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There are many approvals and licenses that are required to be taken by individual and/or companies for doing anything. But they are not granted unless you bribe the concerned govt. official(For the record, they are not ashamed of asking you directly) In that case, is it immoral on your part to bribe them as you have no way out?
I think its not but do let me have your views on it.

asked Jan 06 '11 at 07:17

Harsha's gravatar image

Harsha ♦

closed Mar 10 '11 at 00:22

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

The question has been closed for the following reason "Asked and Answered" by Greg Perkins Mar 10 '11 at 00:22

Under those circumstances, it is not immoral to offer and deliver the bribe. It is dangerous, from several angles, but that danger is created by the corrupt system. This situation is the heart and soul of corruption in government.

answered Jan 06 '11 at 19:04

Mindy%20Newton's gravatar image

Mindy Newton ♦

I answered this question in a recent edition of my Rationally Selfish Webcast.  An audio recording of my response is available as a podcast here: NoodleCast #60: Live Rationally Selfish Webcast. The discussion of this question runs from 51:53 to 59:19. 

My basic view is that when faced with the double injustice of government licensing, then a demand for a bribe, it's perfectly moral to use the cheapest, easiest, and/or safest method of circumventing that rights violation.

answered Feb 18 '11 at 20:06

Diana%20Hsieh's gravatar image

Diana Hsieh ♦

edited Feb 23 '11 at 23:15


In a word: Yes

answered Jan 06 '11 at 09:15

ethwc's gravatar image

ethwc ♦

Why bring in morality when force is used? Morality ends where a gun begins. The best thing to do here really depends on the context... bribing an official to flee from a dictatorship is certainly not immoral.

(Jan 06 '11 at 10:34) Selfmadesoul ♦ Selfmadesoul's gravatar image

For starting a company in India, you require many licenses and registration. I was never personally involved in these incidents but I know people who did and they tell me that you cannot get a license without bribing the official. If you see the records on this aspect, India features as one of the most corrupted countries in the world. So, I really dont think it is immoral on your part if you happen to be in those instances. And I think, this is "contextual absolute" means in this instance.

(Jan 06 '11 at 14:16) Harsha ♦ Harsha's gravatar image

I was deliberately terse in my answer. To expand a little:

Good ends do not justify immoral means. This is true when one wishes to justify torture to "justify" controlling terrorists, when one wishes to steal from producers to feed non producers, and when one wishes to participate in corrupt government in order to create a factory. If you must be corrupt to survive, go elsewhere.

(Jan 06 '11 at 22:32) ethwc ♦ ethwc's gravatar image

you're dropping context here.

(Jan 06 '11 at 23:04) Fareed Fareed's gravatar image

Its not rational to go elsewhere because there are officials who demand bribe(where should all the people living in a corrupt society end up?). Firstly, its not your choice and secondly, you do not have an option of making a choice.

(Jan 07 '11 at 02:35) Harsha ♦ Harsha's gravatar image

In 3 words: You are wrong. You would immediately bribe a thief to spare your home while he plunders another. You would immediately bribe a rapist to let your little girl go while he drags 3 others away.

The fundamental here is that the initiation of force exists on you by the government. Without it, there would be no need to bribe. You are only asking to be let be.

(Jan 07 '11 at 04:05) dreadrocksean dreadrocksean's gravatar image

No, you are not asking to be let be, you are encouraging the existence of illicit bribery as a way of governing. You cannot encourage moral conduct by engaging in immoral conduct.

Fareed, what?

(Jan 07 '11 at 09:50) ethwc ♦ ethwc's gravatar image

Also, and I do not know why I did not notice it before, observe how you introduce the initiation of force in order to illustrate your point. '.. when one wishes to steal from producers to feed non producers..'.

Your next line, '..when one wishes to participate in corrupt government..' is not only dropping context but dangerously blind. Begging, bribing and fighting off anyone, in an attempt for him to leave you alone and free from his immoral forceful coercion, is your individual right and moral imperative.

(Feb 18 '11 at 20:24) dreadrocksean dreadrocksean's gravatar image

From you logic, any slave that bribed his masters, the city in which he lived, the KKK or his government would have been ethically immoral. The redundancy is with respect to your username.

(Feb 18 '11 at 20:24) dreadrocksean dreadrocksean's gravatar image

I cannot say how I would respond to either of your scenarios. However, the question was in regard to the morality of bribing government. Ther is no doubt that most of us would perform immoral actions in certain circumstances. The circumstances do not change the basic immorality of the action. They may justify the action. Armed robbery is clearly immoral. Yet, Ragnar Danneskold felt justified resorting to that action.

(Feb 18 '11 at 22:26) ethwc ♦ ethwc's gravatar image
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Asked: Jan 06 '11 at 07:17

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Last updated: Mar 10 '11 at 00:22