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!