Monday, April 07, 2008


We all face it in our day to day lives. Heck, I know some people who thrive because of it.

I find it both and liberating, depending on which side of the corruption fence I find myself on, and which side I find whomever I'm trying to deal with on.

A few weeks ago I would have happily bribed a corrupt staffer to get a replacement ID for my fiancé right then and there instead of having to wait what will probably amount to months as we jump through bureaucratic hoops. I know it's right that we actually prove who we are before we get official photo ID to support our claim, but it sure is frustrating when you actually are who you say you are and you can't do a damn thing about it except wait. and wait... and wait...

Trevor Metz has a good article about corruption and the dynamics of being a small-business owner in China over at Just as interesting, although a bit more dramatic, is Tropa de Elite. It's a great Brazilian movie about cops, BOPE, gangsters, and corruption.

It's an intense movie that looks at the lines drawn between right and wrong. I'm thankful I don't ever deal with anything as stressful as the police, special-forces, and gangsters do in the flavelas of Rio, but it really does make one thing about where they draw the line.

I work in post-secondary education, so I see a boatload of bureaucracy in my day-to-day life. I generally approach my job with the goal of doing the right thing for people instead of the right thing for policy, which on occasion gets me into trouble. Not the kind of murdered-in-a-flavela trouble from Tropa de Elite, just some finger-wagging and a little admonition.

I don’t like to think of myself as corrupt, but I probably am in a very mild-mannered sort of way. I’ll sometimes bump a low-priority item up my list if it comes from a friend, or if regardless of source the request is accompanied by a nice cup of coffee. I know lots of other people do it too. So where does it switch from a favour to a bribe?

Is it when it hurts someone? If so how does one assess hurt?

Is it when it becomes the norm instead of the exception?

Is it when it becomes a wrench in the gears of policy?

GOING INSANE BECAUSE I Blogged this with the Flock Browser

No comments: