Friday, December 31, 2010

The trickle down theory of bureaucracy

Prof Jagdish Bhagwat writes

  •  Even a blind man will tell Transparency International: “I saw him take a bribe with my own eyes.” Indeed, a distinguished Indian bureaucrat, a man of unimpeachable character, once told me that his mother had told him: “I believe you are not corrupt only because you are my son!”  
  • ……..when the East-Asian financial crisis broke out, there followed a systematic attempt to pin the blame on the affected countries: ‘crony capitalism’ allegedly had somehow crippled their economies! In other words, the acquaintances and benefactors of the East-Asian leaders were ‘cronies’ , whereas those of US leaders were ‘friends’ ? 
  • In fact, it was clear that the culprits were the International Monetary Fund and the US Treasury, which had encouraged a shift to capital-account convertibility without understanding that the case for free capital flows was not symmetrical with the case for free trade.  
  • Once the system had taken root, corruption percolated downward , from senior bureaucrats and politicians, who could be bribed to do what they were not supposed to do, to lower-level bureaucrats , who would not do what there were supposed to do unless bribed. Clerks would not bring out files, or get you your birth certificate or land title, unless you greased their palms.

  • "There is widespread acceptance of graft in the society. No parent gives a damn about monthly salary, all they are concerned about is whether he [the groom] is at a position which allows him to take bribes," he said.

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