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This is a scheme of social legitimation of corruption through its apparent democratization. It starts from not issuing receipts and having two prices for services (i.e. plumbers: 100 Euro with a receit, 70 without), to doctors demanding extra money for surgery in public hospitals, to bribing public hospital boards to not operate or not buy expensive diagnostic machines so as to increase demand for access to private diagnostic centers, to public employees receiving a percentage of the supply costs in order to select the "right" supplier, to paying prefecture employees to turn a blind eye to, often vast, construction or planning illegalities (such as building villas in burnt forest areas) or simply to hurry-up procedures that are intentionally delayed so that one is forced to bribe the official to finish up various procedures (i.e. permits for connecting new buildings to the power grid) in a reasonable time frame. The list goes on ad infinitum. The many faces of Greek corruption would require terrabytes of just to list and years to document...

Ah, how familiar, unfortunately. Just recently:

  • An acquaintance of mine tried to get a drivers license for half a year. Right before the first exam, the instructor told him plainly that he should forget about passing without giving the instructor (him) his due. My acquaintance flat-out refused, and when he passed the theory exam without problems, it seemed the instructor was bluffing. However, then came the practice test. He failed three times. Even when there was another instructor in the car and no problems were noted during the test, the test result document noted failure. Finally my acquaintance asked the first instructor how much it would cost him, to which he replied, "you should have asked that the first time", then named the sum. (Which my acquaintance final paid, to my anger.)

  • For craftsmen in my town, the two prices for services mentioned by talos are a norm. In the past month a plumber was giving me bad looks for asking for a bill. And this month a carpenter wasn't troubled by me witnessing as he gave a neighbour a bill for a third or fourth of his services only.

I was (am?) a bit of an outsider to notice the language of corruption in earlier times. And I am still unsure about... doctors. In both the media and private discussions, everyone tells me that giving some money in a briefcase or expensive gifts to (public health service) doctors is endemic. But I have never witnessed it, and never paid or was asked to pay. On the other hand, I have been rarely treated by doctors with kindness...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat May 15th, 2010 at 06:36:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Sweden, cash gifts are pretty much unheard of when it comes to driving licenses or doctors appointments. If it happens it would be someone buying a license despite failing the tests or buying a prescription for drugs despite not having the illness in question. Ie you do not pay for them doing their job, but for them to break the rules. And I would set the risk of getting reported for attempted bribe as higher then the chance of getting license/drugs.

On the other hand, cheating with taxes when it comes to contractors is fairly common, and one of the main arguments behind the maid deduction the current government introduced was to move black market cleaning to the white market.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat May 15th, 2010 at 03:56:17 PM EST
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