Corruption prevails because it is ignored in its early phases in life (tolerance).
Let me give an example;
In an exam, a student knows that they have to pass if they ever want to progress on to the next level. So obviously, they are expected to have been reading/studying/practicing, but they don’t do so adequately enough (slothfulness). And so why wouldn’t they cheat when they happen to find themselves in a convenient situation (loopholes in the system), and their overseer isn’t that vigilant about their role (reluctance)?
Little do we realise, that this practice gradually grows on the individual and becomes part of their nature (lack of foresight). And because this practice has been ignorantly tolerated due to how minute it seemed (complacency), the individual will comfortably continue in their ways since the consequences of their actions are hardly experienced (lack of punishment).
Years down the road, this corruption will manifest in other areas of their lives where they know they have to make it! They have to win! They have to gain! Or, they have to escape a situation! (selfishness).
It is ONLY until this individual holds an important office that is ever under public scrutiny, that their character is eventually discovered. It would then be at that moment that we would identify the person as corrupt. We would either assume they became corrupt due to the conveniences of that office, or because of the pressures of that environment alone.
The way I see it, people are very much sceptical about their government, their leaders and the influential because of the constant scandals they learn from their offices. But I do not think this is where corruption truly stems from.
Unfortunately for them, they do not have that much luxury of privacy that an average person has. A person’s small acts aren’t always up for public scrutiny, except by the people closest to them. So according to many, the government and the powerful are the only identified corrupt entities in the world (refutation).
I believe corruption always begins small. And I think we all have the responsibility of keeping ourselves and each other in check (2 Corinthians 13:5, Galatians 6:8-9) because that small practice of cheating that is ‘innocently’ dismissed in a classroom, is what we call corruption when the individual is mature and holds a big office.