Eastern Europe is like that as well. Corruption is a way of life. It starts from bribing the doctor who will deliver the baby, to bribing kindergarten teachers, to high school teachers, paying to cheat on a state exam, buying a driver's license etc, until bribing the cemetery to take make an extra spot for the deceased when the person dies.
Pretty much any interaction with a state could involve bribery and corruption. From the most mundane things, like a traffic stop, to paying a bribe to get away with murder.
In school I remember people who did very badly during the year often ended up miraculously get good grades on finals. Cases of judges being paid off to exonerate criminals were common.
One of the lowest of the low scam artist was an acquintance of a neighbor living next door. That person worked for a DNA testing lab. They did criminal testing as well as paternity testing. You can imagine the kind of things they were dealing with and the pain they were causing. They drove a fancy car and had a big house on the outskirts of the city -- all on a lab technician's salary.
Corruption is the reason I cannot tollerate visiting that part of the world anymore. It really angers and gets to me. It is not the poverty, crime, bad infrastructure, I can handle those things, but I can't handle corruption.
If corruption was lower where I'm from, Portugal, we could easily double our GDP.
Corruption makes people miserable and not only the ones forced to pay the bribes.
It's like an unwritten and arbitrary set of rules that turns simple transactions into negotiations.
This not only saps energy and time but it is also deeply unfair as you are raised in a set of official written rules and moral guidelines that in practice are not observed are useless and can downright hurt you if you follow them naively.
I think corruption is one of the reasons why Southern European countries are so economically conservative and risk averse.
It is much more difficult to have a business in these environments.
Italian here. It's not just corruption here but almost every social interaction is built as an exchange of favours. From having a job to not getting screwed from the auto shop, you live off a network of people owing you and you get in their circles by owing them back. It's a very powerful system because everyone understands the honour it's based on, you can't track it because it's immaterial and it's so widespread that you get huge pressure to cave in and become part of the system.
I was born and raised in the USA, but my parents emigrated from Italy.
About 20 years ago, my brother applied to grad school @ MIT (physics department).
Somehow, my father got it in his mind that he would "help out" by contacting the US Congressman in our district (whom he knew somewhat well) so that the Congressman could contact the physics department and facilitate my brother's acceptance.
Predictably, my brother blew a head-gasket. He tried explaining that:
* he would feel incredible shame if he was accepted due to outside meddling.
* the chances of this working to my brother's advantage were approximately zero.
* it might even _reduce_ the likelihood of acceptance.
The funniest part was that my father was bewildered by our reaction. His attitude was _"I don't understand you people. This is how you get things done!"_
That's the terrible thing about corruption. Sometimes it's not based in selfishness, but in honor and generosity.
It's just that old ideas about being honorable, a good provider, putting family and friends first and all that, are actually pretty terrible in modern bureaucracies.
Or the "old ideas"?
Corruption could be fallout of illiteracy, or maybe, lack of corruption could be a fallout of advancing literacy.
India still has terrible public education, so it may take them longer to catch up.
India is a _very_ big country; as big as all of Europe, if not bigger. There are parts of India that are highly educated; in fact, the southern Indian state of Kerala has nearly 100% literacy. And corruption is plentiful there too.
Dismantling this is hard work, and you cannot simply destroy a bureaucracy without having a replacement ready (or chaos). WWII was good for Europe in some ways, because it massively destroyed the aristocracy and a lot of bureaucracy along with it. It was effectively a reboot of society, backed by a lot of cheap funding.
Yes, you can find corruption over there and especially a lot of influence and favour trading BUT at least people are aware that it is both criminal and wrong, not a way of life or "the way things work".
Generators without internal resistance are fine, but don't short them, if they are high energy.
I personally find it a lot less stressful than living in Canada where every time I see a cop I get a little adrenaline rush of fear.
Anyways, most of the other things on your list exist in Canada too, we just don't call it bribery, we call it "private clinics", "private school", "private motorcycle training academy where your instructor, who's the same person you're paying and reviewing, is the one who gives you your license".
Also East Europe is a big place, and it is all different. What works in Russia or Ukraine might work only in a limited way in Hungary and the Baltics, and don't work at all in Slovakia. In Europe, it strongly depends on the fraction of Orthodox population. There is nothing like that in Czech Republic, for example. Interestingly wealth doesn't change that. Cyprus is rich, and Greece used to be rich until recently, and they are ridden with corruption from top to bottom.
Wait, what? Mind unpacking that idea a bit?
The problem with corrupt isn't that the rules benefit one party or another, rather that they are unpredictable.
So the enforcement randomness is the same, it's just the penalties are stiffer and longer-lasting.
My wife is from a country with ingrained corruption and her sister's husband is a police officer. Her cousin works at a notary's office, an institution who's only purpose is systematic corruption, and her husband narrowly escaped prison in a finance scandal at a company he ran through means that shall we say were less than ethical. Until you experience life in a place like that, you just can't really imagine what it's actually like.
There's a world of difference between a country ruled by laws in which there is some corruption, and a country that is ruled by corruption in which there are some laws.
And no, it really isn't unsafe to go at the speed limit. Driving at 20mph on a highway can cause problems, but going 10-15mph slower than traffic in the rightmost lane is not going to cause any accidents.
Power is just as capricious, wherever you are in the world. People that select to be in positions of power are rarely the kind of people who can be trusted to always execute that power honestly.
I see where the comment parent is coming from.
> People that select to be in positions of power are rarely the kind of people who can be trusted to always execute that power honestly.
I think this is an exaggeration. People that select to be in positions of power are not always the kind of people who can be trusted to always execute that power honestly.
The difference in degree of corruption in a country is roughly the same thing as the trustability of people in positions of power.
The highway will be lined with cars being pulled over.
I think you bring up good points about the relative scariness of Western selective enforcement as compared to developing world systemic corruption. Seems like if you keep your head up, you can escape getting targeted by the corrupt status quo. But in the West, people seem to get caught up in political whirlwinds with frightening randomness. Some dude's carrying cash to complete a seemingly routine business transaction the same way everybody in his town's always done it, and gets targeted for asset forfeiture.
The scale of Western corruption can't rise to the level of the whole society, and that on the whole seems to make it worse rather than better when it actually surfaces.
No, they're not. Perhaps in some states but not on average. I'm in Pennsylvania so can only use those numbers. There is the base fine (which can be doubled if you're in a work zone or an area with posted signs to that effect) and surcharges.
Fine (25-55mph/40-90km/hr zone): $45-95
Fine (65 mph/105km/hr zone): $44.50-102.50
EMS Surcharge: $10
JCP Surcharge: $10
Court costs: Varies, last ticket I got was in 2010 and I think it was $7.50
MCARE: $50 for speeding, additional surcharges for additional offenses (e.g. passing a stopped school bus)
I don't mean any of this to minimize your comment regarding selective enforcement. I've passed police who were doing speed enforcement at 15+ over the limit and seen others pulled over; I've been pulled over when there were others readily available going faster than me.
Edit: s/street racing/stunt driving/
Like most enforcement in the US, there seems to be a great deal of discretion in what the police officer can actually do to you, everything from a warning to a large ticket ($475 for my example w/ a reckless driving citation, which will also probably cause you to lose your car insurance).
But why people complain, I wonder? Isn't endemic bribery a realization of the libertarian dream? People setting up to collect as much toll as they can from you while you voluntarily try to access a resource - that's literally the free market solution! /s
One time I set off the fire alarm and they sent emergency services over. They came, investigated the situation, saw that I was just a terrible cook, gave me some advice and left.
If India had the same notifying fire alarms, everyone would have them disabled because the probability of having to pay a bribe would be exactly 1.
The only point the GP has is that corruption is the oil of bureaucracy. In Guatemala, for instance, they started this whole anti-corruption drive a bit ago. Didn't really help; the president and vice president are now in jail for their part in a massive theft of taxes.
But for the regular people? Importing a container? Good luck. Before, you could pay the clerks to work overtime and move you to the top of the pile after 5pm. Now they've got all these annoying receipt systems so you have no way of doing this unless you're a serious player and turn a ton of people. Who wins here?
Well are moving back to Vietnam and Romania to live? Most people living in Canada or US would have that freedom. Most people form Vietnam or Romania can't just pick up and move to Canada if they want to.
Instead I kindly ask you to elaborate on just one situation, where exceeding the speed limit avoids danger.
Edited to add : To be clear: Speeding up upon overtaking doesn't count. If you need to do that you should not have overtaken in the first place, since it was obviously dangerous.
[Of course, you'd never get a ticket in this situation, and I think there are even legal provisions regarding respecting the "flow of traffic" in some US states.]
This is exactly how I got my first ticket. I was moving with the flow of traffic, which was going about 15mph over the 55mph speed limit on a busy four lane divided highway. Highway Patrol flew up out of nowhere, angrily berated me for five minutes, and gave me a speeding ticket.
Now I just go the speed limit. People cuss me out and flip me off, but that's preferable to paying several hundred dollars. (And for me, it turns out not to really be worth it anyway. Most places I go speeding saves me < 5 minutes, and I get much better gas mileage, up to 48mpg, accelerating slowly and not driving faster than 65mph.)
Can you, by the way, cite any state laws explicitly saying it is OK to exceed the posted speed limit if doing so is required to move with the flow of traffic? I have heard this claim a lot but I have never been able to find real proof of it. There are sometimes "flow of traffic" laws applicable if you're driving too far below the posted speed limit, which is assumed (wrongly) to be the maximum "normal and reasonable" speed of normal traffic, and there are laws against driving slowly in the left lanes, and sometimes laws that allow you to speed while passing on a two-lane road, but I have never seen one that was applicable to someone driving at or above the speed limit and would have allowed them to legally speed.
No matter how fast a truck is driving, I don't want to be anywhere near it while driving my motorcycle. Those tires randomly explode (I've seen it happen multiple times) and when a piece hits you, you're dead. I pass them ASAP, no matter how fast I have to go to do it.
With this in mind, think about scenarios where the average speed is above the legal limit: highways, rural roads with no known speed cams, etc. Now imagine heavy traffic and only one participant slowing down to the legal limit.
Here's one US citizen's experience driving on highways in Italy, where I live, describing what safe driving looks like here: https://www.quora.com/Why-do-people-drive-above-the-speed-li...
I have only ever seen Americans and Canadians talking about the necessity to speed to keep up with the flow of traffic (and they have a higher rate of fatal RTAs per 100,000 than most Western European countries – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-r... – Canada is close to Italy, a country that is well known in Western Europe for terrifying traffic, while America is closer to South American countries)
While driving too slow is as dangerous as driving too fast, it's not as dangerous as the Solomon curve suggests, according to the article you linked:
> Reporting on these results in 1971, academics West and Dunn confirmed the findings of Solomon and Cirillo, but found that crashes involving turning vehicles accounted for 44 percent of all crashes observed in the study and that excluding these crashes from the analysis greatly attenuated the factors that created the U-shape of the Solomon curve.
The topic of this conversation also seems to oddly mirror the course of the story from the original article. Minor acts of breaking a just law, justified on an individual basis, lead to a society in which regularly breaking that law is accepted – and indeed enforced – by the state.
That is probably why people are downvoting your parent comment.
For the record I don't have the ability or the desire to have the ability to downvote.
Is it? The death toll is average to low compared to the rest of Europe: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_safety/pdf/gis/mapcare_fa...
And it's low compared to the rest of the world: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-r...
The main reason for how people in the West of Europe seem to perceive Italian driving has traditionally been Rome: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/31986...
My personal experience travelling in both Sicily and Rome was that people don't pay attention to lanes and don't care about traffic lights at all, and they're not afraid to drive quickly around tight corners and down narrow streets – this is not unique and is similar to how some areas of the UK drive, for example rural Essex and rural Wales have a lot of this.
Italy may have an unfair reputation as being a dangerous place to drive, but it does have that reputation in Western European countries.
As in the article, for every engine, paid for by rich applicants, there was at least one(but probably upto 6 by my estimates) bogie, low paying applicants. Since the investigation will take years, by which time the evidence would be eroded and so would the faith in The State. Since India is growing economy with multitudes of social issues, the economic inequality would further increase inequality, creating more of a market for corruption.
if it were that seperable
Once this kind of thing is established, it is game-theoretically very stable (tit for tat, etc.) and is virtually impossible to uproot without some kind of catastrophic purge or apocalyptic collapse.
Congressmen earn $174,000. That's not a huge amount for a group that largely consists of successful lawyers, with a smattering of doctors and other businessmen. Many of them are millionaires before they take office.
The governor of my state (Virginia) is paid $175,000. Again, pretty good money. But, the current governor, Terry McAuliffe, was a successful banker and real estate developer prior to entering politics.
And, as noted in a sibling comment, the real problem isn't corrupt politicians. Corrupt bureaucrats are a much worse problem for an average citizen's day to day life. And those bureaucrats are not paid anywhere near as well as the politicians.
They are excessively paid relative to the average American and their salaries should be curtailed to that of average American's so there might be some incentive to improving that. People bemoan golden parachutes of some executives in the private world but would be aghast if they learned just how overpaid many state elected and appointed officials are and some even double dip.
Political office should be service, not a damn lottery winning
There are many factors, but the big ones are population acceptance and the risk of getting caught.
In the absence of any negative repercussion for being caught, and in a culture that normalizes corruption, higher salaries don't make the majority of these people non-corrupt.
Economic inequality is both a cause and an effect of corruption. But it is not true that high wages for public servants are a vaccine against corruption.
I don't think it does
As long as you have a salary you can support yourself and your family on, I don't think higher salary == less corruption. Au contraire, I believe that once you have a sufficiently high income/wealth it's very easy to start to disassociate with the "people" with an average (or lower) income/wealth. That disassociation can then easily lead to moral superiority, that you are above the law/morals of the common man.
Bullshit. The military deposed him because they were grabbing power and because they were worried about his close relationship with the crown prince.
Thaksin's power base lies in the rural poverty-stricken north. He was the first politician to actually help them. That's why he was so popular.
They all knew he was corrupt, but their choice was between corrupt who would help them and corrupt who would fuck them.
Thailand turned from a democracy into a dictatorship because of power hungry assholes. It had nothing to do with corruption.
Really? That would be a fine reason, but it may have more to do with the amount of power and influence they wield, even over those who determine their salaries.
>It is not the ... crime ... I can handle
bs, corruption is a crime fwiw
I don't hate going to work, I don't mind going home either, it's just the time in between that gets me.
Not that hard. Small time corruption might not be so pervasive, but there are judges who take bribes to send kids to private jails.
The places I am talking about it would be national news if there was a judge who doesn't take bribes. So no, it is not even a close comparison.
In the past I believed that poverty was largely due to a lack of resources (food, housing, etc) but I've come to believe that corruption is actually the source of this "lack of resources" -- the resources are most likely not lacking at all, they are probably just being distributed in a massively improper way due to corruption.
When you see the amount of poverty on the streets of Mumbai in person and realize that the government is involved in just ONE scam with a value of up to 22 billion pounds, it really brings things into focus.
And parts of the developed world, like the US, are just as corrupt (or more corrupt) than India, only in different and potentially even more damaging ways, like having an election system captured by corporations.
Until corruption is tackled, I don't think we're going to solve issues like poverty, hunger, and climate change. But corruption can only thrive in the dark and my hope is that the internet will allow a light to be shined in the dark corners of both developed and developing nations.
Maybe the ultimate question we should ask is why individual people feel the need to accumulate enormous sums of wealth, at all. My opinion is that it is the result of deep-seated fears about "losing everything" and ending up impoverished. Until societies can guarantee EVERY citizen a right to food and shelter, regardless of the ability of the person to create income, the citizens of that society will manifest their fear in the form of hording and, sometimes, corruption.
I have no problem with people like Bill Gates earning vast amounts of money by adding value to the world, but we can allow individuals to accumulate that sort of wealth while still proving a safety net for every individual in society. Perhaps this safety net will assuage the fear that, I believe, ultimately inspires at least a good portion of corruption.
Despite all of humanity's achievements, we are still living like animals, ruled by fear, where the law of the jungle still reigns.
I'll just have to disagree. The one thing every single Brazilian comments after traveling to the US or Western Europe is how honest and rule-based everything is.
You do have a corruption problem in the US, and it seems to be growing. Just don't think it's as big as in the developing countries.
I tend to agree that insane drive to accumulate wealth just-to-be-covered ain't the most healthy drive for stable, equal society. It has positive effect of people trying really hard to succeed, giving their best, just to get a juicy slice of wealth, for whatever reasons. It has all kinds of negative effects too, which seem to accumulate as we see these days.
which is more beneficial for mankind in long term I have no clue - stable steady but probably slower development of mankind vs push for wealth which brings many innovations to society, with great inequalities arising (leading maybe to new cast system, which is a truly horrible thing)
I absolutely agree with you, and this is why I think FOSS culture has taken off and built such effective tools. Sure, corruption can and does happen with FOSS, but it's hard to hide when the entire process is transparent. That forces you to do things the "right" way, rather than "in the dark"
I am not short on India, but I am not long on it either. Its a country with potential to be great, but many of us know, will not be great in our lifetimes.
The common man foots the bill, and pays blood money to survive. The recent floods in Chennai (a metropolitan city) was because of corruption and encroachment of lake beds, marshland, improper management of reservoirs, blocked canals, etc and lead to the death of an unknown number (~350) of individuals.
There was a huge anti-corruption drive a couple years back which culminated in a new political party (AAP) which won Delhi elections, and now they've been blocked from working because of ludicrous reasons.
The right-wing is alive and well, and any criticism/investigations of parties that are part of it is met with huge protests and name calling.
It gets really silly and petty, and one has to wonder if most of us are really educated (morally, ethically and in things that matter) other than being able to string together sentences in a foreign language or copy-pasting from elsewhere.
1,00,000 = 1 lakh
1,05,000 = 1 lakh + 5,000 rupees = 105,000 rupees
There is more to it. I doubt the practices will stop. The cases will be dismissed, and the accused will walk free soon.
Chief Minister's role in the scandal is downplayed.
Corruption in India is worse than what this article wants you to believe.
China is interesting in this respect, on the one hand corruption is rife, on the other it is nominally totally out of bounds and the punishments are severe. I don't understand how those can both be true at the same time without a huge amount of selective enforcement.
My experience with India to date has one of utter amazement at the brashness and the degree to which corruption has infused society there. I suspect that for India a part of it is that it has social classes that are very disjoint. This creates a very fertile growth medium for corruption because it puts a lot of small people in positions of relatively large amounts of power over the lives of others.
For example in the UK, if one were to write a history of corruption-fighting there would be three big strands since the 1500s. Religion: the replacement of a church that sold salvation with (sometimes extreme) Protestant moralism. Military: at one point commissions in the army were bought and sold. This practice was replaced with more meritocratic promotion in order to win wars. And financial: English law seems to be considered one of the world's fairest regimes for contract law, and is often used for contracts between non-English big companies.
You definitely need a few people who are weird and unreasonable to start it off though. Have you seen the movie Serpico? I thought that gave a good portrayal of how odd and antisocial the people who cause that kind of change often are (and the real story was more so e.g. his marriage collapsed as part of the process). If we're going to be really speculative, maybe it takes an individualistic culture to even have that kind of personality?
This applies to direct corruption. There are different, structural kinds of corruption though, like "old boy networks" where business may get handled via personal relations. While still damaging for the society, it probably isn't even illegal in most cases.
I think many people in India, who consider themselves to have morally 'good' - wouldn't bat an eyelid while offering bribes. They don't get push back from peers either. What irked in India is when you try to do the right thing - i.e. not take the corruption shortcut - my peers would tell me I'm stupid or naive or something to that effect. In the US if I say that I attempted corruption, my peers will probably tell me I'm morally depraved. So you need a critical mass of people that enforce and most people just follow along.
The investigation still continues even today.
But this goes without saying, I don't really know. No one really knows. Modi has committed a lot of atrocities during his term as a CM for Gujarath.
The only feeling that sticks with me is, fear/uncertainty of future.
Still not sure why I'm being down voted. I did provide some reasoning as to 'why' I'm being uncertain.
: Well, many. There used to be one, now it has fragmented. But the one being talked about is the Indian National Congress.
Recently, there have been some incidents which have resulted in communal/religious tensions flaring up
India's intellectuals have started criticizing the Government for not speaking out against this violence. In fact, some BJP affiliated people have made some really controversial statements with regards to Muslims in India. Arundhati Roy is among a host of people who are returning their awards in protest of the Government's stance.
And this is major riots with large numbers of deaths not just descrimination.
This liberal crowd is what we call "pseudo-liberal, pseudo-secular". It's all a pretense. These are stooges of the Indian National Congress who spread misinformation among the Indian public. They used divide and rule policy to divide communities among religious lines and then used the minorities for votebanks. India tolerated them for almost 60 years. This is the first time India elected a party apart from Congress with such a huge majority. So the liberal crowd is not really "large". They are few and on the payroll of Indian National Congress (because it was the INC which gave them the honors).
India during the rule of Indian National Congress was effectively put under a National Emergency under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during the 70s (Read more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emergency_(India)). The entire Media was censored, the democratically elected Opposition leaders thrown behind bars (with some who were even sent to gallows but narrowly missed it, some even died) and a mass-sterilization campaign was carried about by them on the Indian public. Can you imagine the Government barging into your house and sterilizing you forcibly so you can never pro-create? None of these so called "liberals" returned their awards and honors during that time. Not even when the same Indian National Congress committed genocide of the Sikhs in 1984 riots (Read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1984_anti-Sikh_riots). They did not do anything when radical Islamists butchered Kashmiri Pandits and drove them out of Kashmir (Read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashmiri_Pandit#Exodus_from_Ka...). Where was this "liberal" crowd then?
However, only after 18 months of BJP coming to power, with Narendra Modi at the helm, they started this drama of "Intolerant India" all because the Bihar (Indian state) elections was underway. As soon as the election was over, they disappeared. Do you hear about any of these so called "liberals" giving away honors now? Nope. Why did this movement suddenly die out? Has India which was intolerant for these so called "liberals" for past 18 months suddenly become tolerant after the elections?
But things are changing now. We have a really strong Prime Minister who is focused on development and bettering India's infrastructure. We have normally stayed away from participating in Wars and always took a neutral stand. However, for the first time, India has taken a stand against ISIS by declaring that it is willing to fight under the UN flag (Read here: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-ready-for-ope...). This would never have happened if the Indian National Congress was at the helm of affairs as we have always refrained from military invasions abroad.
The heads of the Indian National Congress (Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi) on the other hand are facing serious corruption charges and will have to face court proceedings tomorrow (Read more about the case here: http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/bail-for-gandhis-tomorro...).
I tried my best to explain the Indian political situation from my point of view. Hope this helps give more clarity :)
India's improved tons.
I'm not as grey bearded as I should be, I remember the 1980s.
India has come a damn long way.
Politics has improved pretty significantly. "Booth capture" and "license raj" we're actual things, not the bogey men that most people blithely quote.
Vyapam is scary to me because it's a throw back to those times.
We've gone through three major insurgencies, and multiple terror organizations which had destabilized entire states.
What we seem to really have a glut of now is a lot of literate people, but with very little education. (Ie - ability to apply their knowledge in new and novel ways to new and novel situations + willingness to learn more in depth)
The economy has shifted dramatically since the 90s. I've seen a period where there was a wait for phone lines (and 7 digit numbers), to a period where we have more mobiles than people.
India is a marvelously and infuriatingly complex country, the fact that it hasn't imploded itself is step 1.
The right way is probably a test one should merely pass and then lottery. Guarantees that you bring some genuinely worthy people onboard and not just really well connected or spearheaded.
In India or in the US?
Maybe the nsa can help... This is at least a little terror.
It's certainly much easier to publish long, detailed reads online than in newspapers, but I haven't seen any real increase in the numbers.
I'm wondering if print media will find a niche and continue to exist as a medium for long form journalism since I know I'm not the only one who suffers from this type of eye fatigue.
Good. The US habit of putting bullshit criteria in the admission score is just a way to subjectively select the desired candidates regardless of their merit. And there's no objective way to grade essays, extracurricular activities, obligatory volunteering, interviews, teacher recommendations, being liked by the admission officers, being in a hip minority, etc.
They wanted students to be more varied, more well-rounded individuals instead of robots who memorize books. So naturally, they started testing for holistic well-roundedness and Goodhart's law did the rest.
Now they are probably using the subjective tests to attract disadvantaged minorities.