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Thato Andile Majola
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12 March 2014, 15:08
The centre-piece of Adam's Smith's theory on the wealth of nations is that all people serve their own interests, meaning each is an individual with a desire to achieve his or her dreams and fulfill their own potential. It is interesting to note how our politicians in South Africa refer to "our" people as an all encompassing terms to refer to all the people whose tax money keeps them afloat. This leads me to the subject of my topic: Individuality.
When Desmond Tutu released a book with the title :"God is not a Christian", he was blasted by some quarters in conservative Christian circles as being conformist, "how could he be so blasphemous?" some said. On closer inspection, having read the book, no other title would have been appropriate. As the title suggests, Tutu doesn't believe, rightly so that our God should be confined to our own exclusive boxes, only serving a portion of society and condemning the rest. But in order to understand the criticism leveled at the arch, I have noted a few things: Everyone wants to be unique, everyone wants to belong, Everyone wants something to identify with. And so what makes us Individual?
The word individual contains within it the word :dual, which on the surface refers to the often conflicting forces that confront the individual at a subconscious level, to quote a famous phrase: "To be or not to be" to love or to hate? Our duality causes each one of us to have a degree of uncertainty in making decisions, in defining our own personalities, and setting our own preferences. Although external influences are inherent in all humans, the intrinsic motivation to gravitate towards a certain value system often sets people apart. 
With regard to our dealings with society, we put our best foot forward in order to suffer the least amount of judgment, we make decisions in order to "do unto others, what you would have them do to you". This then begs the question, where does corruption come from, and whose purpose does it serve? At its most basic, corruption is cheating and stealing from those who have given their trust to you. No one ever wants to have to pay bribes or suffer from theft or fraud, yet surprisingly, we seem happy to do it to others. Is it because we could do with a few more Rands? Or is it our inability to choose which force our personalities must gravitate towards.
Individuality inherently comes with self interest, this is why it is easier to raise your own child than to adopt a stranger's, or the reason we send our children to the best schools, because in a hidden belief that it would give them an advantage over the other children. It is only human, to want the best for yourself. When you have the best, you can envy the things that belong to others, and thus would not actively try to take them away from their rightful owners. When corruption becomes a group activity, it serves a different purpose, and that can only be "oppression" Group corruption, unlike individual corruption is exploitative, inhuman and undermines our common identity.
This group can be made of people from similar cultures, races, geography or any commonality that binds them together. It destroys the majority of society who are on the margins of the community in question. Meanwhile, individual serving self interest, do not exploit people en masse, but select victims arbitrarily and this never leads to an exodus of money from the tax box. Let us be individual and stop this
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