Essay on What Is Wrong with Bribery?

Essay on What Is Wrong with Bribery?

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To make a payment in exchange for special consideration where the recipient has a duty to offer equal consideration to all (more commonly referred to as bribery) is morally reprehensible on three distinct grounds. Not only does it violate inherent principles of justice and equality by enabling one to use their wealth in order to attain or reinforce influence, it also provokes the recipient to violate the positional responsibility that they have tacitly agreed to uphold (this duty is therefore contractually binding): namely that he or she will perform their role in a manner that adheres to the rules of the organisation in question. The covert nature of the bribe is also problematic; once a bribe is uncovered, the vitality of the entire organisation is endangered because people will inevitably question the integrity of all prior actions undertaken by the affected institution. I shall argue that bribery is wrong regardless of whether the bribe has any impact upon the actions of the recipient, for the motivation that underlies an action is as important as the action itself. Only when one knows institutional corruption to rife can bribery be deemed common practice; in this case, one has a moral right to violate the duties of their position, for their duties require them to engage in corrupt practise.
Bribery poses difficulties on moral grounds because it is incompatible with the principal of human equality and the fundamental right for individuals to be treated with equal respect and concern. For an institution to adhere to this principle, they must operate with fairness and impartiality: nobody should have access to influence that is not accessible to all. Bribery operates as part of a mechanism by which influence is only available ...


... middle of paper ...


...in this scenario one cannot depend upon the authorities to ensure that organisations operate in a just manner.



Works Cited

D’Andrade, Kendall (1985) Bribery in the Journal of Business Ethics, D. Reidel Publishing Company (Boston), pp. 239-248.

Danley, John (1984) Towards a Theory of Bribery, Philosophy Documentation Centre pp.79-86.


Engle, Eric (2010) I Get by with a Little Help from My Friends? Understanding the U.K. Anti-Bribery Statute in The International Lawyer, Vol. 44, No. 4, pp. 1173-1188.

Green, Stuart P. (2005) What’s Wrong with Bribery in DEFINING CRIMES: ESSAYS ON THE CRIMINAL LAW'S SPECIAL PART, Oxford University Press (Oxford).

Philips, Michael (1984) Bribery in Ethics 94(4), The University of Chicago, pp. 621-636.

Turrow, Scott (1985) What’s Wrong with Bribery in Journal of Business Ethics, D. Reidel Publishing Company (Boston), pp. 249-251.

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