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Graft Isn’t Relative, It’s Wrong

I enjoyed Shruti Shah’s post last week about TI’s progress report on country enforcement in the OECD countries.

Her point about anti-corruption enforcement — that the most active countries should always encourage the laggards to be more active — seems like a critical one to me.

Uneven enforcement has a psychologically harmful aspect.

It is “unfair” if you can cheat and I cannot. So I will cheat and on it goes. Among the oldest moral excuses for bribery is that it’s normal to do business this way.

Shruti and others at Transparency International are helping Americans understand that business ethics is an interdependent world. And that American enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is a new norm that both supports global enforcement and gains from it.

As long as the playing field isn’t level, that’s never going to be an easy message. So it’s important to help Americans (and others) come to terms with the new norm and the realities of interdependent global enforcement.


Michael Scher is a contributing editor of the FCPA Blog. He speaks English, French, and Hebrew. He’s a Miami -based consultant assisting companies with FCPA compliance, investigations, and monitoring. He can be contacted here.

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