In a glaring example of how the burgeoning State holds a powerful grip on humanity, political academics say that 1.6 billion people around the world are forced to pay bribes to dirty politicians and corrupt cops. That’s nearly a quarter of the global population robbed of money or personal possessions, on top of the legal taxation scheme they are subject to already.

The book, titled Paying Bribes for Public Services: A Global Guide to Grass-Roots Corruption, is written by Professor Richard Rose of Strathclyde and Dr. Caryn Peiffer of Birmingham.

“The evidence on grassroots corruption comes from surveys interviewing more than 250,000 people in 119 countries in Africa, Asia, the European Union, former Communist European nations, Latin America and the Anglo-American world.”

Bribes are paid for access to public services like healthcare and education, for permits, or after being stopped by police. Our own Eva Decesare described some notorious Texas politicians in the business of bribery.

According to the authors’ analysis, Africa and Latin America have the biggest problem with bribery, with Scandinavian countries appearing to be the most honest. However, within Africa there is a wide range of bribery rates. Sierra Leone is saturated with a 63% rate, but Botswana has only 4%.

Western-style bribery greases the collusion between leading nation-states and moneyed interests to stoke armed conflict around the world, while holding us in a maligned energy paradigm.  Here both parties are willing, profiting partners.

“The European contribution to global corruption is in the bribes that multi-national corporations pay to political elites to obtain “big bucks” contracts for such things as building dams or supplying military aircraft,” said Professor Rose.

In too many countries, if you want access to healthcare and education, or if you want to leave police with your body intact and your record clean, be prepared to pay a bribe.

“The use of public services varies throughout life. Parents of school-age children are most likely to be in contact with education officials, while older people, especially widows, are most likely to need health care, and young men are most likely to have contact with the police…
The spread of public services across the life cycle means that at some point in their lives, everybody is at risk of being affected by bribery.”

The authors go further to illustrate the stark difference in morality between State actors and individual citizens.

“Some public officials like to blame their citizens for being ready and willing to pay bribes, as part of a so-called “moral economy” of corruption, in which everybody sees services as corrupt and therefore takes payment of a bribe as a part of everyday life.However, survey data shows this is not the case. The great majority of people in every country think that bribery is wrong. They pay bribes because the alternative is doing without health care or a better education for their children.”

Justin Gardner is a peaceful free-thinker with a background in the biological sciences. He is interested in bringing rationality back into the national discourse, and independent journalism as a challenge to the status quo.