Our society has created a breed of high achievers who will stop at little or nothing to reach the top of their chosen path, irrespective of the harm they do to those services and individuals they climb all over to get there. As many of the self-serving drivers behind these traits are personal wealth, coupled with a good measure of self-importance, I see little opportunity for any real change. At least not in the short-term!
We no longer appear to have the ability to be genuinely happy with or accept our lot in life, we are constantly driven by the great god of cash. Where disgusting amounts of money (or popularity) are to be gained, either for ourselves or for our organisation, dishonesty and a distinct lack of integrity are (unfortunately) likely to prevail.
The Above from Banksidebabble.
Judging “integrity” is more or less impossible. Left to behavioural cues, nearly all of us (including cops any psychologists) are as useful as tossing a coin – less actually as most of us think we are good at it. We lack real integrity to such a degree, that most of us reinforce our false views and believe them more strongly when evidence we should let destroy them is presented. We call it ‘backfire’.
There is massive evidence around now that our society is dishonest. I think most of us have imagined over the years that something we have thought of as ‘capitalism’ was, with all its faults and unfairness, the best way we could find of going about things. We mostly had jobs that allowed us to live comfortable lives with little reason to be bothered about what under-pinned our society. I suspect what we are seeing now, from the hacking scandal to banking crisis and expense thieving by Parliamentarians is the end of this era. The economist in me also thinks it likely we are at the end of the current way of financing too. This is likely to be unpleasant, but recovery should be easier than we think in economic terms. The rest of our sickness is more difficult.
The grubby story of News International, the Metropolitan Police and our politicians. Men of “complete integrity” are resigning for the ironic ‘reason’ of ‘doing nothing wrong’. Our means of getting to grips with this are so inadequate that all four men the IPCC might investigate are no longer police officers and can face no discipline, only criminal charges if evidence can be found – and the potential defendants have been left in charge of whatever evidence there might be for years, and are known to have suppressed it. The allegations are of corruption, cover-up and incompetence.
Some of the people I nicked were responsible for very little crimes and most who pass through police custody are pathetic. I largely agree with the descriptions on a number of police blogs and am shortly to publish a revolting tale. Our justice system largely fails those affected by the scum, but most of us probably lose more to those involved in false claims and the ‘whiplash culture’. We all lose vastly more to ‘financial services’, bonus payments, tax evasion and huge salaries. Stephenson, on £270K, thinks “integrity” was recording the £12K bung from a mate – no Coot, “integrity” would be more like saying thanks and suggesting he and his mate both stump up cheques to a charity – maybe to something run by the cop shot by Moat. The Met had 69 press officers when Coot’s mob hired Wallis – so no sign of sensible resourcing there either.
Very few work in agriculture, manufacturing or construction these days – and we should celebrate this achievement – and we should be questioning what value we get from all the rest we call ‘work’ and remember we can grow, build and make things without most of it. What innovations and value do we get from service sectors and any salaries more than two or three times the average – it looks like a lot of pain rather than benefit. We have problems with kleptocracy that extend to high-level feather-bedding. through salaries and smoozing.
It’s very likely that people who rise to the top (the big chunks in a septic tank society if you like) are likely to have found ways to image-manage their “integrity” and it’s thus hardly surprising to find them hiring people to keep this up. We have lost the link between a decent person driving a combine harvester or fixing pot-holes or building a home and reward that in any way equates with Coot salaries – and worse we seem to always be able to pay Coots and bonuses, but not get pot-holes fixed.
Stephenson spoke out against the police bonus culture and actually turned a lot of his (maybe all) down. For those who remember Herztberg, money wasn’t to be a motivator (I seem to remember it was in weeks when I was broke and playing for match-fees!). So what would make this man take the £12K? – certainly not some grasping financial need. But what lets any Coots think they are worth so much more than the average? The answer lies in culture. We don’t see ourselves as stealing from people who remain poor. If we had integrity we might, My view is no one with it can survive in our organisational promotion systems. The real problem is we’ve been had on the whole concept of meritocracy and something we have forgotten about “integrity” – once you can fool people you have it and fool yourself you have it you can corrupt anything.
The Met will go on without Yates and Stephenson – what we have to come to realise is that we could lose all of our “top people” and find we didn’t need them either. All they do is manage image, so much so they couldn’t be seen rummaging in bin bags for the real evidence!
Sweden is now doing better than all other economies in the EU.
Thanks for the quote and comment on my blog post at http://bankbabble.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/waking-for-coffee-finally/
It appears we are in general agreement as to root causation of so many of the issues and I agree with your last paragraph… “The Met will go on without Yates and Stephenson – what we have come to realise is that we could lose all of our “top people” and find we didn’t need them either. All they do is manage image, so much so they couldn’t be seen rummaging in bin bags for the real evidence!”
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The questions that seem to arise to me are about what’s happened to ‘Civic Humanity’. I believe we are badly led, but I doubt “leadership” itself as much as the people we end up with as “leaders”. I doubt Stephenson is corrupt anymore than you or I – and indeed that you or I might well have been rather like him in office. It’s still glaring that something else is wrong and I agree with you on the cause. The problem with your formulation is that it isn’t operable to get change, other than through the formation of some kind of critical mass. The ACPOs and the political-management class generally are utterly skilled (or skilled in incompetence) in protecting themselves.
What we’re seeing in the hacking stuff is pots calling kettles black and “apparent scrutiny” that may well be about various parties making reputations. People are resigning claiming “integrity” and I can’t help hearing it as the ‘I dun nuthin wrong’ stuff we both must have heard. And the typical attempts to palm off jobs and responsibility onto others. The thought experiment of considering these people claiming integrity to the kind of scrutiny we give other people in criminal enquiry seems to raise a lot of questions about equality in public vital to democracy. I don’t see ACPOs like ‘Cootie’ (a blagger of my acquaintance), but I do think we should work out what we might see if we did and enquired into them as we would ‘normal crooks’. The picture that emerges of the organisations they create from this might help us operationalise change.