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
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.