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Cultural Differences and Customs in Bribery

Cultural Differences and Customs in Bribery

Cultural differences in the understanding of bribery are some of the most difficult hurdles to overcome when dealing with international politics. What might be perfectly commonplace in one nation of the world, in another could be interpreted as an unforgivable act of bribery. A very basic example includes tipping, the practice of leaving a gratuity for services from a waiter or waitress, or a bellboy. While in America, tipping is very much commonplace and considered the norm, in other societies, tipping is viewed as a form of bribery and is frowned upon.
Furthermore, in some societies, other forms of bribery fall under the same purview as “tipping”, and therefore bribery itself becomes more acceptable. For instance, in America it is against the law to give a public officer a gift as a reward for acting in his official capacity. This is considered bribery charges under American law. But in some Arab countries, the concept of baksheesh covers some bribery of this sort, such as when a faqir asks for baksheesh, and is socially acceptable.
Even the United States does not have a uniform legal understanding of when bribery charges would apply to certain actions in that there are several exceptions which may not, at first glance, make sense. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 prohibits bribery of foreign officials for the purpose of obtaining foreign business contracts, but it specifically allows facilitation payments to be made. 
These facilitation payments, or “grease payments,” are payments made specifically to increase the speed at which an official might perform a duty which he was already bound to perform. In other words, grease payments are not bribery charges because the official is already going to perform this duty. The grease payment simply means that the official will perform the duty sooner.
Grease payments might violate local laws, but are federally permissible, even if they are socially perceived in a light similar to bribery charges. And yet, in other countries, grease payments of this sort are not only perfectly legal, but are commonplace. The provision of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that allows for grease payments was likely instituted to allow for dealing with foreign officials on the terms of their own cultures, in which grease payments are not considered bribery and are often expected.
As another example of cultural differences, American law and culture accepts, if somewhat begrudgingly, the presence of monetary contributions to political campaigns. Though these are often restricted to certain limits and avenues, such contributions are still commonplace, and often perceived as necessary for running a wining political campaign. In other countries, however, such a practice would not only be considered immoral, but it would also be illegal.
Bribery does extend outside of the purely legal or governmental realm, especially in terms of what forms of bribery are socially acceptable and which are to be frowned upon. In some formerly Communist countries, such as those that formerly were in the Eastern Bloc, bribery may be expected and customary in order to obtain health care from doctors working for the Communist government and not in the private sector. Such a practice would be frowned upon in America, but might not fall directly under bribery laws, as doctors are not paid government officials. It would, however, likely cause trouble for the doctor with the American Medical Association.
In the end, cultural differences in the understanding of which actions deserve bribery charges can easily lead to any number of unfortunate inter-cultural incidents, including situations in which citizens of one culture perform an action they deem perfectly normal, while inside another country’s legal jurisdiction. Understanding the customs and laws of another culture concerning bribery is critical when contemplating business or any kind of dealing with members of that foreign culture

In Depth Look Into Bribery

In Depth Look Into Bribery

Background
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.
Sports Bribery
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.

Different Forms of Bribery

Different Forms of Bribery

Bribery, as defined by Black’s Law Dictionary, is “The receiving or offering of any undue reward by or to any person whomsoever, whose ordinary profession or business related to the administration of public justice, in order to influence his behavior in office, and to incline him to act contrary to his duty and the known rules of honesty and integrity.” Put in other words, bribery is the use of money to induce another with power and official, legal responsibility not to abuse that power, to then use that power in an abusive fashion.
Bribery does not include just money bribes, although money bribes are the most commonly recognized form of bribery. Bribery laws also restrict bribes involving transfers of rank, preferment, privilege, objects of value, or unfair advantages. To display how serious bribery is treated in American bribery laws, consider the following: in Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution, bribery is cited as one of only two crimes which, when committed, should immediately lead to the impeachment of the offending President, Vice-President, or any other officer of the law to have committed it, either by offering bribes or accepting them. The other crime? Treason.
Today, bribery laws generally bear certain common traits concerning how bribery is to be treated. According to law.jrank.org, these common traits are, first, that bribery laws apply to both those giving bribes and those accepting bribes equally; second, that they apply to anyone working for the Government in any capacity, even a temporary one, including jurors and legislators; third, that bribery can be committed by the briber even if the individual being bribed is unaffected and does not take the bribe; and fourth, that they treat bribery not as a misdemeanor, but as a felony.
Bribery laws in America prevent officials from being influenced by bribes, but they also go so far as to disallow gifts for “official acts” performed by the legal officials in their jobs. Regardless of whether these gifts were given with intent to manipulate, both offering and accepting such gifts falls under the domain of bribery.
A form of bribery laws in America, anti-corruption laws, often deal with campaign contributions, limiting them and directing them towards certain legal forms, such that politicians theoretically will not be bribed by lobbyists or others to change their policies as the lobbyists desire. Violations of these laws, however, are often interpreted as misdemeanors, instead of felonies, and are often construed in a different light than bribery.
Most bribery cases come to light only because of either particularly egregious violations of bribery laws which cannot go ignored or political investigation on the part of political opponents. Despite the harshness of bribery laws, the punishments of those laws have not been enforced in all cases unequivocally, and as a result, America’s methods of dealing with bribery are a little more in flux than they might seem at first. 
Regardless, however, clear and blatant acts of bribery will undoubtedly go noticed and will be punished to the fullest extent of the law, especially after so many famous instances of political corruption, including Watergate. Indeed, after Watergate, a number of programs sought discovery and prosecution of those who had either made or accepted bribes.
Bribery, as one of the most constant threats to the correct functioning of the American governmental system, remains one of the clearest possible violations of the law that any public official might make, especially now in the times of major companies with plenty of money available for strong bribes.

Difference Between Bribery and Extortion

Difference Between Bribery and Extortion

Because bribery and extortion have many elements in common, it is easy to misconstrue one as the other, but important not to. Both are criminal offenses and both involve the exchange of money, property, or services, but the manner in which the exchange occurs and the parties involved often vary depending upon the nature of the crime. A charge of extortion, for instance, need not involve public officials to be made, whereas bribery as a criminal offense involves those employed by the Government, mostly, along with certain clear provisions for cases of bribery in business.
 
 
The primary difference depends on the nature of the relationship between the person receiving goods, services, or money, and the person giving them. In extortion, the receiver is the initiator of the transaction, as opposed to the giver. But in bribery, the bribee could still be the initiator, instead of the briber. The key difference, then, is that in extortion the extorting individual, the receiver of goods, is not offering anything to the extorted individual, the giver. 
 
 
The receiver is actually making a threat towards the extorted party, threatening to perform a certain action that will harm the extorted party unless the extorted party gives the receiver whatever the receiver requests. Bribery, on the other hand, might involve the bribed individual asking for a bribe from the bribing individual, but in general, the bribed party will then do something in the favor of the bribing party.
 
 
As an example, take the following: Government official Albert tells businessman Bob that in order for Bob's company to get an exclusive Government contract, Bob needs to bribe Albert. This is not a threat; Albert is not saying that he will harm Bob if Bob does not give Albert what Albert wants. Albert is instead simply saying that he will deny Bob the good that Bob seeks, unless Bob bribes Albert. In this example, Albert is the bribed party and Bob the bribing party, despite the fact that Albert may have initiated the contact.
 
 
But in extortion, the relationship between the two is quite different. Businessman Bob threatens to reveal Government official Albert's affair with a woman other than his wife unless Albert gives to Bob the exclusive Government contract. In this case, Bob is genuinely threatening Albert with harm, specifically harm to Albert's reputation, unless Albert does what Bob wants. Bob is not offering to give Albert anything positive; if he did, it would be a bribe. Bob is instead, essentially, offering to withhold doing something negative if Albert does as Bob asks.
 
 
The earlier mentioned difference between the two is also quite significant, in that there need be no Government employee involved in an extortion case. There does need to be a Government official, or some other specifically mentioned instance of unlawful bribery involved in a bribery case. 
 
 
Extortion could occur between two businessmen and still be a criminal offense, whereas bribery is primarily focused on the bribing of Government employees or bribing by Government employees. But the most important difference is the difference between a threat to do harm in extortion and an offer to do good in bribery.