Private Absolute Power Corrupts

Lord Acton famously said "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

Most of the time I've seen this used is in regard to government power, but it also very often applies to private sector success.

In both realms, I have known people from long before they had great success, and have seen many of them transform into corrupt people and/or arrogant egomaniacs.

In many parts of government, people who want to be promoted in their job must conform to the group think of their peers up the power chain and tolerate corruption, waste and abuse for the individual benefit of the bureaucrats and their cronies, and contrary to the best interests of the people or the nation which should be the purpose of the government. Cronies are moved into positions of power, and the greater their power and insulation from auditing and prosecution, the more corrupt they get.

However, in the private sector, there are much fewer rules and regulations, whereby people can put their company's interests above the greater good without anybody expecting otherwise. Also, in big companies, it is common for employees to put their own individual interests way above those of the company (and hence the vast number of other employees, except perhaps some co-conspirators).

The most remarkable examples I have seen, however, have been in not-for-profit Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Wow, I have seen so many people transform as they gain success, instead conforming to the groupthink mentality of the scam NGOs in many ways. It is such a disappointment when this occurs.

The main motivator is usually money, but often it is sheer ego, whereby they will do nearly whatever is necessary to maximize the rewards in terms of power or attention, even when it compromises the best interests of the goals they are supposed to be in the position of promoting.

The opposite is people who are inclusive, reaching out beyond their established clique of power brokers, and managing their resources accordingly, thereby putting their goals and purpose in life first, above even themselves, and actually behaving consistently with their stated lofty goals for the greater good.




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