Some of bribery’s victims are well known. For those living under a kleptocratic regime, the electricity doesn’t work, the water is dirty, police only protect those with money and power and harass the others, hospitals are full unless you can pay “extra,” kids don’t get new schoolbooks, and so on.
But we’ve been thinking about the person who pays the bribe. She might be an otherwise law-abiding citizen who happens to work for a company or a boss who tolerates bribery or even encourages it. Lots of employees who help their companies pay bribes wouldn’t think of breaking the law in other ways. But when their job, livelihood, and family welfare are on the line, they go along with it.
That’s the day you cross a line into criminal conduct. From then on, can you think of yourself the same way? Is it harder to look in the mirror? Harder to tell an admiring son or daughter what you really do at the office? And will you end up in prison, your reputation and life in ruins?
Corrupt regimes victimize their citizens.
Corrupt companies and bosses victimize their employees. That alone should be a crime.
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Our thanks to those who turned out in Palo Alto on Wednesday to hear us, Michael Volkov, and Ryan Morgan talk about enforcement and compliance. The questions were great. We’re about half way through our spring speaking tour. Next stop: Washington, D.C. on May 12.