, 2010. India knew she would be hosting the games for almost a decade and had promised to put on a show that would demand respect and worldwide recognition from all 1st world countries. Yes, India succeeded in that aim, but behind the scenes, the build up till the games, nothing went right.  Stadiums, athletic facilities, houses and lodging facilities etc were not prepared or up to international standards until the very last week and in some instances, the last day. To make things worse, every day the media would release information about the immoral practices of the officials involved on the committee that organized the games. All of them had accepted bribes to the tune of almost $50 million dollars from outside parties. Why were they paid so much? The reason being that contractors wanting to get the stadiums built, lodgings habitable and world class facilities set up, had to go through the committee to win contracts. They could only win the contracts if they paid money upfront. Thus this is a clear case of dirty hands,  where the 3rd party had to engage in under the table tactics to win approval and build the necessary infrastructure for the games. This is in turn helped employ thousands of individuals in varying capacities and jump starting the economy.

In the end, the games were designated a success by everyone but in the aftermath, all the corrupt officials were arrested and put into jail.

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One Comment on “Dirty Hands problem in South East Asia”

  1. samyoovpolsci Says:

    Im not too sure if this is a dirty hands problem. If the contractors were giving the government officials bribes in the form of money so that they would be hired, then its just a case of corruption. I think we said in class that a dirty hands problem only occurs if an immoral deed is done for the benefit of others. In this case, the contractors are only looking out for their own financial interest to get the contracts to build stadiums and other infrastructure needed for the commonwealth games. Hence, this is not a dirty hands problem.
    In addition, this is probably more of a case of lobbying, albeit illegally, as the firms are trying to persuade government officials to favor them over others. Either way, it is a clear case of corruption, and it was shame that a fantastic event such as the Commonwealth games was tarnished by such reports corruption.

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