Monday, April 07, 2008

Integrity - the first casualty of a move abroad?

Over the past few weeks I've received a couple of email from friends on one particular issue, and in today's Telegraph there's an excellent article which touches on the same subject - integrity (or more accurately, the lack of it in some "foreign" countries). Basically, the suggestion is that in many places thoughout the world the sense of fair play, the sense of doing what is right regardless of the personal consequences, is almost unheard of. Instead, locals are more likely to act solely in their own interests, even breaking the law on occasion, and any sense of wider responsibility is ignored. Even worse, this particular type of selfishness is admired and aspired to - often being labeled as "cunning", something which only the smartest minds possess.

I wonder how much truth there is in all this. Are some societies really so different from our own? Is it a matter of perception - do we immediately assume that places which initially seem so alien are also corrupt in some way? Do we tend to forget the problems back home and only remember how secure we felt within a familiar system? Or, is integrity and a sense of community indeed something which differs from one country to the next?

I suspect there are no easy answers, but comments are very welcome!


ian said...

On topic that comes up quite often on the forums is the subject of debt, or rather, the debt in the country they have left.
A lot of people seem to think its OK to not payback debts they have racked up because the lender can't do anything to them in their new country.
Um... forgive me if I am wrong, but this is stealing! No different than if I was to break in to your house, steal something and then fly to a country that you couldn't extradite me from.


Uncle Drew said...

Ripping off foreigners is a big topic in Hungary and other parts of Central and Eastern Europe, although it may be tapering off. There is a sense that you'd "better get the money now because it won't be around later", making it okay to tap expatriates for cash.

Over the years I have seen this play out through high rents charged to foreigners who have just arrived or don't speak Hungarian. You also see it in waiters/taxi drivers, etc. overcharging non-locals. How people justify this to themselves is beyond me.

This hurts a society's long term image and 'brand'. People leave with bad feelings. It also inflates prices for housing and it widens a valley between locals and foreigners.

Talk about a 'lose lose' situation.

Stay tuned!

Uncle Drew - Hungary's podcast

admin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
admin said...

Great points, guys, I couldn't agree more with them. Thanks for posting.

Uncle Drew - nice podcast you've got there! I've added it to our page here

Anonymous said...

I love this piece that you wrote. It provoked a lot of thinking in my head, so much so that I have written a piece on my blog. please have a look. It is too long to post on here.
I know it is bit late :-)