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Friday, 1 October 2010

I PAID A BRIBE AND I DIDN'T LIKE IT

Hat tip for this one to the otherwise deranged Keynesian accountant Richard Murphy.

I too have not paid a bribe, but hopefully the title of the post caught your eye. In fact, I haven't had an opportunity to do so, having worked outside Greece my entire working life. My last run-in with bribery was back in 2001 when I got my driver's licence - the instructor asked, just before my test began, whether I wanted to do a deal with the examiners. I didn't, and happily still passed. I now hear that the typical bribe for this is EUR300, which strikes me as a very lucrative business to be in.

The website I Paid A Bribe comes straight from Bangalore, India, a place that is, incredibly, even worse than Greece for such things. The idea is simple: if you've paid a bribe, blow the whistle on the relevant business or  public authority anonymously. The clever bit is that the website refuses to record which individual you bribed as such (guessing correctly that this would open up the whistleblowing process to extreme abuse) but focuses on changing processes.

It also accepts reports from people who were asked to pay bribes but refused, people who didn't have to pay bribes where they had perhaps expected to and want to congratulate the authorities, and people who are currently being blackmailed for a bribe and are unhappy with this arrangement. All stories are posted online.

What is even more ingenuous is that the website posts the amount of bribes paid, which effectively makes it a price comparison website for corruption. I am particularly interested in this because, in cultures where bribery is entrenched it can take decades to eradicate through the "hearts and minds" approach. On the other hand, a price comparison website can drive the price of corruption "services" down, which is almost as good. With time, people will find that the returns do not justify the risk and just go back to the day job.

Note to all the Troktiko clones out there: set up a website like this and I promise I'll stop calling you and your readers semi-literate clowns.

5 comments:

  1. Brilliant - i wonder if you could make the data work for a paper...

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Alex: You are of course much better placed to assess this, but I think so, yes. I suggest you contact the guys at info@ipaidabribe.com

    You will be happy to find that these people are academic researchers too: http://janaagraha.org/node/1889

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Manos

    Greetings from I Paid a Bribe!

    Thank you for featuring I Paid a Bribe on your blog!

    For updates on IPAB activities follow us on fb and twitter.

    Thanks
    IPAB

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Alexander: Get in touch with IPAB at info@ipaidabribe.com. We could take it forward from there.

    ReplyDelete
  5. @IPAB thanks for getting in touch! Your work is extremely important. Will follow promptly on fb and as @ACCA_SME on twitter.

    ReplyDelete

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