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Yes, I think much of what we call "corruption" in the US is likely illegal or quasi illegal in other countries also, but it's often no more than low level bribery just to get someone to do their job.  We "participate" all the time when we pay a Telmex worker to move a line rather than wait the prescribed six months, or pay a CFE employee to repair a trunk electrical connection rather than do without electricity for three days. We consider it money well spent given the circumstances, and we also understand that given the low salaries paid workers by the government it's almost a necessity for them to supplement their income this way.

The more insidious forms of corruption are when, for example, town mayors, senators or presidents regularly steal enough tax money through elaborate fraud schemes to enrich not only themselves but also their extended families and friends for generations.  This type of corruption we have in the USA also, but I would argue that violations of the public trust are not as pervasive or as profitable in the US as in some other countries, particularly at the federal level.  I have a sneaking suspicion that more goes on at the local and state levels due to the lack of oversight.  We had several technical employee in our county a year ago who managed to steal $9 million by manipulating computer records and contracts. They did get caught, but much of the money may have ended up in India and the County Executive and several others lost their jobs. I've just read this article about the matter and it pretty much corroborates what's been said about corruption and lack of oversight in our local government.  One could see it coming.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sat May 15th, 2010 at 10:56:55 PM EST
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