A cancer called corruption

Some years ago, a high-ranked officer of the government, a minister, got involved into a case of corruption and sent into prison, until time were due for his sentence. The accusation was the "unlawful acquisition" of an equivalent to seventeen million dollars from the nation's wealth. Weeks later, he was found guilty and sentenced to twenty years of holidays in jail.

Yes, you are right. These are not surprising news... But people do not seem to realize how damaging can corruption be for a government and for the economy of a nation. So, today, I decided to take a look at that country's tax laws and decided to calculate the monetary impact of this minister's 'naughtiness'. To do this, I took a can of evaporated milk as measuring unit because it is something we all buy or have bought everywhere in the world. You will get surprised of the figures.

A can of evaporated milk in this country costs the equivalent to US$ 0.65, from which US$ 0.55 is the price of the product and US$ 0.10 is the VAT tax.

So, to generate enough money in taxes to pay back the seventeen million dollars this minister stole the nation would have to purchase one hundred seventy million cans of evaporated milk; which means much more than milking a lot of cows: it means pasturing the cattle, milking and treating the milk and canning it before distributing it and making it available to the public.

Do you understand now? If this man had not stolen seventeen million dollars and hidden them in a bank account you-will-never-know-where, his country would now have seventeen million dollars to spend in social programmes or building infrastructure to ease the whole country's development.

Many so-called third-world countries are still underdeveloped despite we are living the first years of the third millennium. Finishing with corruption is definitely one of the causes we must attack first.

Knowledge + Society