Guest Editorial: Conflicts of interest: big or small?

By Pat Turner
RBC | People like to talk about the big issues. Large government, giant corporations, non-profit-organizations and the mass media being corrupt. Much of this stems from previous conflicts of interest. Historically, people in power have had the opportunity to manipulate decisions and policies. Unfortunately, many have used this influence to benefit their own interests above that of the society and the people that they were called to serve. Rarely are the rules broken openly, but often he who makes the rules, rules the roost.
We don’t usually see the evidence of this “big” corruption at its inception, but eventually what’s done behind the scenes will be seen. The weeds of indiscretion start out small, but if left to themselves they grow up and take over an organization that was once productive. How often have we neglected these “little things” and ended up regretting it later?
What does this mean to us personally? Because around here we’re not big business or the mass media, but mostly just “ma’s and pop’s” and small town politics. But isn’t the bigger picture made up of many pixels? If we don’t hold our own little media, corporations, organizations and government entities accountable who will?
Morality starts with each of us individually. If we want a better society we will have to choose it. There will be conflicts of interest, and they will probably more often be personally encountered in small towns than in big cities. And when the opportunity does arise for us to put our own interests above those we are called to serve, what will we do? In that case, we must to choose to recuse ourselves, or there will be abuse.