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Bribery: Political Corruption and Business

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    One of the most widespread forms of corruption is Bribery. Now let me begin with the general definition of bribery and to make you clearly understand about corruption. Bribery is the crime of giving and taking money or some other worth items in order to influence public official and it is also including of paying to get government contracts. In addition, a bribe can consist of immediate cash or of personal favors, a promise of later payment, or anything else the recipient views as valuable (Bribery, n. d. ).

    For more information, the sectors that bribery most involved are in construction sector, followed by the utilities, real estate property and energy sectors respectively. And businesses with minimal graft are in agriculture, small industries sectors, Aerospace sector, and information technology sector. There is no doubt that corruption, prevalent in emerging economies around the globe, throws economic development into chaos. This can affect decisions made by bureaucrats which it degrades the quality of those in power, and discourages foreign investment.

    It is also a gradually hot business issue, with a growing amount of influential business and political leaders throughout the world regularly pinpointing corruption as one of the greatest threaten to global economic improvement. Corruption and Bribery has moved to the front in discussions about business. I agree with a sentence that “bribing is a fast way to get the business done. ” Whereas it is slightly not that truth that Corruption is not unacceptable, but corruption or bribery are just unavoidable acts. So, corruption is all over the world. As long as human alive, corruption will exist.

    Not only developing countries, but also developed countries have experiences in some degree of corruption not more or less. According to the statistic of the bribe payers index, it ranked the exporting countries in terms of the companies are perceived to be paying bribes to other countries. They had studied on eight-hundred business executives that conducted in fourteen countries. The scale showed the rank between zero to ten which zero represented very high level of bribery and ten represented transparent or negligible bribery. And in this statistic, No ountry would be purely transparent in doing business activities. To demonstrate, developed countries like Canada and Australia had also experienced on the rank of 8. 9 (Statistic of Bribe payer index, n. d. ).

    Although these ranks are not stand in a very high level of bribery, but it showed that bribery is existed in those countries even they are in developed countries as well as public and private sectors. Furthermore, United Stated and Germany were in a rank of 6. 2, and Italy had been ranked as 3. 7 which is quite high in the level of perceiving to pay the bribes (Statistic of Bribe payer index, n. . ). It can refer that people and firms around the world give bribes for many reasons in order to do a contact with their public institutions in order to speed up paperwork and procedure, to avoid problems with authorities such as the government and the police, or simply to gain accessibilities to basic public services. And they give bribes in order to maintain or obtain business over which the foreign officials have authority. Because some people have a belief that bribery is a part of doing successful business today.

    Next I am going to give you possible reasons and some example of countries that why they are involving in bribery. Bribery is frequently inevitable for foreign companies that invest in those countries, where corruption is widespread and the conditions for business development are unfavorable. It also illustrates that bribe giving is just a result of political system with weak democratic traditions. That is why many foreign companies from developed and developing countries, where corruption levels are low tend to practice bribery.

    For instance, there are many American businesses that operating in foreign countries makes payments or bribes to foreign officials to smooth the way, so they intervene and pays bribes all the time to other governments and politicians. Besides, for business representatives often prepare to give bribes to officials because of unfavorable economic, social or bureaucratic conditions. Officials may refuse to speed up the procedure, and serve clients unless they are paid. This not only happened in undeveloped countries and developing countries, but also it can exist in developed countries as well.

    Furthermore, bribery is seen as a normal business practice and also may be pervasive in developed countries like France, UK, and Germany, but it is difficult to detect. Many Westerns countries do not want to dirty their own hands, so they give bribe to local agents ten percent or success fee if local agents make a contract goes through and access to the government successfully. Until recently, many developed countries treat bribe as legitimate business expenses which could be claimed to reduce their taxes (Shah A. , 2011).

    In reality, some businesses prefer to give bribe to officials because the outcomes that they get are much higher than the amount that the companies pay to the government in order to get business run fast and more profit. So, this leads some businesses directly giving bribe and without thinking about the right. To demonstrate, In the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar are openly discussed. The BCC news state that Giving cash to get basic things achieved, such as getting a license to trade or visas, is common in Qatar and Oman. If you don’t play the game or give some money to the officials then you will go to the back of the queue.

    In addition, there is a little choice for them to choose, so people prefer to pay ?1,000 to someone in the ministry and getting the job done in twenty-four hours rather than waiting for eight weeks which the outcome and profit are much higher than the money that they bribed to the officials, so the company do not care much about involving bribery (BCC News, 2011). Moreover, there is another reason that why bribery still existing in developed countries and developing countries. Many businesses need to get involved with bribery in order to compete with other businesses and in order to survive and maintain their businesses.

    Rupert in Shanghai stated that bribery is common practices for businesses in China. And he said that the majority of local companies and foreign companies who operate the business in China pay scant regard to anti-bribery legislation when struggling to survive in a competitive and robust business environment (BCC News, 2011). Even ethical companies are also influenced by this competitive market. For example, if an ethical company is rounded by the companies that are involved bribery, the ethical company has high potential to engage in bribery too.

    If they do not do, the company has to close down. Furthermore, there are differences of values and norms between countries. Anyone who has lived in foreign cultures and countries need to adapt and adjust themselves to the local way of doing things. Likewise, the companies who will invest abroad also need to adjust and learn foreign cultures in order to understand and learn the new cultures. Doing business in foreign country brings to the Bribery across cultures which view as morally wrong. According to the Hofestede dimensions, one of the prominent dimensions of ational culture is the degree of collectivism, or the extent to which individuals see themselves as interdependent and part of a larger group or society (Mazar N. & Aggarwal P. , 2011). People in the culture of collectivism seem to give bribe more than the individualism where interdependence and freedom are more valued. It is because collectivists’ societies may feel less individually responsible to their actions, so they have less guilty about giving and taking bribe. Additionally, in collectivist societies, bank officers face greater incentives to engage in involving bribes.

    In such societies, persons are embedded in a network of relatives, friends, and associated and are expected to maintain allegiances to their social groups. To illustrate with this point, a Westerner (individual) would say to Asian (belong to society) that you cannot be trusted because you always help your friends. On the other hand, Asian would say to a Westerner that you cannot be trusted because you do not help your friends. This is a contrasting attitude between individualists and collectivists with respect to such behavior (Zheng X, n. d. ).

    In addition, in many developed countries and developing countries, bribery in forms of gift-taking and giving in a public realm is a matter of customs and traditions. In additions, gift-taking is a relationship building and a part of negotiations in doing business in some parts of the world. For instance, in developing country such as the People’s Republic of China which considered as collectivism culture, reciprocity is a prevalent custom in significant relationship (Guanxi), as well as in dealing business, social institution, and political authorities (Roberts K. n. d. ). There are not only have gift taking for business in China, but also in Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, and Philippine are deeply in their traditions. In Japan, there is a common in small-scale of bribery. Many Japanese employers give expensive gifts to their bosses to get promoted (Hays J. , 2009). Incredibly, gift taking and giving also has in Singapore which is considered as a transparent and clear country. Before accepting your gift or bribery, Singaporean recipients may graciously refuse three times (Roberts K. , n. d. ).

    Consequently, bribery in business is seemed so normal to some countries because the ethical standard of a country is based on their cultures which one quote said “When in Rome, do as the Roman do. ” Also, in some countries friendly flavors also occur in the collectivist culture too. In next paragraph I am going to address some examples of countries in Western and Asia that have engaged in bribery. In Russia, According to Corruption Perception Index in 2010, Transparency International measured the perceptions of how corrupt countries were. And Russia is ranked of 154 out of 178 which had scored on 2. (CPI 2010 result, n. d. ). This considers as a very high level of corruption, and Russia is at the bottom of the index. Russian businesses are the most likely to pay bribes abroad compared to companies in any other nation. And in the area of business, Russia tend to give bribes for letting forbidden goods across border, return of confiscated goods and currencies, reduction of customs fees, just to avoid ungrounded delays at the border, unjustified delays of customs payments. For example, many large amounts of Western firms are deciding to leave Russia for good.

    It is because the cost of the ‘dark’ side of doing business has soared in Russia. IKEA, the Swedish manufacture company, has been experienced in some degree of corruption in Russia, so IKEA ordered to froze all the investment in Russia in 2009. At first, IKEA planned to build giant mall across the border which they never give and involve on bribe to the Russia’s officials. Then IKEA’s first project agreed with the government that they need three-hundred different permits to build the mall and they agreed with the local Russia’s government to start building and to finalize the paperwork later.

    At the end, Russia’s officials had changed their mind which it resulted IKEA to spend more than ?3 million on local infrastructure and projects to become ‘official’ so Russia could open for IKEA to launch and build the mall there (Swallow D. , 2010). This situation brings the legislation of anti-corruption in Russia because Western managers who work in Russia face a huge dilemma. The ‘blat’ system in Russia is the term for ‘the informal exchange of favours’ which grounded in personal relationships and in access to public resources – and has become all pervasive.

    However, the companies they work for and the countries they come from mostly make a strong stand against corruption, so there were two Siemens’ executives Germans who feel guilty of taking bribe in Russia and Nigeria (Swallow D. , 2010). Likewise in Germany, According to transparent perception index, Germany has a low incidence of corruption, rating among the top 20 countries worldwide for the openness, fairness and honesty of its business dealings. But they also engage in some areas of bribery too. For instance, nowhere is his more evident and more surprising than in the case of Siemens, the Bavarian power and communications giant embroiled in the largest bribery case in the history of the Federal Republic (How Corrupt is Germany, 2007). In Asia, the developed country likes Japan which is the world 18th least corrupt nation in 2008 according to Transparency International Japan (Hays J. , 2009). The numbers of cases in which public servants are exposed as being involved in bribery are few because they are carefully planned and are secretive nature. There were several scandals about corruption in Japan which I am going to introduce you in some cases.

    The first case was Lockheed Scandal. In 1974, Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka was forced to resign and arrested because he took bribe of the aircraft maker Lockheed. The Lockheed gave a huge payment to top officials in The Japanese Government to help in a deal to sell L-1011 Tri-Star jets to All Nippon Airways faster (Hays J. , 2009). Another interesting case, the Vice-Minister of Health and Welfare took a bribe from a business owner in return for the granting of a construction subsidy for an aged persons welfare facility (Hays J. , 2009).

    And the last scandal is about Bid Rigging which occurred in 2006. In clubby world of Japanese politics and business, Bid Rigging is a fact of life. There have been a number of bid-rigging scandals involving construction firms over the building of bridges, tunnels, and roads. Tadahiro Ando of Miyazaki Prefecture was arrested because he received the bribe from an engineer to help an engineer win the contract and get the disaster reconstruction project faster (Hays J. , 2009). Moreover, according to the statistic of the bribe payer index can explain that Japan was in a rank of 5. which experienced in the moderate level of bribery (Statistic of Bribe payer index, n. d. ). Therefore, there was a report to show that Japan still not actively investigated and detected on foreign bribery because the Japanese’s anti-bribery law still remains low. And all these can guarantee that corruption is still exist even in developed countries but it depend on how much they corruption. Even in Singapore, a country which was ranked the least corruption nation in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index also has experiences in a little degree of corruption.

    According to Corruption Perception Index in 2010, Singapore (together with Denmark and New Zealand) is the least corruption countries which had a score of 9. 3 (CPI 2010 result, n. d. ). Even though Singapore is the most transparent in Asia, but the fact it cannot avoid of corruption anyway. Bribery is also common dilemma in Thailand as well. According to Corruption Perception Index, our country is in the rank 80th which refer to the high perception of corruption (Warsta M. , 2004).

    And paying bribe is normal and customary business practice in Thailand for convenience. So, there were several well-known scandals in Thailand which I am going to recall one of the well-known bribery cases. To add up, Low salaries also can make it more attractive for the officials and people to take bribes as well as the low level of duties’ transparency in Thai society. If they cannot make a sufficient living, they probably will not see it morally wrong of getting “their share” of the cake.

    And higher salaries would at least raise the minimum level before someone would be willing to take the risk and step over the edge. To illustrate, the Thai police can be force to another corrupt area of administration because some polices are malpractice and some low rank of polices have low salaries so they have to find another alternative ways to find money. It is not uncommon for Thais to have to bribe police officers for traffic offences, real or otherwise. In many places in Thailand, the police allow illegal business to go on unhindered in return for protection money.

    This process helps criminal organizations to flourish in Thailand, and allows the police to gain profit from these bribery, and tacitly encourage, gambling, sexual exploitation, drug smuggling and gun running. In the result, Thailand does not have strong law on corruption and Thai people do not take it serious on the disadvantage of corruption. And it may be because of Thailand is lacking of transparency of governance and unstable of political situation (Warsta M. , 2004). These are the reason that is why Thailand still not considered as the developed country.

    Even Thailand has laws to control corruption and regulate some programs, such as “??????????” to embed the youth not to take action in corruption. But it depends on people. If they still break the law to get their own benefits, our country will lack behind developed countries. And as I stated above, bribing is all around the world even in developed countries like UK, USA, Singapore, New Zealand, and in developing countries like China, Thailand, and so on also have some degree of this kind of corruption. And it depends on the standard of the people and law in that country.

    Different countries have different laws and norms, so it indicate to have different perspectives. In developed countries, the laws of corruption are very strong that is why people in developed countries tend to bear in mind of not taking bribe and people know their duties and the right of doing things more than developing countries. For developing countries, bribery also may depend on the society and environment nearby because if the businesses nearby their companies are involving to the bribe, to survive you also need to involve in the bribe too and cannot avoid of bribery.

    Therefore, the statement is truth. As we already know that bribery is also can be the offering of giving, receiving, and soliciting of value for the purpose of influencing the action of an official in the discharge of his or her legal duties or publics (Bribery, n. d. ). Hence, bribery can occur at all levels of society, such as from local government and national governments, judiciary, military, small and large business, civil society and other services. Many people may be seen that bribery is not important because it is not our own problems or our businesses.

    But if you consider a return, the problem of bribery and corruption are related to our daily lives. To respond the question, even though I have agreed with the statement that the corruption is existing as above mentioned in the first part but if I am in a position that can give bribe to get thing done, I would certainly not do bribing in daily life and bribing in my business activities even I live in the society and a country that experience in some degree of bribery because of several reasons that I am going to say in the next paragraph.

    In my point of views, involving bribery have disadvantages overweight than advantages. And in the next two paragraphs, on behalf of the society, I am not going to give bribe because of bribery can damage my society. First of all, giving a bribe is a serious crime and cannot condone it because giving and taking of bribes mean involving of unlawful, injustice, and cheating. In addition, bribery can undermine the principles of democratic system and lead to economic harm as well as social tension. Bribery tends to increase the number of serious crime and tend to release the terrorists to the society faster.

    To illustrate, if a defendant give bribe as money to the judge in order to help him or her to feel free from the prison, he or she will not to realize the bad actions that they did. And they can come back to do those bad actions again without conscious thinking. Therefore, these people can make trouble to other and society. Moreover, I think bribing can harm the economics of your country which distort market and damage in the supply of goods and services too. Also bribery can have negative effect on political development as well.

    Bribery tends to shift government spending away from the social areas towards the construction of unneeded projects. To illustrate, everyone suffer from the lower quality of infrastructure from the bribing of officials. To sum up, People in my society will tend to have lower standard of living and lead to fall of development of a society if bribery exist everywhere. Then, all the less, I am going to give you reasons on my own self that why I am not going to give bribe if I can. In my opinion, I considered bribing as immoral and unethical practice because giving bribe can be definitely wrong to yourself and wrong to the society.

    Also, if I give bribe, I will feel a shame with my actions. And as I am a Buddhist, the key teaching of Buddhism for ordinary people is to follow the five precepts and do not encroach other. Buddhists does not support the bribery and people have believed that doing good things and something good will return to you. Similarly, in Islam religion, people who give any gifts or provide other valuable items to individuals to influence or divert the acts in any position whether they like or not is referred to bribery.

    Islam is a strong religious which robustly does not agree with bribery because they consider bribery as a major sin and can undermine the stability of society, religion and justice of their own. The Prophet of Islam claimed that people who give and receive bribes have to suffer the curse in this world and the hereafter (Morality in Islam, n. d. ). So, bribery is a bad thing to involve. Besides, bribery also has many drawbacks which harm you and your business in many ways if you are involved to it.

    Next, doing the right thing lead to increase and remain the reputation of you and your business because bribing can be a stake of the company’s reputation. If bribery expose to other, the company or myself will lose reputation then no one will be able to trust or rely on you. To illustrate of high reputation in operating business, the Coca-Cola Company is one of the honest business that most successful around the world. The manager of the company stated that adhering integrity and conducting only the right things help the company to promote the image and reputation.

    Also, doing moral things can enhance the reliability from the consumers in over two hundreds countries around the world which morality is the core of company’s growth (The Coca-Cola Company, 2009). Like the Coca-Cola Company, World Mart also does not accept the bribe when they operate the business to maintain the trust and reputation. Therefore, doing the right thing can lead the higher reputation of yourself and business in somehow. There was another example case in Japan that showing the consequence of taking a bribe not to lost the reputation of the company.

    In 2005 and 2006, there was a disastrous earthquake in Japan which residents are asked to move out from their condominiums and hotels are forced to close down. Much of the blame was placed on the architect Hidetsugu Aneha, who fabricated the data. In investigation revealed that Aneha fabricated data for ninety condominiums and hotels, making them susceptible to collapse in an upper 5 level earthquake. The buildings are supposed to be able to withstand level 7 earthquakes. The buildings were weaken and collapsed because Aneha was told by a manger of construction to reduce the amount of steel reinforcement.

    He also claimed that he faked data to make a name for himself as a cost cutter and then kept on faking data to maintain his reputation (Hays J. , 2009). In a result, bribing can cause you to lose your reputation in business. Moreover, Corruption is unfair who those try to progress and achieve honestly. And I think giving a bribe is not fair to other especially poor people. I think now we live in the world of egalitarian which everyone is equal. Bribery will cause the wider gap between rich and poor because rich people will take advantage from poor people, so the victims of bribery always would be the poorest segment of the society.

    For example, as we can see from Thai society nowadays the rich give bribes to the popular and famous high school for taking their child to get in because the rich are willing to pay more than poor. Sadly, even some good schools also receive bribes. Therefore, poor children will have less chance and less opportunity to get in a popular school even their study abilities are higher than the rich child. And this can tend people to be aware and prepare that everything that you want or achieve depends on your capacity and not rely to other helps.

    No bribery can lead people or even me to have an incentive to develop your skill to be successful because nothing will get it easily. Even you give bribe or exchange something to get on what you want, I am sure that you will not feel happy with it and it will not last long. To support my opinion, there is a case in Africa. In the terms of trade, it sets by richer countries tend often to exploit poor countries and give unfairly low price for their exports of commodities such as tea, coffee, bananas and their other export products which the richer take advantages from the poorer.

    And foreign businesses operating in Africa also often do not help the local economy as much as they easily could help. Some of these problems are of course not unique to Africa and are seen also in some non-African poor countries (Poverty in Africa, n. d. ). And this serious crime can hurt poor people. In the Africa case, in North East Africa again bringing the prospect of starvation to millions in the region affecting Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya which affected by the corruption in Africa. Another of my point of view, not giving a bribe is shown a dignity of myself and corruption can hamper effectiveness.

    Greasing could contribute to making ineffective political and administrative systems more effective. Because everything that I want, I try hard to get it by myself. Therefore, when I success or achieve my goals, it can make me proud of myself. Also, no one can talk behind your back that you are trickiness and no one can look down on you. Moreover, other company and your colleague cannot look on you negatively. For instance, let imagine if you are a boxer, and you offer your competitor to payoff to throw an important fight.

    Then you are the winner of that fight, so how can you feel of dignity? Some may say that dignity cannot survive in this world now, but I also have a belief that money also cannot buy everything too. Here I come to my last point of views that if I am in a position that can give bribe to get thing done, I will not do it. It is because I am sure that if you give once, the second time and third time will follow. And if it comes to the day that you cannot afford to give bribe or useless to your bribe recipients, they will not undertake your request or stop the agreement.

    For instance, we can see many politicians give bribe to citizen in order to vote them in an election, once they did and next election they will repeat it again in order to win the competition which I think it is not transparent to do this. And this repeated action causes you to have bad habit. Also, if I have a business then I repeatedly take bribe, so how can I feel happy on what I am I doing. In Counter Argument, in short-term, bribery can make your business run smooth and use it to speed up your procedure, so people feel that it does not waste up their time.

    And it is just a little crime which they think it does not harm other and yourself. However what you get on bribery will not sustainable in long-term and it is dirty activity. Nothing can measure or guarantee that if you give bribe to someone then everything will be fine. Giving bribery can compare that the life is hanging on the string because the graft person can betray you any time, or even in a moderate level of bribery, it can make us lose reputation. In the accordance of fact, everything involving bribery is easy come and easy go.

    In conclusion, All I have mentioned above are the information about bribery that are concerning on my point of views through the statement, and the reasons that why I am not going to give bribe. In my opinion, almost people and firms nowadays who involving bribe only think about their own interests and profits, but not concern about their own society and their own countries. That is why the problem of corruption cannot eliminate. And I still believe that bribery drastic harm to society and yourself in somehow. And when a country has a high level of corruption, it leads a country to have many damaging effects like a fall of foreign direct investment, International trade, and Economic growth.

    References

    BCC News (2011, November 02) Bribery in Business. Retrieved January 10, 2012 from http://www. bbc. co. uk/news/world-asia-15550869 Bribery (n. d. ). Retrieved January 13, 2012 http://legal-dictionary. thefreedictionary. com/bribery CPI 2010 result (n. d. ). result. Retrieved January 12, 2012 from http://www. transparency. org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2010/results Hays J. (2009). Corruption and Government scandals in Japan.

    Retrieved January 12, 2012 from http://factsanddetails. com/japan. php? itemid=799&catid=22&subcatid=146 How corrupt is Germany (2007, April). Retrieved January 18, 2012 from http://www. cnbcmagazine. com/story/how-corrupt-is-germany/85/1/ Morality in Islam (n. d. ). Retrieved January 17, 2012 from http://www. alhassanain. com/thai/book/book/ethics_and_supplication/ethics_books/Jariyatam/003. html Nina Mazar and Pankaj Aggarwal (2011). Can Collectivism promote bribery? Retrieved January 13, 2012 http://www. rotman. utoronto. ca/facbios/file/MazarAggarwal_Bribery_PS. pdf Poverty in Africa (n. d. ).

    Retrieved January 14, 2012 from- http://world-poverty. org/povertyinafrica. aspx Roberts K. (n. d. ). International Business Gift Giving. Retrieved January 14, 2012 from http://www. cyborlink. com/besite/international_gift_giving. htm Shah A. (2011, September 04). Corruption. Retrieved January 11, 2012 from http://www. globalissues. org/article/590/corruption Statistic of Bribe payers index (n. d. ). Retrieved January 11, 2012 from http://www. nationmaster. com/graph/cri_bri_pay_ind-crime-bribe-payers-index#definition Swallow D. (2010, May 24). Corruption in Russia. Retrieved January 15, 2012 from http://www. eborahswallow. com/2010/05/24/russia-bribery-corruption-the-high-price-of-bad-business/ The Coca-Cola Company (2009, April). Retrieved January 10, 2012 from http://www. thecoca-colacompany. com/ourcompany/pdf/COBC_Thai. pdf Warsta M. (2004, April 22). Corruption in Thailand. Retrieved January 15, 2012 from http://aceproject. org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/Corruption_in_Thailand. pdf Zheng X. (n. d. ). Collectivism and Corruption in bank lending. Retrieved January 16, 2012 from https://secure. northernfinance. org/2011/Submissions/modules/request. php? module=oc_program&action=view. php&id=297

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