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> I am a bit shocked that it works though

It's a shaming mechanism.

If an official is committed to collecting a bribe, it will be useless. But some corrupt officials might be responsive to a verbal dressing down. Handing over a zero-rupee note is less intimidating than delivering a lecture.




I think it’s also a strong statement of your position when it comes to bribes.

A shakedown for a bribe is a negotiation. If a person is told “pay this $100 fee right now or I’ll have to take you in” and says “no”, the cop may lower the price, raise the price, threaten more, or follow through on the threat to try to get the person to pay up. But if you have a piece of paper that says “I am so against bribery that I carry around pieces of paper that say so” it makes the cop lose hope of getting the bribe. At that point, why bother with the work of arresting them?


>why bother with the work of arresting them?

Sport, ego, anger, setting precedent, higher payout after arresting etc. Any number of reasons. It's all fun and games to give 0 rupee notes, until you are locked up. And then your bribe to get out has gone up manifold, unless you are willing to fight it out in a court (which you aren't).


I'd get rum, cushions and a book delivered under the guise of someone claiming to be fetching money.

edit - and a bundle of zero rupee notes to distribute round the jail, along with half the rum and a promise to send more rum, the quicker I get out.


Arrested by a corrupt cop? Just send out for some rum and a book. One has to wonder why more people don't do this. Instead they spend their time worrying that maybe something unpleasant will happen.


This is why I have just shared the rum with people with extravagant facial tattoos.


Good point. I really was drawing out the best use case for this note. It could certainly go wrong.


>> A shakedown for a bribe is a negotiation.

It's only a negotiation if the official has any chance of being prosecuted for that bribe.

>> But if you have a piece of paper that says “I am so against bribery that I carry around pieces of paper that say so” it makes the cop lose hope of getting the bribe.

Or well, the cop simply arrests you and puts you in jail for a week during which you can't go to work to afford food for your children.

>> If a person is told “pay this $100 fee right now or I’ll have to take you in” and says “no”, the cop may lower the price, raise the price, threaten more, or follow through on the threat to try to get the person to pay up.

There was a thing in Russia about a decade ago for people driving cars with European plates: a cop stops you and says you're drunk. You argue with him, so he takes you to a doctor. Doctor says you're drunk.

So the bribes went as $10 for the first time and then $100 at the doctor's. If you were smart you knew you could loose the license in Russia and then simply report it stolen in Europe because nobody shared databases.


>> It's only a negotiation if the official has any chance of being prosecuted for that bribe.

I’m not saying it’s fair, but it is a negotiation. There are offers and counteroffers that are accepted and denied.


The beauty I see in it is that the corrupt official is offered the option to then pass this note on to someone else, whether that be whoever he needs to bribe or just a friend or family member affected by corruption. Giving someone else an alternative rather than just refusing to cooperate can catch them off guard and be quite disarming.


There is no beauty in it, you need to understand power play and how it manifests in real life. The official is taking bribe, because you have a need for some thing to be done and he wields power over you. If you do such nonsense, your work simply won't be done, and the official will simply create additional hurdles.


I understand power play. Are you saying the Zero Rupee Note doesn't achieve anything?


Yes, the Zero Rupee Note does not achieve anything at all. For e.g. if a traffic cop stops you, the first thing he does is that he takes your driver license. Good luck getting it back with your fancy Zero Rupee note.


You're daring them to bust you for it.




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