“In an atmosphere of all round corruption, honesty becomes a virtue and not
a desired duty”
(N.B.- Keywords in the question: all round corruption, honesty, virtue, desired
Demand of the question: Try to understand the basic idea of the sentence. It
talks about how relevance of honesty also depends upon external environment.
And how a value can lose, gain or change its significance with change in
environment. Define corruption, honesty, virtue and desired duty at appropriate
place in answer)
Answer: This sentence depicts the significance of external environment with respect to
honesty. Honesty is a value which makes a person restrictshimself from doing unethical
act. It is most desired value, especially from a public official.
Corruption:Corruption is using public office for private gain. This mostly happens in the
case of public official with some authority over public fund/wealth.
e.g. when an government official has discretion to allot tender for purchase of some public item, he allots it to such people who can return the benefit to him in the form of kickbacks.
Corruption jeopardizes the larger public good. Hence it is generally expected that a public official is non-corrupt. It is very basic expectation from the official.
Honesty is desired duty: Honesty is value propagating ethical and non-corrupt behavior. For a public servant use of public fund with discretion is regular duty. In this case the basic minimum that can be expected from him is honesty. Because without which it is impossible to run the system efficiently. Also the objective of the very act is nullified.
e.g. for a public delivery system officer, the basic minimum expectation is that he does not take away food grains with him and distribute them justly among needy.
Honesty becomes virtue: Virtue is a quality or a principle which is considered morally
Corruption, when becomes a non-rare thing, its acceptance increases in the society. This
falls short of acting as mechanism to control unethical acts. The motivation for doing right and honest thing is reduced. This leads to further increase in unethical behaviors.This vicious spiral makes acts of following honesty extraordinary thing as against them to be normalcy. But honesty inherently is always desirable value by all. And when anything remains ever desirable but not normally found, automatically becomes easy to preach and difficult to follow. In this way it becomes a virtue.Whereas in normalcy honesty is most desired things by all.
Especially in administration, when the environment becomes corrupt, a government official also start accepting honesty as a virtue instead of a normalcy, basic behavior and a desired duty from him.
For example, when a majority of staff in a government office demands bribe for the work they are paid for, everyone starts concluding that non taking the money is self-defeating; being honest is a non-rewarding and only moral people must be honest not common persons like me.