Henryk

Attempted bribery

53 posts in this topic

Personally, I consider a bribery attempt as a non-issue: the target of the bribe is free to decline the offer.I see no violation of rights in this instance.

Department of Investigatiion , City of New York, in it's directive to their employees, makes clear that one is mandated by the law to report bribe offers. I suppose that when one signs a contract, and if this condition is stipulated, then you play by the rules.

Point 3 of the directive-"If you fail to report the offer, the briber may continue to make such offers in the future, and ultimately you may succumb to the temptation"( Vatican directive?)

What is your view on bribe attempt per se?

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Personally, I consider a bribery attempt as a non-issue: the target of the bribe is free to decline the offer.I see no violation of rights in this instance.

Department of Investigatiion , City of New York, in it's directive to their employees, makes clear that one is mandated by the law to report bribe offers. I suppose that when one signs a contract, and if this condition is stipulated, then you play by the rules.

Point 3 of the directive-"If you fail to report the offer, the briber may continue to make such offers in the future, and ultimately you may succumb to the temptation"( Vatican directive?)

What is your view on bribe attempt per se?

Bribery takes place when one party has an advantage, such that trade on equal terms doesn't take place. Government employees may be able to dispense favours, and collect money for it. This is not a trade between equals; of value for value.

I made sure I was never based in Peru when we had a base there. Those who bid to go there, were happy to pay bribes for a telephone service, or for virtually every service controlled by government. I could see that they felt a sense of accomplishment in getting their way, as if they had beaten the system.

I, on the other hand would feel nothing but rage, and that I was victim in having to give a bribe. This feeling of being exploited would come, even without me willingly giving a bribe. On one occasion, the Lima customs official took a legally imported bottle out of my case and slid it under his counter. He then waved me on. It would have been futile to have made an issue of this theft. I said nothing, but fumed inside.

If a company has to bribe a government official in order not to be shut out of a bid, the company is a victim who is not guilty of a crime. The crime lies with the officials handing out favours.

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Arnold,

What is the Objectivist position ( if any) on bribery attempt,not the process itself. Would I be prosecuted if I try to attempt to bribe an official in this contry?

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Arnold,

What is the Objectivist position ( if any) on bribery attempt,not the process itself. Would I be prosecuted if I try to attempt to bribe an official in this contry?

Objectivism does not have a "position" on such concrete events. It consists of principles upon which one can evaluate such events. I think you should be able to evaluate bribery by applying virtues such as integrity and honesty.

I'm sure you would be arrested for attempted bribery if the official were honest. If you are not sure and want some real life experience, try it next time a cop gives you a speeding ticket.

In some cultures and countries, bribery is a way of life. Nothing gets done without it. In such a situation, one has to choose.

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Personally, I consider a bribery attempt as a non-issue: the target of the bribe is free to decline the offer.I see no violation of rights in this instance.

If the bribe involves a government employee or official, it certainly does violate rights. That is because a government deals in force.

The buying and selling of force without regard to objective law is a threat to everyone's rights.

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Arnold,

What is the Objectivist position ( if any) on bribery attempt,not the process itself. Would I be prosecuted if I try to attempt to bribe an official in this contry?

When I said that a company that had to bribe a government official in order to function, was not guilty of a crime, I meant it in the moral sense. He would be guilty in the legal sense. Don't ever try it, or you could end up in jail.

Objectivism doesn't issue commandments. To know where it stands, you need to know it's principles. If you want to answer any ethical issue as far as Objectivism is concerned, the answer will be based on how individual rights are affected.

In turn, if you wish to know where Objectivism founds it's ideas on individual rights, you will discover that they are firmly anchored in reality.

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Paul,

The difference between an offer to bribe and the acceptence of a bribe is obvious. The question is, why would a "honest official" find the offer so horrible,that the only choice he sees is to report. Why couldn't he just decline with a "no, thank-you" I suppose some would do just that; would you then say he is dishonest? As I understand, the offer to bribe in itself, does not violate anyone's rights. My own reason why in today's society this is an offence , is because of the prevelent view of man's nature: he is flawed, selfish and unable to resist temptation.

Would a man in a free society be punished for an offer to bribe?

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Betsy,

I agree, to bribe a government official does violate rights, but I was refering to the offer to bribe , not the acceptence of a bribe.

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Arnold,

What aspects of reality justifies punishing a person , for just offering to bribe? ( the proposition). In today's society it's considered an offence.

We're not discussing the moral worth of this act. Would you make it an offence in a free society?

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Betsy,

I agree, to bribe a government official does violate rights, but I was referring to the offer to bribe , not the acceptance of a bribe.

My two cents:

If a man has offered another a bribe, he has already committed a crime, the other man has only to choose if he will participate in it. There is, properly, crime to be found in the attempt to violate someone's rights not just in eo ipso -- in the thing itself. The fact is that such a man has acted with the intent of violating another man's rights, whether he does or not is accidental; that is to say it depends upon various other factors outside of his control (e.g. the other man saying no to the bribe).

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Arnold,

What aspects of reality justifies punishing a person , for just offering to bribe? ( the proposition). In today's society it's considered an offence.

We're not discussing the moral worth of this act. Would you make it an offence in a free society?

In a lawful society, the an attempt to bribe a police officer is an attempt to violate the law. The morality of such an act would depend on the law involved, but it would always be illegal. Society breaks down if there is no respect for the law, and that is the reality that justifies punishment.

Since a bribe is usually given to gain favour with a government official, it is an attempt to bypass the law. As I mentioned before, it may be moral to offer a bribe, but it is by it's nature an attempt to bypass the law. It goes without saying, that it then becomes an offence under the law.

If you had attempted to bribe a Nazi in order to save your Jewish family, it would be perfectly moral on your part, but highly illegal for both parties.

Another example; let us say that satellite dishes were banned in order to protect local industry, and a policeman spotted your dish. A bribe to shut him up would be moral in my opinion. However if the circumstances involved a dispute with your neighbour, it would not be, because others are involved with potential for rights violations. In a nutshell, the morality hinges on individual rights, but the danger is in taking (bribing) the law into your own hands.

Anyway that is the way I see it.

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Arnold,

I think you see it the right way. It never occured to me, that an attempt to bribe is an attempt to violate rights. Thanks to you and Nathaniel I get the picture. I also thing that's how the libertarians would interpret my former view.

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Personally, I consider a bribery attempt as a non-issue: the target of the bribe is free to decline the offer.I see no violation of rights in this instance.

If the bribe involves a government employee or official, it certainly does violate rights. That is because a government deals in force.

The buying and selling of force without regard to objective law is a threat to everyone's rights.

Is this true of bribes as such? Because I can think of cases in which a person under the rule of nonobjective or immoral laws is within his rights to bribe an official to protect his interests. For instance, a businessman may have to bribe an official to do business in the face of regulations (health department inspections of restaurants, for instance). If there's something immoral on the businessman's part, I'd put the blame for it with the regulators (or those who voted for the regulations) not with those who are forced to live under the regulations.

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If the bribe involves a government employee or official, it certainly does violate rights. That is because a government deals in force.

The buying and selling of force without regard to objective law is a threat to everyone's rights.

Is this true of bribes as such? Because I can think of cases in which a person under the rule of nonobjective or immoral laws is within his rights to bribe an official to protect his interests.

I agree.

For instance, a businessman may have to bribe an official to do business in the face of regulations (health department inspections of restaurants, for instance). If there's something immoral on the businessman's part, I'd put the blame for it with the regulators (or those who voted for the regulations) not with those who are forced to live under the regulations.

In such a case, it is the government official who is initiating force, with or without the sanction of the law, and the person who is paying the bribe in acting in self-defense.

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Are we to conclude, then, that a bribe, in and of itself, is neither moral or immoral, but must have its merits judged in context?

Could it be argued that the choice to bribe is always wrong, as it is a way of sanctioning or granting moral appeasement and recognition?

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Are we to conclude, then, that a bribe, in and of itself, is neither moral or immoral, but must have its merits judged in context?

Yes

Could it be argued that the choice to bribe is always wrong, as it is a way of sanctioning or granting moral appeasement and recognition?

This conflicts with what you wrote above. The morality of actions is always dependent on context. There is only one contextless absolute I am aware of; to make decisions in accord with reason.

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Are we to conclude, then, that a bribe, in and of itself, is neither moral or immoral, but must have its merits judged in context?

Yes

Could it be argued that the choice to bribe is always wrong, as it is a way of sanctioning or granting moral appeasement and recognition?

This conflicts with what you wrote above. The morality of actions is always dependent on context. There is only one contextless absolute I am aware of; to make decisions in accord with reason.

That is not contextless. The context is life as the standard of value, and the choice to hold that as one's standard.

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Paul,

The difference between an offer to bribe and the acceptence of a bribe is obvious. The question is, why would a "honest official" find the offer so horrible,that the only choice he sees is to report.

Because the law (or corporate policy) states that he cannot act that way.

Why couldn't he just decline with a "no, thank-you" I suppose some would do just that; would you then say he is dishonest?

Depends upon what his obligations are as dictated by the law or corporate policy.

As I understand, the offer to bribe in itself, does not violate anyone's rights.

I disagree. To what level would you carry this? If a person walks into a bank and demands money from the teller, no law has been broken because the teller could just say no. If I walk up to you and say "I'm going to kill you," all you have to do is walk away.

An attempted bribe contains within it an implied threat of force if the person simply declines. Do you think that when some gang member walks into a store and demands protection money, the store manager is free to just say no?

My own reason why in today's society this is an offence , is because of the prevelent view of man's nature: he is flawed, selfish and unable to resist temptation.

Would a man in a free society be punished for an offer to bribe?

I think you are dropping the context of what a bribe offer implies about the people involved and their motivation. It is an implied, "do this or else!" Anyone who offers a bribe knows that the official is supposed to report the bribe attempt. I don't understand your sentence above at all. A bribe takes place within the context of force. No one offers a bribe to an honest person that is known to be honest. Do you bribe the salesperson in Best Buy to give you a stereo for the cost of the stereo? No. You bribe a salesperson to make him give it you for free: "here's $50, don't ring up the stereo on the cash register." The implication involved in attempted bribery is intimidation that if he doesn't do what you want, you will you force against him.

Further, suppose the sales person just said 'no' and didn't say anything to his employer about your attempted bribe. Do you think an employee should just ignore attempts to steal products from his employer and not tell the employer that there are people trying to steal goods?

Remember, bribery doesn't just involve physical goods. Intellectual property is a significant goal for bribery.

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Are we to conclude, then, that a bribe, in and of itself, is neither moral or immoral, but must have its merits judged in context?

Could it be argued that the choice to bribe is always wrong, as it is a way of sanctioning or granting moral appeasement and recognition?

Objectivism doesn't hold to the idea of any moral issue may be judged "in and of itself." That is an instrinisic view of values. All values must be judged in context according to an appropriate standard ("man's life" or the life proper to a rational being).

As mentioned by others, a bribe is not always wrong because the official may hold power that affects the rational decisions of the person making the bribe.

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--------

The implication involved in attempted bribery is intimidation that if he doesn't do what you want, you will you force against him.

------

Correction:

The implication involved in attempted bribery is intimidation that if he doesn't do what you want, you will use force against him.

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That is not contextless. The context is life as the standard of value, and the choice to hold that as one's standard.

One cannot say "don't ever kill another human", because that depends on the situation.

One can say: always use reason in your decisions, regardless of context.

Can you give me an example where "use your reason to make decisions" would not apply?

An example of someone who didn't value his life, doesn't do it. Reason is appropriate as long as he lives, even if he uses it to plan the end an unhappy life.

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That is not contextless. The context is life as the standard of value, and the choice to hold that as one's standard.

One cannot say "don't ever kill another human", because that depends on the situation.

One can say: always use reason in your decisions, regardless of context.

What is reason (as a value) if man's life is not the standard of value?

Can you give me an example where "use your reason to make decisions" would not apply?

So you would advocate that reason should (or could) be used to decide if I should dedicate my life to become like either James Taggart or Ellsworth Toohey? I should use reason to decide which bank to rob?

An example of someone who didn't value his life, doesn't do it. Reason is appropriate as long as he lives, even if he uses it to plan the end an unhappy life.

So, then, you are admitting that reason is used when choosing life and as long as he lives? Sounds like a context to me.

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What is reason (as a value) if man's life is not the standard of value?

clip.

So you would advocate that reason should (or could) be used to decide if I should dedicate my life to become like either James Taggart or Ellsworth Toohey? I should use reason to decide which bank to rob?

The fact that they choose not to be reasonable, doesn't invalidate that they should be. They certainly use it to gain a cunning advantage to their misguided aims. As far as robbing a bank, you had better use reason to that end, or you increase your chances of failure. Think of the planning in the great train robbery. The issue is that they limit their reason to narrow goals, rather than their whole lives.

Obviously one must be alive to use reason, but that goes without saying. I still don't have an example of a situation where you can show that one should not use reason to make his decisions.

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Can't the propriety or impropriety to offer a bribe, be summarized as: when the law is non- objective , ( arbitrary) then it is moral to bribe, only if the briber is pursuing a moral purpose.

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