Saturday, 4 December 2010

Bribery - "an evil phenomenon found in all countries" but is it natural?

Rt Rev. Lord Richard Harries' thought of the day on Friday 3rd December talked of the allegations of bribery against some of the FIFA members and spoke of how widespread bribery is in the modern world. He quoted Kofi Annan's words, 
"This evil phenomenon is found in all countries-big and small, rich and poor-but it is in the developing world that its effects are most destructive. Corruption hurts the poor disproportionately."
I am in accordance with his words, bribery makes the world an unlevel playing field and places more power in the hands of the wealthy and the hands of the corrupt. I am not in any sense beginning to postulate that bribery is acceptable, but that bribery is natural. 

We are outraged when we hear of bribery in corrupt governments and yet, on a much smaller level bribery is around us at all times. There is not one person in the world who has never used bribery either consciously or subconsciously in a plot to obtain their desired outcome. Most of us justify our bribery as if it were a white lie, because the outcome is one that is beneficial to all involved. A mother who tells her son he has to eat his vegetables or he can't have desert. An employer who gives a large incentive for their employees to work hard. Is there a clear distinction between incentives and bribery? 

My postulation today is that bribery is a human technique that has always and will always be employed by some people in attempts to succeed. This does not make it acceptable and does not mean that one should not be angered by the fact that it increases injustice in the world. I just feel that it is worth remembering that bribery occurs all around us in "harmless" ways, and, that when we condemn the bribery used by others to impact people's actions, we should take a moment to think about how we use bribery within our own lives and actually whether this is always justifiable.

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