India and China: Bribing Their Way to Trade Surpluses

It's interesting that the worst performing countries in a recent survey on corruption are those which are most in the headlines when it comes to global sourcing. Yes, India and China topped the list of those countries where you can bribe your way out of just about anything. In the appropriately titled article"Bribing your way to the bottom", The Globe and Mail notes that "India, China, Russia, Turkey and Taiwan were the exporting countries that were most likely to offer bribes when doing business abroad." What's most interesting about this finding is that the Indian and Chinese legal systems could not be more different, yet both countries promote a culture where bribes are not only acceptable -- they're a part of the general business culture. Perhaps this explains why India cannot get its act together from an infrastructure perspective, since it would probably cost more in bribes than actual work product to build a decent state-funded public infrastructure. Contrast this with China, where the state can centrally plan and build highways and dams over the bodies -- and I use the term "bodies" only partially in a metaphoric way -- of just about anything deemed in the interest of "the people".

Jason Busch

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