Corruption involves a slight deviation from what is expected from an individual, institution, or organization in terms of trying to acquire or sell something without following the required procedure. It is unethical to be corrupt as it involves bending of the engineers’ code of ethics.
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I chose this topic because corruption is a moral ill in society, especially among engineers and in the recent past it has led to deadly consequences such as the death of people, destruction of the environment and harm to public health. The vice has grown so deep in society that fighting corruption is a nightmare for both developed and developing countries. It is known that engineers are the drivers of any economy, and thus their involvement in corruption leads to loss of enormous wealth as well as stalling of development.
Corruption does not have any pros to public health and the ecology. It only benefits the individuals practicing the vice as well as their families and cronies since they are the ones who gain from the numerous acts of bribery, kickbacks, and nepotism.
Corruption has many cons as it is a social vice shunned in the engineering fraternity since it goes against the fundamental canons of the engineers’ code of ethics (National Society of Professional Engineers, 2014, Col. 1).
An engineer involved in corruption acts out of deception and does not conduct themselves honorably as required in the engineers’ code. Furthermore, a corrupt engineer is not able to perform their professional obligations in line with the code of ethics since they are influenced in the course of their duties and they may even end up disclosing client information if they are bribed.
More so, an engineer taking part in corruption risks losing their license to practice engineering as well as face legal implications since corruption is identified as a civil crime in many countries and in some instances it is a criminal offense. The fundamental canons of engineering abhor corruption and all the six canons directly discourage any licensed engineer from taking part or promoting acts of corruption (Klitgaard, 2011, p.45).
Corruption causes the construction of poor designs that cause design flaws in an effort to save money. Thus, the engineer may deviate from the original design and end up using cheap counterfeit materials that are not durable in construction. This leads to scientific uncertainty since the design parameters are not followed, and the repercussions are not predictable.
For instance, take a case of constructing an oil pipeline, leakage may take place after some time and pollute the surrounding environment due to the use of substandard pipes. More so, if the pipeline passes underwater leakage can lead to the death of aquatic life, causing an ecological imbalance and severe public health consequences to humans and animals if they consume the water.
Whistleblowers are the people who notice the discrepancies in the designs, construction, and the works conducted by the engineers and inform the public (Senior, 2010, P.56). Their place is like that of a watchdog taking care of the public’s interest. Thus, without such people, human life and the ecological balance are at stake due to increased cases of corruption by engineers who want to get rich quickly.
In conclusion, corruption is unethical as it causes harm to public health, ecology, and nature. It is a vice that should be completely done away with and the punishment of one being de-licensed if found guilty by the engineers’ registration body is not enough to deter corruption. Thus, an engineer should always maintain a high standard of honesty as well as protect public health, safety as well as welfare.
1. Klitgaard, R. Controlling Corruption. Berkely, CA: University of California Press, 2011, p.45 (Book)
2. National Society of Professional Engineers, 2014, Col.1. (Online article)
3. Senior, I. (2010). Corruption – The World’s Big C. London, UK: Institute of Economic Affairs, 2010, p.56