Related Tags

Pitfalls on the way to transparency

Pitfalls on the way to transparency

First of all, we must say that there is a single remedy for corruption: Transparency. That is easy to say, but it is not easy to understand what transparency really means. How can we expect transparent actions for something we do not fully understand?

The prevailing tradition of Western democracy assumes that formal reports ensure transparency. Lobbyists, for example, have to register and then report annually on who they met with and what they discussed.

Why does formalism fail?

But there is very simple evidence that formal reports on what we do (like formal lobby reports) are far from being an effective tool for creating transparency. On the contrary, formal reports are actually counterproductive. Our bodies teach us that this is true. Cancer cells are a typical example of an entity that formally states its loyalty (kinship) with the rest of the cells in the environment, but in reality works against them. Cancer cells are constantly sending formal messages, formal reports, while at the same time doing something other than reporting.

At the other end of the transparency options is the question of how deeply they should report. Should one report only on a meeting and the subject matter of that meeting, or more? Should one also explicitly report on all arguments made and respond to counter-arguments? Should one report on the fun fact that the wives of the two parties were schoolmates and good friends 20 years ago? Should a report ask for a photo to be taken of both faces at the end of the meeting, showing that they agreed verbally but disagreed deep in their hearts? Should a report record how desperate the lobbyist was because he knew how desperate his company would be if the arguments he put forward were not accepted?

Formal reporting can never solve the issue of transparency!

Laws are no substitute for values

Transparency does not lie in reporting. Transparency lies in true loyalty. It goes beyond formal constraints. It reflects personal will, which is a combination of wisdom, power and beauty. It reflects values that permeate the society in which actions that are meant to be transparent take place. Japan lives a different transparency than Spain. A football team defines transparency differently than a group of scientists. Transparency is different for a pharmaceutical company than for the army. Transparency is what connects us at the level of values. Law is not a substitute for values.

Leave A Comment

Go to Top