70 Corruption Quotes To Remind Us The Importance of Integrity (2022)

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There has been a lot said about corruption and how it relates to power. These 50 corruption quotes take it another step further.

Corruption stems from deceitful behavior by those in powerful positions. Government, religious, and corporate entities can all become corrupt. Engaging in dishonest and sneaky behavior can corrupt anyone, even those of us who hold less power than the leaders of those entities.

There are quotes about how we can stop corruption in government, our youth, and ourselves. The best way to do that is to be courageous enough, to tell the truth, and do the right thing. That isn’t always a straightforward matter, but honesty really is the best policy.

Keep reading for thoughts on the corruption we see all around us daily.

Don’t forget to also check out these integrity quotes to increase your authenticity.

‘Powerful’ corruption quotes

1. “It is not power that corrupts, but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it, and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.” ― Aung San Suu Kyi

2. “Power-lust is a weed that grows only in the vacant lots of an abandoned mind.” Ayn Rand

3. “If absolute power corrupts absolutely, where does that leave God?” ― George Deacon

4. “Power attracts the corruptible. Suspect any who seek it.” ― Frank Herbert

5. “Power in the hands of the reformer is no less potentially corrupting than in the hands of the oppressor.” ― Derrick Bell

6. “It is true that nobody is above the law, but power can make somebody invisible.” ― Toba Beta

7. “All intellectual tendencies are corrupted when they consort with power.” ― Clive James

8. “Wherever there is power, greed, and money, there is corruption.” ― Ken Poirot

9. “Merely by living, man becomes degraded and loses in purity what he gains in power. However clear a spring may be, when it becomes a river it cannot help being polluted by mud and slime.” ― Maurice Druon

Wise corruption quotes

10. “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” Mahatma Gandhi

11. “Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.” ― Edmund Burke

12. “All the things of the wild have their proper uses. Only misuse makes them evil.” ― Ellis Peters

13. “If corruption had already taken root, then good seeds must be preserved.” ― Toba Beta

14. “When corruption is the priority, honesty becomes evil.” ― Kangoma Kindembo

15. “Beware of your contribution to the growing banality of evil lest you yourself become a cog in the machinery of terror.” ― Heather Marsh

16. “To curb corruption, one must be courageous to confront and complain against the corrupt.” ― Amit Kalantri

17. “Corruption is a cancer, a cancer that eats away at a citizen’s faith in democracy, diminishes the instinct for innovation and creativity.” Joe Biden

If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of fighting cancer quotes about the battle of a lifetime.

18. “Corruption is paid by the poor.” — Pope Francis

19. “People’s indifference is the best breeding ground for corruption to grow.” — Delia Ferreira

20. “The corruption of the best things gives rise to the worst.” — David Hume

Corruption quotes about government

21. “Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad.” ― Henry Kissinger

22. “To oppose corruption in government is the highest obligation of patriotism.” ― G. Edward Griffin

23. “You don’t necessarily need atomic bombs to destroy a nation. Politicians who value their pockets than the life of citizens always do that every day.” ― Israelmore Ayivor

24. “Pick a leader who is strong and confident, yet humble. Intelligent, but not sly. A leader who encourages diversity, not racism. One who understands the needs of the farmer, the teacher, the welder, the doctor, and the environmentalist — not only the banker, the oil tycoon, the weapons developer, or the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyist.” ― Suzy Kassem

25. “As long as politics is the shadow of big business, the attenuation of the shadow will not change the substance.” ― John Dewey

26. “To survive in a corrupt country, you need to be the son of a king or be king yourself.” ― Bangambiki Habyarimana

27. “Look at the orators in our republics; as long as they are poor, both state and people can only praise their uprightness; but once they are fattened on the public funds, they conceive a hatred for justice, plan intrigues against the people and attack the democracy.” ― Aristophanes

28. “And the so-called ‘political process’ is a fraud: Our elected officials, like our bureaucratic functionaries, like even our judges, are largely the indentured servants of the commercial interests.” ― Edward Abbey

29. “A corrupt leader is leading you only because there are more corrupted people to vote for him.” ― Wangnao

30. “When self-interest supersedes public service, society collapses under the weight of corruption.” ― Ken Poirot

31. “The terrorist in my life is the corrupt government.” ― Steven Magee

32. “Governance is corrupted by politicians aspiring to become celebrities and celebrities assuming credence in governing.” ― H. Melvin James

33. “The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the state.” ― Tacitus

34. “A just law is crafted with thoughtful communication and factual debate, a corrupt one is forged to limit such things.” ― C.A.A. Savastano

Enlightening corruption quotes

35. “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

36. “When two brothers are busy fighting, an evil man can easily attack and rob their poor mother. Mankind should always stay united, standing shoulder to shoulder so evil can never cheat and divide them.” ― Suzy Kassem

37. “Procrastination is also a subtle act of corruption—it corrupts valuable time.” ― Dr. Amit Abraham

38. “He did not care for the lying at first. He hated it. Then later he had come to like it. It was part of being an insider but it was a very corrupting business.” Ernest Hemingway

39. “Here is a man whose life and actions the world has already condemned – yet whose enormous fortune… has already brought him acquittal!” Marcus Tullius Cicero

40. “Only the man who wishes to be corrupted will fall into evil ways.” ― Tamora Pierce

41. “The hand that pockets the corrupt coin places it in the collection plate seeking absolution.” ― Stewart Stafford

42. “There are still those of us who work to overcome corruption and believe it to be possible.” — Padmé Amidala

If you’re enjoying this article, make sure to also check out these inspirational challenge quotes about tough times in life, work and love.

43. “Without strong watchdog institutions, impunity becomes the very foundation upon which systems of corruption are built. And if impunity is not demolished, all efforts to bring an end to corruption are in vain.” — Rigoberta Menchú

Corruption quotes about shielding the youth from this vice

44. “The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

45. “It is the duty of youths to war against indiscipline and corruption because they are the leaders of tomorrow.” ― Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha

46. “Corruption ultimately guilts the corrupt, and it hardens the innocent who suffer as a result of it. It isn’t the young who corrupt the old, rather it’s the inverse. The aim of the old should be to ensure that the young grow up incorruptible.” ― Justin K. McFarlane Beau

47. “Let every attempt of corrupting you be an unwelcome opportunity, to be honest. Don’t waste it. – Corruption as a Challenge.” ― Lamine Pearlheart

48. “A mind funded by logic can not be corrupted.” ― Axel Voigtländer

49. “The duty of youth is to challenge corruption.” Kurt Cobain

50. “It is not the young people that degenerate; they are not spoiled till those of mature age are already sunk into corruption.” — Montesquieu

Thought-provoking corruption quotes to ruminate on

51. “Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts… perhaps the fear of a loss of power.” ― John Steinbeck

52. “Police are inevitably corrupted. … Police always observe that criminals prosper. It takes a pretty dull policeman to miss the fact that the position of authority is the most prosperous criminal position available.” ― Frank Herbert

53. “Corruption is the enemy of development, and of good governance. It must be got rid of. Both the government and the people at large must come together to achieve this national objective.” ― Pratibha Patil

54. “Corruption is like a ball of snow, once it’s set a rolling it must increase.” ― Charles Caleb Colton

55. “Money and corruption are ruining the land, crooked politicians betray the working man, pocketing the profits and treating us like sheep, and we’re tired of hearing promises that we know they’ll never keep.” ― Ray Davies

56. “Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual, the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country.” ― Karl Kraus

57. “The first sign of corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means.” ― Georges Bernanos

58. “There is no compromise when it comes to corruption. You have to fight it.” ― A. K. Antony

59. “Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence.” ― Thomas Jefferson

60. “When you don’t take a stand against corruption you tacitly support it.” ― Kamal Haasan

Corruption Quotes For a Just Nation

61. “Through transparency we expose corruption, but then there is no action taken against the corrupt.” ― Aruna Roy

62. “Corruption, the most infallible symptom of constitutional liberty.” ― Edward Gibbon

63. “Purity is a good mask for corruption because it discourages inquiry.” ― Steven Levitt

64. “If we tackle corruption, no child would sleep hungry, there would be no injustice, every child would be in school.” ― Strive Masiyiwa

65. “Not just charity, even corruption begins at home.” ― K Hari Kumar

66. “The only way to escape the corruptible effect of praise is to go on working.” ― Albert Einstein

67. “Politics, as the word is commonly understood, are nothing but corruption.” ― Jonathan Swift

68. “Extremely disappointed that corruption may have reached such a level in Mexico.” ― Barry McCaffrey

69. “In any country, corruption tends to increase when more respectable means of social advancement break down.” ― Katherine Boo

70. “Guilt was imputed and corruption was conveyed.” ― Gordon Clark

What did you learn from these corruption quotes?

Corruption, no matter where we find it, erodes the trust we have in those establishments. It is a disheartening feeling to realize that the people who are in various high-level positions have been lying to us.

Especially when it becomes apparent during times of crisis. We should expect more from our leaders than we have been getting. 

These people should be incorruptible, but the system is so rooted in self-interest that it’s nearly impossible to find someone who isn’t out to line their own pockets.

We cannot control anyone else, but we can make sure that when we see corruption we shine a light on it. We can be truthful and maintain our integrity in our own personal dealings.

We can vote in our local elections, and not just the big federal ones, to ensure that we are doing everything we can to elect ethical leadership. We can also teach our children to be better, and then maybe we can make a difference.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these corruption quotes and sayings? Do you have any other thoughtful quotes to add? Let us know in the comment section below.


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