Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Indian Ethics of Bribing

The “om-guy” has brought up some interesting issues in his comments that have prodded me to ponder the ethics of bribing (politicians and bureaucrats, mainly) in a corporate setting. I have concluded that bribing can be an ethically neutral or non-bad act.

Indian fledglings in their mother’s wombs know as well as you and I that setting up any multi-crore business unit (I am thinking mostly manufacturing/infrastructure here) in India requires bribing certain government folks. I would like to stress this point of necessity – bribe is REQUIRED to get such a project completed. We shall not go into the gory details of where and when and to whom bribe is given. My point is best illustrated with a simple example.

Let us now consider a hypothetical case where I set up a 1000 crore steel plant in some backward area of, say, Himachal Pradesh (reasons of cheap power and labor etc.). I pay the minimum possible bribes, say a total of 20 crore, to get permissions etc. for the project. Take note that this is not the kind of project that someone else would set up if I did not. Consider the huge list of positives that come out this: contribution to India’s economy, employment to hundreds of laborers, development (through ancillary economies that will build up around the project) of the backward area, value to shareholders of the company, etc. etc.

As a person with utilitarian leanings, I’d have to say that my act of bribing would then be an ethically non-bad act. By giving a large undue benefit to a few handfuls of assholes, I would have benefited thousands to different extents. This example is obviously widely applicable in industry.

PS: Note that there are some hidden ethical costs here - a small harm is being done to all the shareholders by disbursing their rightful money to the assholes. Also, I’d be furthering the system of bribes etc. Yet, I think the overall effect is positive.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Star in jail

Great news, gentle reader. Salman Khan has been awarded 5 years rigorous imprisonment for hunting down a Chinkara, an endangered deer species. He is apparently in some jail in Jodhpur right now, that too in a regular convict cell. Why am I so happy? Besides the fact that justice has been meted out to this imbecilic retard who killed a rare and beautiful animal for cheap thrills, we shall now be spared the corny acting and rotten movies that Salman has subjected us to over the years.