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It may seem strange but as Absolute Austro-Libertarians we are all in favor of bribery in a Democratic system. From our point of view, bribery is nothing more than a voluntary contract between two parties. Such a contract is the means to obtain something that would otherwise be un-obtainable. Most of the time, these things are unavailable due to government action. Bribery allows us to regain our right to a fee market as specified in the Master Contract, and so we say: bribery, the universal equalizer.

 

THE LOGISTICS OF BRIBERY IN THE ABSOLUTE AUSTRO-LIBERTARIAN SYSTEM

There is no mystery here. As we stated above, bribery is simply a voluntary contract between two people. The bribing person has the right to do so because the rights to property are absolute. Whatever this person decides to do with the money is nobody else's concern.

The bribed person also has absolute rights to contract. Therefore is capable of voluntarily agree to a contract.

As it stands, there are no other impediments to bribes in an Absolute Austro-Libertarian system. However, there may be other contractual limitations. The bribed person may have agreed to a contract which includes a clause not to take bribes and therefore if it does, it is liable for the full extent of the damage.

For example, an employee of a company signed a contract not to disclose specific information. If this person accepts a bribe to disclose this information to us, then this person is in breach of contact.

However, it must be clear that we are not in breach, because we have a different and valid contract with this person and not with the company, which would compel us not to bribe employees. Therefore, we are not liable for any damage.

There is one more case we need to review. What happens if I bribe a person to harm somebody’s property? That is certainly a valid contract, however, by so doing we are both in breach of the Master Contract and therefore liable to the full extent of the damage.

Therefore, in this system, lacking any other contractual limitations, bribery is most certainly within our rights.

 

THE ETHICS OF BRIBERY IN THE ABSOLUTE AUSTRO-LIBERTARIAN SYSTEM

Why this section? Simply because there is always a detractor out there telling us that we are un-ethical, immoral, atheists, lacking social justice...blah… blah… balh…blah…. (insert your preferred justification here).

And the answer is:  Yes Sir we are!

We are all that and more because the Absolute Austro-Libertarian system leaves all such considerations to every person in particular. It is your decision, not ours. If you feel like not bribing based on religious or ethical or social or whatever other considerations you may wish to apply, it is your decision and yours only.

The Absolute Austro-Libertarian system is simply a platform for coexistence. Anything else are extra benefits.

 

THE LOGISTICS OF BRIBERY IN DEMOCRACY

By Democracy we mean current systems; existing in whatever strange stage of affairs they may find themselves (formal democracies, left, right, socialistic, tyrannical, dictatorial, oligarchical, etc.).

Typically, bribes are used with governmental organizations and people.

For example, you bribe a government official and you get a no-bid contract. Or you bribe an electrical inspector and this person overlook or diminishes your electricity contract so you pay less electricity.

You want a zoning restriction lifted from your house because you want to build an extra room. But according to current zoning laws you cannot do that so you bribe a politician to push forward a zoning exception.

What about if there is a public phone company and you live further away from the city and the company simply refuses to extend phone lines that far away. They do so based on rules and regulations specifying that past certain distance they will not string lines. So you bribe an employee from the company and you get your phone line.

Typically bribes are used to get a good or service that one would normally not be able to get or get it on a timely basis.

 

PUNISHMENT OF BRIBERY IN DEMOCRACY

Before moving forward, we need to analyze the “criminality” of bribery in the Democratic system. We have showed you in the lesson Justice in the Austro Libertarian System, the Absolute Austro-Libertarian point of view of criminality which we equate with damage and therefore liability.

This is a clean, direct and obvious point of view. However, in Democracy things are much more complicated.

If you bribe a government employee, you are criminally guilty.

If you bribe an employee or a private company you may or may not be criminally guilty, depending if said employee is working for a regulated industry or not. Which is a gigantic gray area.

You may or may not be criminally guilty if you offer a bribe to an employee of a non-regulate private company, depending of the country you are in. You may be statutorily guilty (which is to say you are guilty just because there is a law against it but there is no actual damage). Or you may not. Yet another gigantic gray area.

Also, you may be criminally guilty if you bribe an employee of a non-regulated company and as a consequence of this bribe some harm may come to pass to other people.

You may or may not be criminally guilty if you bribe somebody to get out of a life-threatening situation.

So, you may or may not bribe, depending of a myriad terms and conditions that you never agreed to, and interpreted by a judiciary you never elected and depending of the territory you may be in, and the actual, operating conditions you may find yourself in.

Confused yet? We thought so.

 

THE ETHICS OF BRIBERY IN DEMOCRACY

Society and Equality

We now have to address the “ethics” (or morality or religious validity or… whatever other excuse our overlords may want to insert here). We need to do so simply to demonstrate the utmost stupidity of it all.

The main argument against bribery in a Democratic system is that bribery can get you privileges that other people may not be able to access. This is unfair because we want to build a society of people with equal rights.

This argument is, of course, idiotic because the term society is nonsense, particularly when it comes to equality, as we demonstrated in lesson Don’t talk to us about society.           .

So the argument reverts back to the original idea of unfairness simply because you are getting something that other people can’t.  Forget society and inequality.

 

Recovering your rights

Let’s take a look at the following scenario: you bribe a government official to get an advantage over everybody else. Seems unfair… until you consider a few facts.

First at all, you are doing nothing else than exercising your absolute rights to your money. Rights that were stolen from you by the government. It’s your money and the government has no right to tell you how you spend it. Other people can also bribe the same official with their money. You are not having an advantage over somebody else. Everybody is welcomed.

Secondly, you are making a free market offer for goods or services to a government official. You are simply exercising your rights to a free market which, again, the government has stolen from you. A free market is not “fair”. The highest bid always wins. However, everybody is welcomed to place an offer. You are not having an advantage over somebody else.

For example, why is that governments have rights over your house, over your land? It’s your property, it’s yours not theirs. Therefore if you have to bribe an official to allow you to add a new room, you are doing nothing more than getting back your rights, rights that were originally stolen by the government. So how exactly is this immoral, unethical, illogical? The truth is that it isn’t. It is not. And that pretty much summarizes any scenario dealing with government officials.

The truth is that the government has stolen your rights and you are just claiming them back through bribery.

 

Neutralizing artificial monopolies

In general terms in second or third world countries everything related to governments operates on bribes. 

If you would have to go through normal channels, you would be either denied or it would take forever. This is so because the government has a self-imposed artificial monopoly on a number of things. Those things utterly useless but absolutely critical just because the government says so. For example, the standard document ID or a driving license.

From a free market perspective, licenses make no sense. The general excuse as to why licenses are required is so that a government won’t prosecute you for doing something that would otherwise be considered a crime. Never mind that is the government who decrees what is crime and what is not.

For example, if you would to perform surgery on somebody without a medical license it would be a crime. However, in reality, it does not make any sense because the license in and by itself doesn’t guarantee anything other than this person has a certain level of education.  

If a person has a medical license, are you guaranteed a good diagnostic or treatment? No. Are you guaranteed best effort? No.  Are you guaranteed your  satisfaction? No. Money back? No. What are you guaranteed then? Nothing. Actually, you need to declaim a large number of expectations if you even want to see a doctor. And if there are no benefits to you, then it is obvious that a license is arbitrary and useless.

Consider this, even today, many people go to all kinds of healers and pay for their services. Many of these healers have no formal medical education whatsoever and therefore no license. Some help, some don’t. It’s a voluntary contract. Why can’t the same process work for doctors?

The answer is very simple. Doctors want to maintain an artificial monopoly so that they can squeeze out everybody else. Which is ridiculous because if they are so good they can easily establish a natural monopoly and nobody will bother with other types of healers.

On the other hand, if they are not that good, their income will decrease because of competition.  And how did they solved the problem? You guessed it. They demanded an artificial monopoly through the process of licensing from the government; under the guise that they are protecting society. And we have seen  in the lesson Don't talk to us about society  that the term society in and by itself does not exist, is meaningless and so is their point.

Therefore, healers operating without a license and bribing government officials to allow them to keep healing, are doing nothing more than neutralizing artificial monopolies.  How exactly is this immoral or unethical? It isn’t.

 

Recovering fairness and market equality

In the second or third world, you get through bribery what you cannot get otherwise or in a timely manner. But consider this; most powerful people in such countries have government contacts enabling them to get goods and services whether it makes sense or not, whether they are supposed to wait or not.

This is a very unfair system. If you are nobody, which most people are, then you are screwed. However, if you are somebody then everything gets to you on a silver platter. And so, through bribery, you are doing nothing but leveling the playing field. In other words, you are placing free market theory into practice.

That service, that good has a value for your and you are willing to pay it. You pay the price but the price includes bribery.

And so through bribery people get what they need, in other words, it is an equalizing system, which is always good.

Equalization does not mean what politicians mean as we have seen in the lesson Don't talk to us about society.

Equalization in a free market means that everybody has the right to make an offer. If the market accepts that offer or if it rejects it that’s a different story. But you have the right to place the offer, offer that would otherwise not be available. This right has been denied to you and you are simply recovering it back through a bribery. This means that bribery makes the system much more fair and equitable.

 

Bribery for the masses

There is something else we need to review. Most people assume that bribery must be very expensive. However, that’s usually not the not the case. This is so  because of one of free market’s wonderful properties, mass production. The more product you have the less is worth.

If you have somebody taking a bribe to get you something, and this person is the only source, this person will rise prices. It is a classic supply and demand scenario. However, what happens if other people start offering the same services? Prices drop. Supply and demand, mass production in action.

The amount of supply will increase which lowers the price of the bribe, which in turns makes it accessible to most people. Presto, equal rights!

For example in many Latin American countries when you take a train, there are inspectors who are entitled to verify your ticket. If you don’t have a ticket, then they are entitled to issue you a fine. In many places the fine is above reasonable, this is, it is many times above the true value of the economic damage. It can be 10 times or more the price of the ticker.

Now, those inspectors have very low salaries and they don’t get a percentage of the revenue generated by the tickets or the fines. Therefore, reasonably enough, they are mostly bribable. If they catch somebody without a ticket, they will ask for only 3 or 4 times the value of the ticket, which they will keep. This is so because most of the inspectors are looking for bribes. Supply and demand; mass production. Through this mechanism most people can not only access a bribe, but the bribe actually provides a better mechanism to gauge and recover true economic damage.

 

CONCLUSION

Therefore, we say that bribery in the current system is the great universal equalizer.  Because through bribery you can get back what the government has stolen from you.

Bribe or not, your choice.

 

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

 

 

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