Bribery is one of the oldest and simplest of crimes. It has been barred in its basic form ever since the inception of America. An anti-bribery clause is in the Constitution. This is because bribery threatens the very functioning of any nation's government and justice systems. Understanding what constitutes bribery is critical, especially because some actions which might seem innocuous and unproblematic are considered bribery by the law. For instance, a Government official cannot legally accept any gifts for anything he did in his official position, regardless of how innocently intentioned the gift may have been. To learn more about the basic, important elements of bribery, follow the link.
Cultural Differences and Customs
Though bribery seems like a universally understood concept, cultures can have very different ideas about what constitutes bribery. No example better drives this home than the fact that in America, campaign contributions are an accepted part of the political campaigning system, while in other countries they are frowned upon as outright bribery. Some cultures consider tipping waiters bribery, while others believe that tipping should extend to more individuals and services than most Americans would tip.The differences between cultural perceptions of bribery become even more important in the world of international business. An action which might be considered innocent in one person's culture might be a crime in another person's society. Click the link for more information on some of the important differences in cultural understanding of bribery.
Bribery versus Extortion
Extortion and bribery are crimes which bear some similarities, but are different in the fundamental nature of the crime. Whereas bribery involves an illegal gift or service meant to influence the gift's receiver, extortion involves a threat, meant to force the victim to do what the extortionist wants. Extortion does not need to follow through with the threat; it need only involve the act of making the threat to be considered extortion. Though bribery and extortion can be used to accomplish many of the same ends, the law deals with them in very different ways. Generally speaking, because of its much more invasive character, extortion is pursued much more vehemently. For more information on the differences between bribery and extortion, follow the link.
Common Areas that Witness Bribery
Though bribery is a simple enough crime that it could easily be discovered in all aspects of life, there are certain domains in which it flourishes much more than others. Bribery thrives on individuals in positions of power being willing to abuse that power. As such, government is the perfect breeding ground for bribery. Whether it's in higher-level Government functions, like bribery to secure business contracts, or in the most basic functions of Government employees, such as a bribe to avoid a speeding ticket, bribery is all too likely to spawn in the Government's workings. Political campaigns fall under the same weakness as well, for much the same reason, as political candidates have the power necessary to attract bribes. Doctors often are subject to bribes from pharmaceutical companies, desiring to unjustly receive the physicians' endorsements. Anywhere power is given unto the few, the potential for bribery exists. For more information on the most likely places for bribery to occur, click the link.
Medicine and Bribery
While governmental bribery may be one of the most well-known and prominent forms of bribery in the world today, bribery in medicine is still prevalent and perhaps more dangerous. While governmental bribery involves the abuse of power, granting illegal benefits to those who do not deserve them, bribery in medicine most often involves the unethical and illegal endorsement of drugs. For example, a pharmaceutical corporation might bribe a Government official in the Food and Drug Administration to help a specific drug get passed through regulations without having been thoroughly checked. This endangers the health of all consumers who might use that drug.
The same pharmaceutical company could then use bribery in order to ensure that doctors would recommend the use of that drug to their patients, even though those patients might better recover from an ailment with a different drug. As a result, patients are doubly endangered. This type of bribery, then, is highly dangerous to the actual lives of the public, and such danger cannot be overestimated. For more information on the links between bribery and medicine, click the link.
Business and Bribery
The use of bribery to increase profits in business is another "time-honored" unethical practice, which continues even into the modern world. Most often, this type of bribery is embodied in corporate officials offering bribes to Government officials for the sake of gaining contracts with the governments in question, but it can take other forms as well. Sometimes, businesses get special tax exemptions from governments as a result of bribery. Other times, they are given special privileges for conducting their business in the jurisdiction in question. While most of this bribery would seem to be governmental bribery, it takes a different form.
Government bribery can involve the misuse of power in criminal issues, when an individual might bribe a police officer to "forget" pulling him over for speeding. Bribery in business, however, is almost solely performed for the sake of increasing business profits through illegitimate practices. Unfortunately, however, the problem is that unless the world regulates itself uniformly, those corporations and countries that do have ethical business practices will find themselves at a disadvantage when competing against those businesses and countries that are willing to perpetrate and accept bribery. Follow the link to find out more about how bribery ties into business across the world.
Though it might at first seem not to be as inherently dangerous or damaging as the other primary forms of bribery, bribery in sports occurs and is cause for alarm and action. Sports exist as a form of entertainment based on fair competitions to determine what team or individual is best at that kind of sport. Through bribery, interested parties can influence or even determine the results of sports matches. Most often, this is done in the hopes of making copious betting on the outcomes of those sports matches. Indeed, betting on sports is most certainly a time honored tradition, and in any world in which something can be done to influence the results of gambling, someone will attempt to do so. Sports are no different.
Furthermore, most regulations that would prevent or punish bribery in the world of sports are internally mandated and enforced, and therefore, often carry less power than those who feel they have been wronged by sports bribery might hope. Nonetheless, sports bribery continues to be combated to the best of the ability of sports organizations. Click the link to get a better look into the world of sports, and how it is affected by bribery.