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Why are some countries so much more corrupt than others?

Germany in the early 70s. Coming off night shift, we were followed for some distance by the Polizei who drew up next to us when we got home. Driver was told one of his rear lights wasn't working but if you give me 10 marks it's all forgotten.

Some time later, one guy drove up and Umleitung (road works blocking the road) rather than go the 10k round. Again, give me 10 marks and all is forgotten.

Low level corruption maybe.


I beg to differ, April 1st 1979, I got done for speeding, 10 marks, for which I got a receipt, which I still have. That's how I know the date.
 

Tool

LE
India only orange? The place is a byword for corruption. Buckshee (sp?) anyone.

We used to have a formal procedure for entering the country. The cabin manager would write off a bottle of scotch, stick it in a duty free bag and give it to the Captain. The Captain would then present himself and ship’s docs at immigration and forget to pick up “his” duty free placed at his feet.

A quick glance from the incorruptible immigration chap and stamp-stamp-stamp all over the paperwork, a nod and off we all toddled, minus a duty free bag.

Westland did for that and the dweebs from Corporate Governance got involved.

It now takes 3 hours to get a crew into the country.
India appears to be trying to get rid of corruption. I was there about 4 years ago, when the average Indian could be assured of paying about Rs4000 (4 thousand rupees) if they are rural, and about Rs6000 for urban families per year, when the average salary is about Rs300,000 (sorry, I don'do Crore). As a Westerner, in Lal Bagh in Bangalore the Indians made it clear that there was NO corruption, but further south it was a lot more rife.
 
I dont know which authority you worked for but I am a consultant for a West Midlands county council and very little of that goes on these days.

A few years ago I worked on a £ multi million development project. The developer invited me to a celebration meal post signing of the contracts. I was told in no uncertain terms that attending it would breach the anti corruption legislation so I could not go (the Bribery Act, 2010 as continuingly updated). At a further meeting the developers gave me a bottle of wine instead. As per my contract I had to declare the fact on the Interests Register. I was told I either had to return it or donate it to the office Christmas raffle.

You may think it is easy to get around by just not declaring something on the Interests Register. A senior officer involved in the management of the council's land estate "forgot" to declare his brother in laws interest in a company that had an overage in a parcel of land that the council acquired. After an internal audit (and they do alot of digging into capital projects) the interest was discovered, senior officer suspended and then dismissed for gross misconduct.

In essence, corruption may happen but certainly where I work, by applying the law they make it far harder for it to happen. They even have trackers on some plant and machinery and monitor mileage to ensure the weekend moonlighting you referred to is hard to get away with.
Those sort of things used to be so rife that a lot of people simply refuse to believe they no longer go on. These days competence (or lack of) seems to be a bigger problem in local government.
 
I beg to differ, April 1st 1979, I got done for speeding, 10 marks, for which I got a receipt, which I still have. That's how I know the date.

April fool...
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Whilst in Nepal many years ago was speaking to a Nepalese diplomat. He was on leave from being an ambassador somewhere and the subject of corruption came up.

His comment on the corruption in Nepal compared to the West was that because it was everywhere and everyone was open about it, it was therefore an honest corruption.

In today's terminology I would probably say transparent.

I think he had a very valid point.
 
Whilst in Nepal many years ago was speaking to a Nepalese diplomat. He was on leave from being an ambassador somewhere and the subject of corruption came up.

His comment on the corruption in Nepal compared to the West was that because it was everywhere and everyone was open about it, it was therefore an honest corruption.

In today's terminology I would probably say transparent.

I think he had a very valid point.

I was talking to a po-faced wife of a university chum a few years ago, when I was working in Iraq. When I said that it was still a very corrupt country she looked at me with pure hatred and said "that's a bit racist". I asked if she had ever been there - no. I then pointed out that due to cultural norms, and the myriad of factions in the country (village, tribal, regional, religious...) and that they had just come through years of conflict in the form of an occupation and civil war, that forward planning was essentially not possible and that the 'take what is available now' was the prevalent thinking. I offered no judgement on it other than to say it happened and that we in the west liked to think that we were above this behaviour, only we did it in a different way (seats on the board, non-executive directorships etc). She still looked prune-faced and happily did not speak to me for the rest of the evening.

Another country worth mentioning is Switzerland. A land of order, punctuality, strict adherence to a civic code (cleaning snow off pavements outside your house etc) but of astonishing laxity when it comes to the provenance of funds so long as they get to manage them. I'd have to double check my source, but supposedly Eisenhower was so determined to punish the Swiss for their "neutrality" (think of the countless Jewish families still trying to get their money and paintings back) that he stopped all coal trains entering the country during the winter of 1945, thereby forcing people to use up their precious wood reserves and even having to burn property in order to stay warm.

Corruption is pretty much everywhere. It's just practiced in different ways and there is a form of snobbery about what form of it is deemed acceptable.
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
The grand British tradition of paying (or offering to pay) a workman cash in hand is as fine as example of widespread low level corruption as exists.
 

QRK2

LE
I was talking to a po-faced wife of a university chum a few years ago, when I was working in Iraq. When I said that it was still a very corrupt country she looked at me with pure hatred and said "that's a bit racist". I asked if she had ever been there - no. I then pointed out that due to cultural norms, and the myriad of factions in the country (village, tribal, regional, religious...) and that they had just come through years of conflict in the form of an occupation and civil war, that forward planning was essentially not possible and that the 'take what is available now' was the prevalent thinking. I offered no judgement on it other than to say it happened and that we in the west liked to think that we were above this behaviour, only we did it in a different way (seats on the board, non-executive directorships etc). She still looked prune-faced and happily did not speak to me for the rest of the evening.

Another country worth mentioning is Switzerland. A land of order, punctuality, strict adherence to a civic code (cleaning snow off pavements outside your house etc) but of astonishing laxity when it comes to the provenance of funds so long as they get to manage them. I'd have to double check my source, but supposedly Eisenhower was so determined to punish the Swiss for their "neutrality" (think of the countless Jewish families still trying to get their money and paintings back) that he stopped all coal trains entering the country during the winter of 1945, thereby forcing people to use up their precious wood reserves and even having to burn property in order to stay warm.

Corruption is pretty much everywhere. It's just practiced in different ways and there is a form of snobbery about what form of it is deemed acceptable.

Interesting you should mention the Swiss, the Swiss practices of major international accountancy firms (and by extension I imagine other financial 'professions') were very much against international implementation of conflict of interest and 'insider trading' regulations across said firms. It was seen as very much a 'perk' of the job.
 
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