Baksheesh (Bribery)

Merchai
Image from Juan Ochoa

Throughout the Civilized Galaxy, and beyond, bribery exists and is often more prevalent / influential the more restrictive an area is. The level of technology available in an area may limit this behavior in many ways. For example while it is possible to smuggle into and / or out of an angelnet technotelepathic zone, it can only be accomplished if one understands the intricacies of the local defenses and has the means to overcome them. Effectively, this may make such action highly impractical, from a modosophont point of view.

The key to using bribery effectively is in discovering:

1. What official(s) can meet your needs / desires?

2. What are the needs / desires that official / those officials?

3. Some method of fulfilling both parties need(s) and / or desires.

4. Some method of protecting both parties from unwanted secondary effects, whether they are they legal, social, or otherwise detrimental to one or both parties.

Typically bribery entails breaking legal bans or social taboos to deliver goods, information, and/or services. This is practically by definition idiosyncratic of the polities in question. For example, the legal erotogen one purchased some time back may be banned in the current polity/clade/region, and thus may be of greater value and have unwanted secondary penalties associated with it.

One common method of bribery/baksheesh involves hiring one or more locals variously called guides, cultural interpreters, interface agents or many other such titles. These employees/brokers accept fees for 'local cultural interfaces' or the like, and use a portion of such fees to make such bribes as are necessary. Of course, the better the local is connected within the web of bribery and other lawbreaking in a given area, the more effective they tend to be. Unfortunately, such well-connected (and hence demonstrably duplicitous) sophonts are typically unlikely to be fully forthright with their costs and fees, for example charging a high price to perform tasks any knowledgeable sophont in their region could handle.

This is a fairly common practice among megacorps when conducting business outside their immediate sphere of expertise, or within areas where bribery is considered normal but still illegal, giving the megacorp at least one layer of abstraction from any potential illegalities/penalties. In addition the intermediary's position with respect to the official(s) in question can be of utmost importance, allowing for use of a delivery channel for goods, information, and services that already exists.

Another method of bribery is by providing legal, but sometimes difficult to obtain materials, technology or commodities (aka access to scarcity). While this is again area/polity/clade idiosyncratic, it can still be very effective and may take the form of luxury, certified one-of-a-kind, or other low production rate items.

 
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    A bribe expert knows the 15 basic ways to profer a payment for semi- or illegal services, as well as most if not all of their fifteen factorial combinations. Often an upload, ai, or alife, due to their flexibility of communication apparati. Mindworker profession.
 
Development Notes
Text by John B and Chris Shaeffer

Initially published on 04 July 2003.