Bribery, though easily acknowledged as an undesirable, damaging practice, is very difficult to remove or reduce because of its very nature. A bribe is very often seen in government, perhaps more than in any other area, and the problem of combating bribes within the government is exacerbated dramatically. After all, how does one ensure that the individual who is meant to be enforcing government regulations against the bribe is not simultaneously taking bribes to ignore the illegal practices of others? If the system which is used to fight the problem is also often the source of the problem, then correcting the problem would appear to be highly difficult, at least.
The most obvious and clear method of combating bribes is actually greater public knowledge and reporting of government business. If the news media is capable of performing in depth examinations of the government such that bribes and other forms of corruption will be found and exposed, then the public will likely become increasingly angry with a government that allows for such practices. The power of public will and opinion would, in that case, become the primary means by which to address a bribe and other forms of corruption, as the public would demand some form of fundamental governmental shift so as to reduce bribery, whether it be by electing new officials or even by instituting a new government.
But this strategy encounters many difficulties, not the least of which is that spreading accurate, useful information, such as information on bribes accepted by or given to government officials, is not easy. After all, the government which the news media would be examining and investigating is also likely going to have some power in terms of controlling what the news media is or is not allowed to say. In countries developed enough to have full, genuine freedom of speech, bribes have likely been significantly reduced in both number and efficacy. Thus, in order for such information to be spread, there would have to be a system in place for spreading it, and those countries which suffer most from bribes would also likely be the least equipped for such a spread of information.
Furthermore, even if the public is given information, the act of changing the government, as described above, may not be as easy or even as nonviolent as would be ideal. Countries with a high number of bribes are also likely to have a low level of liberty or citizen control of the government. Thus, any attempts by the public to affect the government would have to be very focused and strong to actually make a difference.
Even in utterly developed countries, bribery still exists. It is possible to reduce the number of bribes within a government to very low levels, but it is likely that bribery of some form or another will exist, especially in the lower levels of government, which are often under less scrutiny.
For example, though in general bribes and corruption are highly investigated and prosecuted in the upper levels of the American Government, a bribe from a speeding violator to the officer who pulled him or her over might not be noticed or discovered with the same alacrity. The bribe, then, remains one of the fundamental problems of any form of government, the struggle against which will never be over.