We watch with a sense of helpless amusement the familiar pattern of dealing with scams, as scam after scam unfolds with alarming frequency.
1. The powers-that-be let the scam happen, though they seem to know all about it. They just look the other way and do not do anything hoping that the scam will never be discovered. It appears that in most cases scams are never discovered and the scamster gets away with the loot.
2. Sometimes a scam is discovered, either by the media, or auditors or by a whistleblower. The first response is to say that the allegations are baseless and deny any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, the scamster has already stashed away the loot, maybe he has even “invested” it or sent it abroad.
3. This tactic of remaining in denial does work in some cases. But if it does not work and the heat gets too much, then an inquiry or investigation is ordered. This goes on interminably for so long that the scam is forgotten (skilful media management also helps to “bury” the scam) and after a few years the case is closed – after all public memory is short and there are so many scams going on that a new scam soon replaces the earlier scam in capturing people’s attention.
4. If the powers-that-be are not successful in burying the scam, then the investigation and trial continues for years and years. Since the scamster has already squirreled away the loot, the nation’s money is never recovered. Even is the crook is found guilty he gets a very nominal punishment which he appeals against and maybe gets bail and is a free man.
5. During this entire process the scamster brazenly goes about his business and moves around in society as if nothing has happened. Unfortunately, in today’s society, there is absolutely no social stigma attached to white collar crimes like corruption and economic offences and scamsters, particularly the high and mighty, are accepted with great veneration and accorded status in high society.
6. The common man loses faith in the system and there is no deterrence for the crooks and scamsters who get emboldened to commit even greater scams more audaciously. Owing to its helplessness, the society develops a “chalta hai” attitude towards scams, scandals and corruption and soon corruption becomes an accepted way of life.
Does it require great wisdom to prevent scams?
I wish the powers-that-be read this famous Aesop’s Fable of THE FARMER AND THE LION.
The state of SCAM MANAGEMENT seems to be epitomized in this fable.
Once a farmer heard that there was a lion had come from the jungles and was wandering in the vicinity.
Instead of taking precautions to ensure that the lion did not enter his farm, the farmer was intent on catching the lion.
So the farmer left the gate of his farm open; almost as if he were inviting the lion to enter.
On seeing the open gate the lion entered the farm. He immediately pounced on a sheep which he wanted to carry away to eat in peace.
However, wanting to catch the lion, the farmer shut the gate and trapped the lion.
When the lion discovered that he had been trapped and could not get out, he flew into a rage and violently attacked all the farm animals and livestock and killed all of them and then started destroying the farm.
Now, the farmer got scared and started to fear for his own life so he opened the gate and the lion made off with his kill and went away towards the jungle to eat his meal in peace.
The poor farmer was reduced to tears as he lamented the loss of his cattle and livestock and the destruction of his farm.
MORAL OF THE STORY
Better Scare a thief than try to Snare him.
Do you allow a thief to get into your house, watch him as he steals your belongings and valuables, let him run away and after he has gone away with the loot, you then raise a hue and cry and try to catch him.
I wish the powers-that-be focus on prevention of scams rather than wasting resources on futile time-consuming inquiries and investigations.
Isn't prevention better than cure?