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Is bribe immoral?

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Leonid
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Paying a bribe is not an attempt to evade any reality at all and it is not self-deception. If you think it is, prove it or at least give some reasoning, don't just say it. Maybe having money extorted from you and some fear of being caught is not good for your self-esteem, but I'm sure giving in to the government and sacrificing your buisness would be even worse. It would mean that you were beaten by the system. What would having your children being put in a foster home while you're in jail do to your self-esteem?

I think if you explained how bribery is different than lying to the mugger, it would clarify your rationale.

Why not? It's completely possible for someone to realize that a law that he subverts is still in existence despite his subversion.

I actually already explained that in other post, but I can do it again. When you pay bribe you think that reality which made you to pay it would disappear or could be somehow ignored . This is a clear self-deception. Soon or later, reality will slap back in your face in this way or another. For example, you may face a new official, who refuses to be bribed. You could be arrested. The price you pay could be to high which will be detrimental to your business and competitiveness.Finally, you substitute one system of arbitrary rules with another which is much worse because it makes a criminal out of you. To think that this is a way to run a business is to fake reality. See the article above.

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It is voluntary in exactly the same way that taxes are voluntary. After all, you can choose not to earn money and then you don't have to pay any taxes. A public official who will use the governments force of arms to not let you act in accordance with your own judgement without first being paid is very much using force against you.

No, taxes extracted from you by force as long as you work for living. To pay bribe is completely voluntary decision. The state in fact prohibit you to pay bribes.

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What's that damn banging? Is that the sound of someone hitting the nail on the head? Why I think it is.

Yes, the societal elements are not high in my list, either.

Except - and removing any duty to society - that I'd think a rational person would vastly

prefer a society not in any way 'oiled' by bribery. To what degree does refusing,

or contributing to the status quo, by the individual, bring about a rational society?

A bribe should be the exception and never the rule. It is highly contextual, in my view.

Each, rare, occasion it is considered, one should have a very clear idea of the reason,

its upside and downside.

This debate seems to lie on an axis between rationalism and rationalization, at each extreme.

(Not that anyone has reached either extreme).

I.E.: Ideals detached from reality - or, circumstantial justifications without principle.

Marrying principle and fact is the trick, as always.

It is only each individual who can know when his virtues of pride, honesty and integrity might

become compromized by his actions. (I set a lot of store by Aristotle's "We are what we repeatedly do"). Conversely, he must judge when stubborn idealism is separating him from 'real' life, his

survival and his enjoyment.

Which is a good time for Rand's favorite 'prayer': Grant me the serenity to accept the things I

cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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Tony "Which is a good time for Rand's favorite 'prayer': Grant me the serenity to accept the things I

cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

This prayer explains the difference between metaphysically given and man-made. We discuss here a situation which is man-made. I can bring hundreds examples from the reality that bribe is not only immoral because it's self-deceptive and fakes reality, but even not instrumental. Cannot be used even as a pragmatic tool. The concretization has a great value as long as one is thinking in principles. To return back to my original question:" Why Ayn Rand approved on bribe?" You of course don't think that she wasn't aware of all these things i mentioned so far. The answer is that she didn't. But she was a great admirer of paradoxes and pretended that she did. However throughout the novel she thoroughly shows that bribes don't work. Rearden bribes his man in Washington and he sells him out. Rearden bribes the whole legal process in order to get divorce and his wife still living in his house. Rearden bribes and forges in order to continue production, and his business collapses on him-he quits. And most importantly, Rearden bribes the corrupt government official by giving to him voluntary the Gift Certificate in order to save Dagny from what he consider to be a shameful exposure. But this very act causes Dagny to expose the whole affair to the wide public openly over radio. So Ayn Rand clearly showed that bribery is useless and one cannot live, prosper and pursue happiness in the faked reality.

Edited by Leonid
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No, taxes extracted from you by force as long as you work for living. To pay bribe is completely voluntary decision. The state in fact prohibit you to pay bribes.

Maybe you're viewing the state as a floating abstraction, but you are incorrect. The state does usually prohibit it, if you define the state as the particular law makers in charge of setting its laws and regulations. It is still an act of force though, perpetrated by the official representing the state, even if it's against its own laws. Someone making a bribe is undeniably acting under duress if they are bribing an official in order to acquire a freedom that ought to have been free. And the state as defined initially is in no way exonerated since their neglectful enforcer and oversight, intentional or otherwise allows the bribe taking to continue.

To reduce this to a concrete, say I own a business, and a regulatory agency's representative tells me he will need to close down my business (which I have invested 25 years in building) if I don't pay him $2500. You really think that I have a legitimate choice in a situation like that?(not a rhetorical question. I want to understand if you think that or not)

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India is not a socialist country, but mixed economy, pretty much as all other countries in the West. But corruption in India reached such a proportion that it affects major branches of economy and infrastructure. people don't go on hunger stike against corruption for nothing.

The Constitutional preamble of India still says that it is a socialist republican state.

As I said earlier, you have no idea about what corruption is. Funny thing is, you are consistently mentioning the huger strike that was initiated by "India Against Corruption" Forum. It is funny because that India Against Corruption is fighting against the Governmental corruption.

By the way, have you any idea about how and why a socialist government employing mixed economy will not adopt to corruption?

Furthermore, is the US any less corrupt? Isn't inflation not a corruption? Isn't Fractional Reserve Banking not a corruption? Isn't Education for All not a corruption? Isn't Universal health care not a corruption? Isn't Keynesianism simply not a corruption?

You are also claiming things about legal and illegal. What should be the base of legal or illegal? What should be the base of Right or Wrong? Should the difference between Good/Evil, Right/Wrong, legal/illegal be REASON or should it be a monopoly of government over law, and violence? If you believe that the base of legal/illegal should not be REASON but the monopoly of government (as in the case of India), then I am sorry, It is a corrupt thought.

About Mixed Economy,

There is one good thing about Marx: he was not a Keynesian. Murray Rothbard

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The reason for it is clear-they live in the crooked society driven by arbitrary laws and in order to get along they must used crooked ways. But does it mean that from the ethical point of view two wrongs make right? Is moral compromise acceptable even in order to achieve the noble goal? What it does to one's moral stature and self-esteem? Doesn't it encourage the proliferation of corruption in the already corrupted society? Or one should say-these are the rules of the game, I never made this world and I have to act accordingly.

Either one will stand against the government, or one will compromise. And there is a third way too, and it is to bribe.

The issue of bribing is similar to that of taking tax-funded jobs while knowing that taxation is theft. At my personal level, I niether take tax-funded jobs, nor I bribe anyone. But then, I am a common person who can lead a simple life without involving in corruption.

There are prostitutes in my society but prostitution is illegal. They bribe cops to avoid imprisonment, punishments and rape by the organized gang of criminals called the cop.

I have seen police officers beating the crap out of the street vendors and to avoid that humiliation and pain, they offer bribe to policemen.

I do not find those street vendors immoral, I find them exploited. Being exploited is certainly immoral, Evil requires the sanction of victim. By bribing, they offer that sanction to the evil.

Do they have any other choice? Certainly they have, they need to revolt and take arms to end the exploitation. Or to make peace their ultimate weapon and ask for freedom. I think Mahatma Gandhi offered an answer to those exploited people. I think they need to re-examine the path of Truth, Peace, and Honesty again.

Bribe is not moral just because it is a way to sanction the evil and it really needs courage to oppose the evil.

When I start thinking bribe as Immoral, I start thinking Mahatma Gandhi's way!

“They say, 'means are, after all, means'. I would say, 'means are, after all, everything'. As the means so the end...” Mahatma Gandhi

“The means may be likened to a seed, the end to a tree; and there is just the same inviolable connection between the means and the end as there is between the seed and the tree.” Mahatma Gandhi

Edited by Unpretentious_Diva
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The Constitutional preamble of India still says that it is a socialist republican state.

As I said earlier, you have no idea about what corruption is. Funny thing is, you are consistently mentioning the huger strike that was initiated by "India Against Corruption" Forum. It is funny because that India Against Corruption is fighting against the Governmental corruption.

By the way, have you any idea about how and why a socialist government employing mixed economy will not adopt to corruption?

Furthermore, is the US any less corrupt? Isn't inflation not a corruption? Isn't Fractional Reserve Banking not a corruption? Isn't Education for All not a corruption? Isn't Universal health care not a corruption? Isn't Keynesianism simply not a corruption?

You are also claiming things about legal and illegal. What should be the base of legal or illegal? What should be the base of Right or Wrong? Should the difference between Good/Evil, Right/Wrong, legal/illegal be REASON or should it be a monopoly of government over law, and violence? If you believe that the base of legal/illegal should not be REASON but the monopoly of government (as in the case of India), then I am sorry, It is a corrupt thought.

About Mixed Economy,

There is one good thing about Marx: he was not a Keynesian. Murray Rothbard

You can use the words in any way you please, but remember that words have a meaning. Please look up the definition of corruption and bribe. Besides, corruption and bribe is ALWAYS government . Nobody bribes private traders or producers.

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As someone who has bribed cops in a foreign country, I know I made no compromise at all, and it was also the best thing to do.

It is a compromise with your own integrity. You think that you are able to live and prosper in the long run in the faked reality, in which bribe is a substitute of the law, order and justice.

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It is a compromise with your own integrity. You think that you are able to live and prosper in the long run in the faked reality, in which bribe is a substitute of the law, order and justice.
No, it was no compromise of my integrity. I did not fake reality.
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Maybe you're viewing the state as a floating abstraction, but you are incorrect. The state does usually prohibit it, if you define the state as the particular law makers in charge of setting its laws and regulations. It is still an act of force though, perpetrated by the official representing the state, even if it's against its own laws. Someone making a bribe is undeniably acting under duress if they are bribing an official in order to acquire a freedom that ought to have been free. And the state as defined initially is in no way exonerated since their neglectful enforcer and oversight, intentional or otherwise allows the bribe taking to continue.

To reduce this to a concrete, say I own a business, and a regulatory agency's representative tells me he will need to close down my business (which I have invested 25 years in building) if I don't pay him $2500. You really think that I have a legitimate choice in a situation like that?(not a rhetorical question. I want to understand if you think that or not)

No. As long as force is not initiated against you, you have a choice. Nobody will jail you if you refuse to pay a bribe. The opposite is true. According to your premises the hungry man allowed to steal and rob. He also acts under duress. As for your example, please pay $2500 as you pay taxes. And if you think that such a payment is unwarranted, contest it in the court of law.Besides, what difference it makes to you: to pay $2500 to the regulating authority or to pay the same or maybe bigger sum to some crooked bureaucrat who will blackmail from you further payments and eventually will sell you out?

Edited by Leonid
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I actually already explained that in other post, but I can do it again. When you pay bribe you think that reality which made you to pay it would disappear or could be somehow ignored . This is a clear self-deception. Soon or later, reality will slap back in your face in this way or another. For example, you may face a new official, who refuses to be bribed. You could be arrested. The price you pay could be to high which will be detrimental to your business and competitiveness.Finally, you substitute one system of arbitrary rules with another which is much worse because it makes a criminal out of you. To think that this is a way to run a business is to fake reality. See the article above.

Your entire argument that bribery is self-deception hinges on bribery never being practical. Bribery is a risk. You might be arrested, you might be paying too much, but you also might not. Bribe is a risk but often, it is a minimal risk and it is often completely practical. You can not tell me that paying bribes is never practical when you agree that the only other options are to run your buisness honestly, which is impossible, or to shrug, which would be complete sacrifice for most people living in a mixed economy and literal suicide for many people living in countries worse off than ours. Taking a risk does not mean self-deception and a risk is all that bribery is.

When you subvert arbitrary laws, you aren't substituting your own arbitrary laws, you are substituting them with your own rational judgement. Using reason to determine that a law is a violation of your rights and then subverting it is not arbitrary.

No. As long as force is not initiated against you, you have a choice. Nobody will jail you if you refuse to pay a bribe. The opposite is true. According to your premises the hungry man allowed to steal and rob. he also acts under duress.

Except that force is being initiated against them. If the state is going to shut down your buisness unless you pay a bribe, force is being initiated against you. You still have a choice but the choices are give up everything, or give up some money while taking on a (often minimal) risk of being caught. The person in the position of having to pay a bribe is a victim who built something that a thug is threatening to take away by force while the starving man reached his situation by his own failures and the option of stealing would be a violation of rights. However, you are certainly justified in stealing to survive if you live in a dictatorship.

In many cases bribery is the only thing that can prevent you from going to jail, especially in foreign countries.

The Constitutional preamble of India still says that it is a socialist republican state.

As I said earlier, you have no idea about what corruption is. Funny thing is, you are consistently mentioning the huger strike that was initiated by "India Against Corruption" Forum. It is funny because that India Against Corruption is fighting against the Governmental corruption.

By the way, have you any idea about how and why a socialist government employing mixed economy will not adopt to corruption?

Furthermore, is the US any less corrupt? Isn't inflation not a corruption? Isn't Fractional Reserve Banking not a corruption? Isn't Education for All not a corruption? Isn't Universal health care not a corruption? Isn't Keynesianism simply not a corruption?

You are also claiming things about legal and illegal. What should be the base of legal or illegal? What should be the base of Right or Wrong? Should the difference between Good/Evil, Right/Wrong, legal/illegal be REASON or should it be a monopoly of government over law, and violence? If you believe that the base of legal/illegal should not be REASON but the monopoly of government (as in the case of India), then I am sorry, It is a corrupt thought.

About Mixed Economy,

There is one good thing about Marx: he was not a Keynesian. Murray Rothbard

Edited by oso
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OSO

There is no doubt that in the mixed economy many laws are arbitrary. It doesn't mean that you can transgress them-for the simple reason: you may find yourself behind the bars, and this is not good for business. Bribery doesn't eliminate these laws, but gives to you a false security, a feeling that you can act against the law and to get away with it. This is clearly a self-deception. However I'd would agree with you about some sort of hypothetical emergent and very unlike situation that if you staked in some Amazon jungle village where no law practically exists, you can bribe your way out. But we talk about bribery as a way of life and way to conduct business.

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There is no doubt that in the mixed economy many laws are arbitrary. It doesn't mean that you can transgress them-for the simple reason: you may find yourself behind the bars,...
This is an unprincipled way of looking at it. This is like people who say they should steal because they may get away with it.

In a given social context, a certain degree of bribing of a certain type fits with widely-accepted social norms. The principled approach is to draw principles from reality, and to use those in making a decision.

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No, it is not. You're simply making unsupported assertions.

Running of business presupposes an existence of the complicated legal framework which secures your property rights, contractual agreements, mutual obligations etc,,,This is not an unsupported assertion but reality which you think you can substitute by bribery. Such an approach is self-deception and a recipy for disaster.

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OSO

There is no doubt that in the mixed economy many laws are arbitrary. It doesn't mean that you can transgress them-for the simple reason: you may find yourself behind the bars, and this is not good for business. Bribery doesn't eliminate these laws, but gives to you a false security, a feeling that you can act against the law and to get away with it. This is clearly a self-deception. However I'd would agree with you about some sort of hypothetical emergent and very unlike situation that if you staked in some Amazon jungle village where no law practically exists, you can bribe your way out. But we talk about bribery as a way of life and way to conduct business.

But what if you can act against the law and get away with it? What if the risk of ending up behind bars does not outweigh the benefits of taking on the risk? These situations exist. If bribery is a constant way of life for you, and you have to do it in all sorts of different ways with different people, then that probably isn't a good way to live, but there are still plenty of cases where it would be 100% practical. For example, if you're a building contractor but it is impossible to get anything built if you don't pay off the insepector once for each job. Or if you want to open a bar but the only way to get a liquor license is bribery. Or if the goverernment is going to shut down your buisness if you don't pay off the enviromental inspector once a year (and it's literally impossible for anyone to meet regulations). Or if you're a street vendor, and you will have all your wares confiscated and will be thrown in jail if you don't pay off the cops.
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No. As long as force is not initiated against you, you have a choice. Nobody will jail you if you refuse to pay a bribe. The opposite is true. According to your premises the hungry man allowed to steal and rob. He also acts under duress. As for your example, please pay $2500 as you pay taxes. And if you think that such a payment is unwarranted, contest it in the court of law.Besides, what difference it makes to you: to pay $2500 to the regulating authority or to pay the same or maybe bigger sum to some crooked bureaucrat who will blackmail from you further payments and eventually will sell you out?

Ok...I disagree with you and i guess that stems from our different conception of choice. They won't(usually) jail you for not paying the bribe, as such, but they will destroy what you spent your life building using, you guessed it, government force. I think you should widen the context of force that you are using since their are so many lovely flavors of government coercion to choose from besides jail time. Fraud, threats, cooked books, blackmail, property theft, murder...just to name a few of the forms of force that can be used against you. In my opinion, the use of any of them invalidates any moral requirement of virtuous behavior towards them and makes them solely responsible for all future negative consequences. Anything else seems like an unjust transfer of moral judgement to the victims.

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This is an unprincipled way of looking at it. This is like people who say they should steal because they may get away with it.

In a given social context, a certain degree of bribing of a certain type fits with widely-accepted social norms. The principled approach is to draw principles from reality, and to use those in making a decision.

No, the principle is self-preservation. A jail is very bad place to run business from. If you deliberately violate even arbitrary law-for example, don't pay taxes, you commit an act of self-sacrifice-your business, your health and you very life for sake of some Quixotic doomed struggle.

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Running of business presupposes an existence of the complicated legal framework which secures your property rights, contractual agreements, mutual obligations etc,,,This is not an unsupported assertion but reality which you think you can substitute by bribery. Such an approach is self-deception and a recipy for disaster.

And therefore you shouldn't bribe in order to violate rights, get out of contracts, etc. We need government and we should not violate rights but that doesn't mean we need to accept all of government.
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But what if you can act against the law and get away with it? What if the risk of ending up behind bars does not outweigh the benefits of taking on the risk? These situations exist. If bribery is a constant way of life for you, and you have to do it in all sorts of different ways with different people, then that probably isn't a good way to live, but there are still plenty of cases where it would be 100% practical. For example, if you're a building contractor but it is impossible to get anything built if you don't pay off the insepector once for each job. Or if you want to open a bar but the only way to get a liquor license is bribery. Or if the goverernment is going to shut down your buisness if you don't pay off the enviromental inspector once a year (and it's literally impossible for anyone to meet regulations). Or if you're a street vendor, and you will have all your wares confiscated and will be thrown in jail if you don't pay off the cops.

Again, we don't discuss here some quick fix, but a sustainable way to live and to conduct business in the long run and in the rational way. If you think that bribery could be a way of life then you deceit yourself.

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