“With great power comes great responsibility.”

Nowadays, many leaders all around the world may be characterised as greedy. The greed for power and money has overtaken these leaders’ personalities. This has not only been going on for the past few years, but it seems like nowadays it is becoming a trend. But why do many leaders decide to go down this road? Why don’t they just choose to be honest and transparent leaders instead?

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“With great power comes great responsibility”, a phrase that in many different forms has been said by people like Lord Melbourne, Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, among others, yet has been made famous in this form by a Spider-Man comic/film.

Basically, this phrase means that if one has the ability to affect someone else’s life, he/she should use his/her ability for the greater good of the lives he/she has an impact on. And here is where we find a contradiction between this phrase and the first paragraph of this article. Many leaders are not abiding by this phrase as they should do. They are not investing their power into the common good of their community, their people.

This greed is why dictatorships, absolutism, despotism, et cetera are actively present in today’s “advanced” world.

The Panama Papers, for example, featured 12 current or former world leaders, another 128 politicians and public officials, hundreds of businesspeople, celebrities, and other rich people from over 200 countries. The graph below shows the “countries with politicians, public officials or close associates implicated in the leak on April 15, 2016 (As of May 19, 2016)” (Source: Wikipedia):

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And that’s just 1 scandal. There is also the Paradise Papers, for example. The documents leaked in this scandal contained the names of more than 120,000 people and companies. The graph below shows the “countries with politicians, public officials, or close associates named in the {Paradise Papers} leak”. (Source: Wikipedia):

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In just 2 scandals, we can clearly see that many powerful people choose the path of corruption, just because they feel that nothing stands in their way. These 2 examples are quite recent. One can also consider past scandals such as Watergate, The Sponsorship Scandal, The Dirty Dealings of Silvio Berlusconi, among many others. And these 3 examples are just national scandals (in the U.S.A., Canada and Italy, respectively).

Referring to the questions in the first paragraph of this article (“But why do many leaders decide to go down this road? Why don’t they just choose to be honest and transparent leaders instead?”), one can reason out that greed is part of human nature. Greed is not always evil. It is merely a means of survival. But it has to be balanced. You should not be too greedy, but a bit of greediness does not do any harm.

Many leaders are not able to balance between greed and compassion. For some, it is either one or the other. And that should not be the case. Being compassionate towards what you do, as a politician as well as a leader, makes people like you more. Therefore, a perfect politician is made up of little greed and much compassion.

But when politicians get a chance of popularity, they usually decide to take that chance, no matter how destructive and corrupt it may be. If a politician does not have a strong character, greed overtakes him/her and compassion is lost or mostly lost.

Written by: Bradley Cachia

3 thoughts on ““With great power comes great responsibility.”

  1. I think you make a good point about character as that certainly affects many parts of everyone’s life.

    I also think there is a growing trend to see politics as an end in its own right rather than a means to an end. In the UK, there are many who study PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) purely to then join a think-tank or a party and end up in Parliament. Cameron and Miliband are two such people. They didn’t have a genuine taste of real life before choosing politics. If politics, and getting there, is all they have on their “to do” list, is it any surprise they’re greedy for power?

    We see this in Malta too where politics is a career choice instead of “a calling”.

    It’s dangerous.

    Like

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