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Yes. Policemen are getting pretty low wages. But there are always a lot of people who want to work there, because they can get bribes. And they actually paying percentage of those bribes to their higher-ups and so on, so it's like a pyramid. And a lot of people want things to stay that way. Policemen are getting good income. Their masters are getting huge income. Ordinary people can pay much less to policeman, than they would pay in fines. It's that terrible win-win to everyone situation and that makes it very hard to destroy.



> It's that terrible win-win to everyone situation and that makes it very hard to destroy.

It does make it sound like there's a bribery-free equilibrium really close by though. Like imagine all of these things happened as part of a single reform:

- Policeman and management salaries go up.

- Fines go down.

- Taxes go up.

- Anti-bribery enforcement goes way up.

The idea would be to acknowledge that regardless of the bribery culture, the typical policeman might be doing a decent job and doesn't necessarily deserve an effective pay cut. The amount of money they're getting today is in some sense their "market rate", and the goal is to improve the efficiency and transparency of the system in other ways without shifting that market rate. Likewise the goal would be that the tax increases for citizens would be designed to match what they're paying in bribes and fines today, so they wouldn't actually end up paying more.

I assume the hard part is that each of these things by itself might make the problem worse, and it's only if they all change at the same time that you get a coherent result that's "good for everyone". And there are probably a ton of other factors to add to the list. (Like tax enforcement. Is it even possible to raise taxes to accommodate salary increases and fee decreases? If the tax code needs to be reformed before people will accept stricter enforcement of it, what are those reforms, and who would fight them?)


People don't respect police, so when government would want to massively increase their salaries, people would protest against it. Fines go down is a good thing for sure, but it'll reduce amount of money going to local budgets, so people in government will protest against it (because they'll need to find money to replace those from reduced fines). Taxes go up: nobody likes it. Anti-bribery goes way up: when everyone's corrupt, nobody wants it.

It might work when someone like president or minister really wants to do that and have support. But it's more like mini-revolution. It's hard to go there evolutionary. But may be I'm wrong.


Hah I really love discussions like that, everyone is right to some certain point.

If there would be one size fits all solution, we’d had one of those.

Generally the quintessence is the big role of money. But you just can’t create money out of nothing. Money comes from actions, money causes actions. If the Cashflow is redirected, something else will suffer from it.


> Fines go down is a good thing for sure, but it'll reduce amount of money going to local budgets

If it increases compliance then the effective revenue might actually go up.


>People don't respect police

Apply Peelian principles? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peelian_Principles)

(I've no idea how.)


> It's hard to go there evolutionary.

Yeah that seems like exactly the problem.


> - Policeman and management salaries go up.

That won't yield much because the gap between even a 100% increase in salary and the amount of bribes they collect is vast.

E.g. salary of an inspector could be, say INR 40k-50k per month but the bribes being collected typically would be millions of INR. Suppose an inspector has 15 people reporting to him who are collecting INR 200 from 300 people per day and the inspectors share in this is just 5%. Then the amount per month is 200 * 300 * 30 * 15 * .05 = INR 1350000. If I assume the salary to be 50k per month, this bribe amount is 27 times that. It is just not possible for the government to get the salary even in the same vicinity (just for kicks, Indian President's salary is about INR 500000 per month).


"The Big Bribe Industry" is a very organized sector and unofficially official. It is absolutely naive to believe that it can be destroyed. It is almost impossible to get a job done in a timely manner without bribing the official.

The rates are fixed. The collection mechanisms are solid. Everyone, from the peon to the minister, gets a cut.


Make it legal, then. Regulate it, call it a fee and problem solved.


No. The moment bribe is legalized, it stops being a bribe. That is, the officials get a kick out of this whole shady operation. If we deny them this pleasure, they will find other ways.

As it stands today, there is no accountability in the whole system. An official can sit on a file for years with no repercussions. You can drag them to court, but sooner than later you will understand that this is a battle you can never win. The official has the power and money of the government behind him while you are totally alone. Most importantly, the official has time while you do not.


That is basically what they did in Georgia, and it seems to have been very effective: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikheil_Saakashvili#Economic_a...


That's a very accurate description of how it is where I live. But at the end you call it a terrible win-win for everyone. If it's a win-win for everyone how can it also be terrible?


I think that it's like local maximum. There's higher maximum when everyone obeys the law and everyone's getting good salary. But it's hard to move there, because nobody wants to do it now. Also it creates bad incentive for police to arrest innocent people and to blackmail money from them for things they did not do, and it does not punish enough those who need punishment, so they do not learn their lessons and continue to break laws.


Because people are getting away with ignoring the law, and in turn that makes bad laws more transparent, which in turn give people even more incentives to bribe their way out of situations.

Bribes are also tax-exempt.


> Bribes are also tax-exempt

It's not a terrible idea.

I heard that post-war Germany had a massive corruption problem so they made bribing legal (but not bribe taking) and bribes tax-exempt. So everyone declared their bribes on their tax returns, the bribees were discouraged (or prosecuted) and the problem was solved. But this only works if you pursue the bribe takers.


Fascinating.

"See Implementing the 1996 OECD Recommendation on the Tax Deductibility of Bribes to Foreign Public Officials, OECD (May 26, 1997) (Report by the Committee on Fiscal Affairs ("CFA") to the OECD Council at Ministerial Level) [hereinafter Implementation of Tax Deductibility Recommendation] (describing current member state practices regarding the tax treatment of overseas bribes). Attitudes of OECD Member countries concerning the deductibility of bribes to foreign officials vary greatly. See id. at 7. The laws vary accordingly but in most countries, bribes across borders are deductible as business expenses. See id. at 7-8; M. Javade Chaudri, OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (Conference on Corruption, American University, Washington College of Law. April 6. 1998). in 2 COMBATING CORRUPTION-RECENT MULTILATERAL INITIATIVES 252 (1998) [hereinafter 2 COMBATING CORRUPTION I (on file with author) (summarizing and analyzing the OECD Convention, listing the signatories to its provisions, and noting that foreign bribery and related tax-deductibility is an accepted German business practice). The OECD Member countries are: Australia, Austria, Belgium. Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland. France. Germany. Greece. Hungary. Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands. New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Spain. Sweden. Switzerland. Turkey. United Kingdom, United States. See id. at 261."

http://digitalcommons.wcl.american.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?a... (PDF)


In the USA the bribe revenue would not be tax-exempt. Failing to pay tax on it would be another infraction.


Well, they're practically tax exempt, then. It's not like you're adding a bribes line on your tax report.


And? INAL but I believe taking bribes is worse legally than not paying taxes so if you are willing to do the former, then why does the latter really matter? If you are going to take bribes, you are obviously not going to report it for fear of that second infraction because the first one would be worse and thus you wouldn't take the bribe in the first place if the latter infraction scared you.


It's kind of an "on paper" crime, a la Al Capone. You'll get caught quicker if you have a manual audit after paying bribes. The IRS keeps your returns private, for the most part, and if you don't pay you could have 10 years tacked on.


It makes some laws impossible to enforce. Why even make enviromental regulations when everyone will just bribe their way out of them?


I tend to think the corrupt way is often more fair than nothing. But less fair than a less corrupt system. Notable legal corruption is totally a thing. Just because you're not expected to bribe an police officer doesn't mean the system isn't exploitative.


A weird thought crosses my mind...

"Justice delayed is justice denied"

Does an immediate "fine" on the spot deter criminal behavior?


Not if collecting the fine is itself criminal behaviour.


Yes, that's a good point.




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