Bribery 101 – how (not) to improve Nepali Kleptocracy

The morning breakfast discussion today was about Syria and how the Assad regime is killing people in the name of rebel politics. We all agreed on strongly condemning  the use of Nerve gas, but were divided on foreign intervention to a country in Civil War. Through some interesting topics that included crazy North Korean leader, to Geese chasing dogs, and Orange Chicken Eggs, we then turned to bribery. This got interesting on one fact on how developed nations when compared to developing ones (like Nepal) have legalized way of bribing, and how “pre” and “post” bribing makes a difference.

World Map
image – perception of corruption

Regular Nepali Bribing – the post bribing affairIn Nepal and most of the South Asia (personal generalized notion), we have a form of bribing which is crude and rudimentary.  Though there is a strong culture of political campaign bribing as a form of pre bribing; most of the bribing is done only after the one is in post/power. “The One” here denotes the individuals/organization or corporation who are at the receiving end of bribery. For better understanding let us give these cohort some names.

  • giver (lets call them – “G”)  =  any individual/organization or corporation who are giving bribes, and/or who want certain specific things get done.
  • taker (lets call them – “T”)= any individual/organization or corporation who are taking bribes, and/or whi have the power to get something done.

Two pre bribing examples in Nepal

  • Business and Cooperate House bribing the Tax Collecting Institutes [only after there is a problem]
  • Employees, managers, or salespeople of a business may offer money or gifts to a potential client in exchange for business.

In both these cases, bribing is the affair among the one who can make a difference, and the one who wants to get the difference. Developed Bribing – the pre bribing affair The knowledge of “pre-bribibg” is very new to me, and as such, I may not have the grasp of the idea presented here. Any comments/examples and suggestions are highly welcome. The pre bribing efforts are bigger compared to post bribing, in a sense that there is high stake game here among both the parties. Bribing here is more akin to the political campaign, before “T”s are in position/power to make a difference. This came as a very interesting thought to me, as “T”s have not yet reached to a position that can make a difference. Bribing now, is in no means a bribe, but a mere help for future assurance. The amount of money (or any replacement of it) is in larger proportion and with a more rigid stance for future obligations between both the “G”s and “T”s.

The comparison

# feature post bribing pre bribing
1 money involved less very high
2 momentum of bribe less more
3 assurance security for “T”s immediate late
4 stakes for both “G”s and “T”s low high
5 benefits short-term long-term
6 area involved mostly in developing world, involving smaller population and unstable governments.- plus political campaigns mostly in developed world with large cash reserves and stable governments.

The Fundamentals of Bribing

  1. Shakedown
  2. Negotiation
  3. Deal

(Bad) examples of bribing in Nepal (for my age)

  • Bribing the traffic police within the city – to get away with driving under alcohol
  • Bribing the traffic police / regular police on the highway – to get away with .. (so many things, except may be killing)
  • Bribing to get Drivers License – last I checked it was Nrs.14,000 for a combo license for bikes and four wheels (small). Don’t know what it is today. Disclosure – I got my license in all legal and legitimate method.
  • Bribing at government offices

3 Rules – of (not) Bribing

This is the part of this blog post which has some basic good words in it. More like a preventive features on how not to bribe. Back in Nepal, there is a lot of bribing day-in-and-out. I am not proud of it, but I have on occasions bribed few “T”s to get my things done. Bribing can however be thwarted by few right measures. Following three rules are taken from the internet, and I think they are wonderful. [1]

  1. Know the laws. The more information you have the better position you are in to resist the fear that can lead to a bribe.
  2. Never give a bribe to someone just to gain a free or exclusive benefit. You end up contributing to the ruin of that which you came to see in the first place.
  3. Don’t put yourself in a compromising situation to begin with.

Going Back – corruption hypothesis..

I wrote something about corruption back in January 2013. Here is the link to the article. This article is the follow up for it. Once again, the formula is

corruption = greed + opportunity

so how do we (not) improve?

simple, switch the type of bribery from “post” to “pre” and you get a larger scale bribery. Its not there in Nepal, not yet.

Read More

  1. My Own Article – my corruption hypothesis – from Nepal [blog post]
  2. When to Bribe? How to Bribe? Do you bribe? [Todd’s Wandering] [blog post]
  3. Bribery [Wikipedia] [web link]
  4. Study Finds 40% of South Asians Have Paid a Bribe in the Past Year [report]

my corruption hypothesis – from Nepal

disclaimer – I have no formal education in economics, business, or management. I could never be a good politician in my school, high school, or college – due to my ignorance and other really important stuff. The following (satires) are from my own perspective on politics from Nepal and similar developing nations in Asia. Any resemblance to any thing (person, donkeys, cats, trees, hammer, nails etc) else is pure co-incidental.

corruption = greed + opportunity

Following are some hypotheses regarding ‘corruption in nepal’. These are based on above general rule of corruption. Both greed and opportunity must be present for all the below hypotheses.

hypothesis 1.level of corruption is directly proportion to the socio-economic status of the corrupted

Those with greater need for richness corrupt more. Example.1. A person in need of urgent money, is unlikely to return the wallet full of cash s/he finds while walking alone. Example.2. A government official will take maximum amount of available bribe option, if he has greater need to support his family. Example.3. A politician or minister of the state is more likely to be more corrupted if s/he has had rough times growing up, with poor family background.

corollary one. corruption level increases if one has more family and relatives to feed. Example.4. Large family and joint family culture has more mouth to feed, and hence more money is needed.

hypothesis 2.corruption depends more on courage than one education and intelligence

corollary two. courage index for corruption increases on successive corruptions,

hypothesis 3.corruption increases with the level of hierarchy in any given office

hypothesis 4.not all corruptions are in a single system, but all systems can be corrupted

hypothesis 5.corruption is “necessary evil” for developing countries like nepal

Following are some more hypothesis, that I am not quite sure about. I have even less clarity on following hypotheses.

hypothesis 6.corruption has seasonal spikes before festivals and important state holidays

hypothesis 7.corruption is all or none phenomenon

hypothesis 8.corruption is not gender neutral

Above presented hypothesis could be explored. Invitation for anyone to proceed on these work. Also, since there are seven billion plus minds out in this world, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone else already has these hypothesis under their name. But right now, I have no knowledge of similar work any where else till this point of time. My ignorance, due to the cold winter.

Top five corruption (present in Nepal – according to me)

5.  Corruption in Public/Private Tax payment

4. Corruption in Government Contracts

3. Corruption in Education

2. Corruption in Medicine and Health

1. Corruption in Law and Justice

P.S. – I will be updating this post, with more examples for each of my hypothesis.

P.S.II. – The follow up to this post was written on September 4, 2013 – and its about bribe/bribing. Link to the new post is here.

next post – Jan 8, 2013. 7.30am. NST – taking four day break.