Corruption is always rooted in human character. But these days -- at least in Canada -- Robert Sibley suggests that it might also have something to do with the cult of efficiency:
Indeed, our culture of expediency is in some ways the consequence of a technologically-minded attitude that regards efficiency and effectiveness as the central purpose and goal of governance. The essence of technology, as the philosophers teach, is efficiency. The whole point of technology is to close as best as possible the gap between means and ends. The fondness of Trudeau and his successors for “centralization” reflects the desire to close the gap as much as possible between the inefficient means of parliamentary democracy with a more efficient means of decision-making. For the centralizers, many aspects of the democratic tradition — debate, committees, hearings, compromise and consensus building, and, yes, even voting — are outmoded, inefficient and increasingly ineffective in suitably responding to our high-speed, never-stop, crisis-a-minute world.
Thus, a government which tells us that it is "focused on the economy" outlaws strikes before they begin. It short circuits environment assessment because it slows down the process of getting oil to market. And it imposes closure on debate, because debate merely puts off the inevitable -- passage of a bill.
That emphasis on getting things done opens the door to political corruption:
This devotion to efficiency breeds the cultural of expediency that fosters political corruption. Corruption, as political scientist Samuel Huntington once stated, can be defined as “behaviour of public officials which deviates from accepted norms in order to serve private ends.” (Private ends can include political interests.) Is this not what we’ve seen in the Senate expenses scandal? Politicians identify their self-interest with the public interest, assuming they’re entitled to every entitlement, advantage and benefit they can obtain, whether private or public, monetary or political, by the most expedient (or efficient) means.
And, therefore, we are left with the absurd proposition that self-interest is in the public interest. If the Harper government stands for anything, it is that self interest is in the country's best interest. That is why Mike Duffy was made a senator. That is why we have the lowest corporate taxes in our history. And that is why the government is devoted to shutting down the flow of information. That information would make it abundantly clear that the government carries no brief for the public interest.
Democracy -- by its very nature -- is inefficient. So is the justice system. But we used to believe that democracy and justice were more important than efficiency. Indeed, we used to believe that democracy made justice possible.