Fernando Fuster-Fabra's Blog

MALADIES OF THE UNETHICAL IN POWER | May 16, 2011

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

–       Leo Tolstoy

Spanish version :      http://wp.me/pRlnf-47


I have often asked myself if the exercise of power of any nature produces maladies unknown to common mortals. The latest front-page news on Strauss-Kahn’s arrest in New York has revived my quest for an answer to my doubt.

As the all-powerful Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn had raised himself to the Olympus in preparation for even greater glories to come in the forthcoming French presidential elections. No one seemed to spare oneself praise of the politician’s supposed achievements in re-conducting the entity’s policies towards a more effective IMF.

Forgotten in the midst of all such praise was a rather annoying unethical incident that by itself should have forced Dominique Strauss-Kahn to resign immediately. I am referring to his admittance of a love affair with a subordinate in the IMF in 2008, whereby he exercised abuse of authority to cover up his relationship and could have possibly benefited from his superiority in all the regretful issue. The IMF, after a rather ridiculous wash-up investigation, accepted the Managing Director’s apologies and buried the issue without more ado.

Last Saturday, Strauss-Kahn was arrested when he had hastily boarded a flight to Paris. Nothing would seem unusual for him to depart the USA towards Europe, much less when he had scheduled meetings with Angela Merkel in Germany and the Eurogroup in Brussels this week. What was surprising was that in his haste to catch the flight, he had left some of his personal effects in the hotel suite that included his cell phone. Since then, he has been charged with “a criminal sexual act, attempted rape, and an unlawful imprisonment in connection with a sexual assault” on a chambermaid in a Manhattan hotel. What cannot be denied is that the NY police would hardly act with such haste, much less board a plane about to depart unless they had some solvent proof of the chambermaid’s accusation.

Allowing the margin that everyone has a right to be considered innocent until proven guilty, what cannot be forgotten is that the 2008 incident in the IMF organisation should have been sufficient for Strauss-Kahn to have been kicked out for unethical conduct in his Managing Director’s post. Not having been relieved then may now have lead to his further abuse of power in this lamentable sexual accusation filed by a chambermaid of a luxurious Manhattan hotel.

One must not forget that in 2007, the then President of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz, abused his power by promoting his girlfriend and hiking her pay, causing his later resignation.

Recalling said incidents such as these at the World Bank and IMF, one must come to the conclusion that either the appointees to such relevant posts are not thoroughly screened as per minimum ethical standards or these men are engrossed in a raging spiral of power that change them.

Whichever the reason, these men do not deserve to occupy relevant posts unless they can exercise power with ethics.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Barcelona  


2 Comments »

  1. […] Maladies of the Unethical in Power […]

    Pingback by Leaders can’t have separate personal and private lives. | katehobbs — May 19, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

    • Do not confuse the right to privacy in the family life and the use of one’s post to obtain sexual favours or benefit a mistress, as was the case with Strauss-Kahn in 2008 in his romance with a Hungarian subordinate at the IMF. Furthermore, politicians and world leaders must realise that their very posts oblige them to maximum transparency to maintain their prestige and credibility.

      As a man, I feel ashamed that a top official abuses his authority, much more when it is exercised against a woman. Enough of this macho syndrome.

      Comment by Fernando Fuster-Fabra — May 19, 2011 @ 3:44 pm


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