“Man has dominated man to his injury.”​—ECCLESIASTES 8:9.

THAT statement aptly describes the history of human rulership. It has been responsible for untold suffering and misery. In all ages, well-intentioned people who have tried to establish a more just society were constantly foiled by greed and corruption. Why is that so? Why does corruption persist? Basically, because of the following three unwholesome influences.

1. The influence of sin.

The Bible plainly states that we “are all under sin.” (Romans 3:9) Like an incurable hereditary disease, sin “resides,” or is “dwelling,” within us. For thousands of years, sin has “ruled” over mankind like a king. Its “law” is continually at work in us. Sinful inclinations lead many to put their own interests first or to center their lives on gaining material possessions or authority at others’ expense.​—Romans 5:21; 7:17, 20, 23, 25.

 2. The influence of the wicked world we live in.

Our world is characterized by greed and selfishness. In such an environment, some people find it difficult to be different. Driven by selfish ambition, they become power hungry. They also develop a strong desire for more money and possessions​—more than they really need. Sadly, they are willing to behave in a dishonest way to achieve those goals. Rather than resisting unwholesome influences, such people “follow after the crowd for evil ends.”​—Exodus 23:2.

3. The influence of Satan the Devil.

Satan, a rebellious spirit creature, is “misleading the entire inhabited earth.” (Revelation 12:9) He thrives on manipulating humans. He may craftily exploit a person’s natural desire for material comfort and financial well-being to the point that the person acts deceitfully.

Does that mean that we are mere puppets in Satan’s hands​—that we are obliged to obey him when he pulls the strings? We will learn the answer in the following article.