I had my first true bribery experience today, which was exciting. On the way home from work the car was pulled over by a police officer. The headlights on the car weren’t working perfectly, so he either had to have the headlights on or have them off. The driver had been keeping the headlights on, but when passing through this same intersection earlier in the evening the cops pulled him over to tell him to turn them off. Now we were going back through the same intersection and he turned them off while waiting for the light, because the cops were still there. This time the cop pulled him over for not having them on, and was trying to shake him down for money.
The system of bribery in India seems much more fair (and capitalist) than in North America. The only thing that matters is cash, whereas in NA social status also is a big factor. For instance, if I get pulled over for speeding I’m likely to get a ticket. If a famous basketball player gets pulled over, chances are he’s not going to. Then there’s also the back-room high-power bribery that goes on in politics and business.
I want equal opportunity bribery. I don’t want to have to be famous like OJ Simpson to get away with murder. I want to be able to pay the cops $20,000 and have them “forget about it.”
Maybe not. But I do think that the North American style of bribery is elitist. Somehow the Indian solution seems more fair.