I have posted a couple of times in the past week on issues of integrity and ethics in the Indie Author community.
There, and in life in general, it seems as though having integrity is a little less fashionable than it used to be.
These days, it seems that people are more often driven by their hunger for money or power or fame and, as a consequence, having integrity is a less fashionable than it used to be.
What a sad state of affairs.
It’s no surprise, though, that fewer and fewer individuals value integrity as it used to be valued, when they see politicians, global corporations and even national leaders getting away with telling lies, taking or paying bribes, cheating the system and taking little or no accountability for these actions until forced to. If it works for the rich and powerful, why not the little guys?
This is no justification whatsoever. Just because someone else does it, doesn’t make it right. And just because they appear to get away with it doesn’t make it a viable option to shortcut the road to success.
In some ways, integrity matters even more now than ever, because people are finding new and clever ways to cheat and deceive others which often have significant consequences for many. Globalisation and technology have opened a floodgate of opportunities for legitimate businesses and scammers and pirates alike.
In a world where there is precious little to rely on, we need to be able to know who to trust. We need to be able to take someone at their word, to assume a contract will be met, to get what we pay for, and to know that the liars and cheats will be punished.
If nobody stands up to them and insists on standards of behaviour and ethics, it’s only going to get worse.
Integrity is not too much to hope for. In fact, it is an imperative that we should all take very seriously indeed.
Integrity should be something we value for its own sake. It’s a quality we should not only strive for, but teach and expect our children, our friends, and our companies to do likewise.
It does seem that it’s always going to be the regular folk who set the standards for those “above” them.
Nothing will change, though, unless those who still value integrity and honesty demand them of those who hold the power and make the decisions.
Only when the majority – and I do believe it is still the majority of people – who value integrity assert its importance and hold it up as the yardstick of acceptable behaviour can we hope for anything different.