Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Archna
    • By MSE Archna 12th Jun 07, 12:21 PM
    • 1,874Posts
    • 6,140Thanks
    MSE Archna
    Money Moral Dilemma
    • #1
    • 12th Jun 07, 12:21 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma 12th Jun 07 at 12:21 PM
    Here's this week's hypothetical situation for you to cogitate on:

    Should Gulliver allow bribes to Lilliput?

    Gulliver's been the President of Anblica, a well run democratic country, for many years. Some of its major companies have been doing deals with Lilliput, a far away country whose huge wealth comes from Gold mines. In Lilliput bribery is seen as a regular part of running a business; and the only way to get large contracts. Gulliver is aware many normally well behaved Anblican companies have bribed members of the Lilliputian government; the net result is new Anblish jobs and a stronger economy; without the bribes that wouldn't happen, but it's against every tenet of Anblish law.

    Should Gulliver allow the bribes? Click reply to have your say


    Previous MMDs: What should Homer & Marge do about the loss of Sky?, Grant's been overpaid, should he keep it?


    Last edited by MSE Martin; 12-06-2007 at 7:16 PM.
    Report inappropriate posts: forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com




Page 1
  • TCR
    • #2
    • 13th Jun 07, 9:08 AM
    • #2
    • 13th Jun 07, 9:08 AM
    This sounds like a very thinly veiled analogy to BAe systems and a certain middle eastern kingdom.

    The fact is, that if it's illegal, then you should be prosecuted. Once you start allowing corruption - because that's what we're talking about here - it's the thin edge of the wedge, it will only get worse, resulting in honest hard working companies losing out to companies who, if prepared to bribe, are probably breaking the law in other ways.

    I was amazed that Tony, er, I mean Gulliver even had the power to call off an investigation of this type. Isn't there supposed to be a separation of power between the executive and the justice system?

    Whiter than white? Shame on you Gulliver Blair.
    Last edited by TCR; 26-06-2007 at 9:02 AM.
  • geralddlp
    • #3
    • 13th Jun 07, 9:46 AM
    • #3
    • 13th Jun 07, 9:46 AM
    I think we should get real, I'm not even going to bother with the analogy,
    do you think other countries would have these high morals ? nope, the french would be waiting in the wings to sell mirages to the saudis, and if not them then the soviet union, or the americans, the bribes will still get paid, and the only people loosing out will be the british workers.

    Gulliver Blair did the right thing, this is typical of the british need to seem to always play by the unwritten rules. No one died, it's saudi money, negotiated by sauidi royals, who want a kick back in their own money. Dress it up as funding for private jets or whatever else you want. Call it gifts or corporate hospitality if you want, but for goodness sake, business is a battle. Don't make the British companies fight with one hand tied behind their back. People that I know in Europe laugh at this, just as they do when there is an outcry because a minister has slept with his secretary. This is the way these big deals are done, the amounts are peanuts compared to the £40BN deal,
  • Targanielle
    • #4
    • 13th Jun 07, 9:51 AM
    • #4
    • 13th Jun 07, 9:51 AM
    If it's against Anblish law, then those who break the law should be prosecuted.

    If it happened within Anblica that bribery had secured one company a contract over another, there would be no question whether prosecution took place or not. It should make no difference if the bribery goes to a Lilliputian.
    • visaria
    • By visaria 13th Jun 07, 10:10 AM
    • 15 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    visaria
    • #5
    • 13th Jun 07, 10:10 AM
    • #5
    • 13th Jun 07, 10:10 AM
    http://www.mises.org/story/2578
  • njf
    • #6
    • 13th Jun 07, 10:59 AM
    Bribery and Corruption
    • #6
    • 13th Jun 07, 10:59 AM
    There are arguments for and against condoning bribery in such cases: the arguments for are practical/realistic and the arguments against are moral/idealistic. If you value consistency, though, you should take exactly the same stance on cash for honours (and lucrative government contracts). See The Corruption of Tony Blair: Britain’s Watergate? http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=6382) .

    And then there's the role of the US military-industrial-political complex in the war in Iraq. It's a filthy world...
    • JayD
    • By JayD 13th Jun 07, 11:52 AM
    • 517 Posts
    • 326 Thanks
    JayD
    • #7
    • 13th Jun 07, 11:52 AM
    • #7
    • 13th Jun 07, 11:52 AM
    Hmmmmmmmmmmm ... moral high ground versus sound economy. Nar not that simple!

    I think if it is necessary for a democracy to comply with the corrupt way another country trades in order to obtain important deals for the economic stability of your own country, then that decision should be made democratically and openly. But then it wasn't just Lillipution palms that were being greased - was it?

    It is as much the deceitful, secretive way in which the deals were struck, as the bribery and corruption of the deals themselves, that proves we - er sorry Anblica - are not a democracy at all.

    But I don't think that is news to any of us!
    • oly2c
    • By oly2c 13th Jun 07, 12:11 PM
    • 51 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    oly2c
    • #8
    • 13th Jun 07, 12:11 PM
    • #8
    • 13th Jun 07, 12:11 PM
    I think we should get real, I'm not even going to bother with the analogy,
    do you think other countries would have these high morals ? nope, the french would be waiting in the wings to sell mirages to the saudis, and if not them then the soviet union, or the americans, the bribes will still get paid, and the only people loosing out will be the british workers.

    Gulliver Blair did the right thing, this is typical of the british need to seem to always play by the unwritten rules. No one died, it's saudi money, negotiated by sauidi royals, who want a kick back in their own money. Dress it up as funding for private jets or whatever else you want. Call it gifts or corporate hospitality if you want, but for goodness sake, business is a battle. Don't make the British companies fight with one hand tied behind their back. People that I know in Europe laugh at this, just as they do when there is an outcry because a minister has slept with his secretary. This is the way these big deals are done, the amounts are peanuts compared to the £40BN deal,
    This says it all. We can't take a moral high ground when our competitors have no such scruples
    if i had known then what i know now
  • jud!th
    • #9
    • 13th Jun 07, 1:51 PM
    • #9
    • 13th Jun 07, 1:51 PM
    bribery's wrong. The fact that people do it doesn't make it right.

    My friend who works as a missionary in a middle eastern country doesn't pay bribes, and now the police have given up arresting him on weird bases to get him to bribe them to release him - they know he doesn't pay bribes. I know that doesn't work for everyone. But it's still wrong to ask for, pay or condone bribes.

    J
    x
  • bunking_off
    This says it all. We can't take a moral high ground when our competitors have no such scruples
    Originally posted by oly2c
    Absolutely correct. And we should also note that the particular laws making it illegal for an Anblican company to offer such bungs was only introduced after said company gave the money to the Lilliputian go-between. Applying laws retrospectively is a nonsense and incredibly dangerous precedent.
    I really must stop loafing and get back to work...
  • scrooge678
    What do people understand by the word "morals"?
    Surely it means the principles by which you live and your sense of right and wrong - they are not morals if they are negotiable according to what the opposition is doing, in which case they are just good ideas.
  • njf
    This question goes way beyond bribery. What's at stake is whether self-interest should override moral principles. If [BIG IF] you think it should, a) it's justifiable to support dictators like Saddam and condone torture, atrocities and mass murder by those you support as long as you think it happens to be in your interest; b) you have no grounds for arguing against anyone pursuing THEIR self-interest - the world becomes a jungle (which in many respects it is).
  • Big O
    On legality
    On the recent kerfuffle on 'Al Yamanah', any payments took place before bribery by British companies was made illegal (This applies to the recent Guardian reports over the 1980s contracts) and were thus perfectly legal if not made using taxpayer money, which is not being suggested.

    On bribery for the Eurofighter contract... well, Gulliver/Blair certainly has the legal power to end the investigation under 'National Security' as the Saudis had threatened to stop supplying intelligence on Al-Qaeida. As to whether any bribes were made to win said contract is another matter. BAe claim there weren't any and the 'needless investigation' was threatening the contract, which it was.

    As for moral, well... when in Rome...?! I dunno.

    Incidentally, normally the unions would make a fuss about about this sort of thing, but I guess (as arms is one of the few thing sthe UK can still manufacture and lead the world on) that they realise too many members' jobs are on the line at BAe, Rolls-Royce, MBDA, Smith's Industries, GKN, Messier-Dowty, Ultra Electronics, Cobbett, Martin Baker, Qinetiq, Refueling Systems, Doncasters', AETC etc....
    • faverin
    • By faverin 13th Jun 07, 9:46 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    faverin
    mmmm is it wrong to do everything the competition does to win? Ultimately no. We should walk away. Or at least be honest. If bribery is necessary why be embaressed - call it hospitality!

    Some thoughts

    No, I tell you. No, sir. Corruption charges! Corruption? Corruption is government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulations. That's Milton Friedman. He got a goddamn Nobel Prize. We have laws against it precisely so we can get away with it. Corruption is our protection. Corruption keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the streets. Corruption is why we win. - Syriana

    Good luck with the debate- i'm against it but not just now :-)
  • njf
    Blair, money and a plea to Martin
    At the risk of straying off-message, it's worth noting that

    "Top literary agent Eddie Bell, who handled the Thatcher, Major and Gorbachev memoirs, thinks Mr Blair's advance for his autobiography could be "in the region of £8m"." (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6641661.stm)

    Which firm has made the advance? Why, it's Harper/Collins, who also handled Major's and Thatcher's memoirs. What a coincidence.

    Who owns Harper/Collins? Why, it's Rupert Murdoch, who also owns the Times, Sunday Times, Sun, News of the World, Sky etc etc. What a coincidence.

    In 2006, the Independent (which has consistently criticised Blair on Iraq)reported that Murdoch was going to offer Blair a senior role in his global media company News Corp. when Blair stood down from office.

    Which newspaper did Blair single out in his recent attack on the media, despite having a circulation of less than 200,000? Why, the Independent. What a coincidence.

    Along with Iraq, the Saudi arms deal and donations for 'honours' and massive government contracts, it all stinks to high heaven (and it did from the start -remember Bernie Ecclestone?) Gordon Brown is in the same cesspool up to his neck (Private Finance Initiatives was his baby). The only realistic alternative is an ex-PR man (Cameron) who'll say anything to get elected.

    If only Martin (Lewis) could / would use his huge popular reach to try and bring about radical political change in this country.
  • Errata
    Imperialism cuts both ways.
    • Kio
    • By Kio 14th Jun 07, 12:20 AM
    • 5 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Kio
    If the Amblish didn't stop to worry at the time about their strong economy getting stronger off the backs of slavery what's going to make them start worrying now about a few greased palms now? The people who make the money will always be ruthless about the way they make it and anyway, the Amblish president is only pretending to care on the advice of his spin doctor. If he really did care, he wouldn't be president.
  • njf
    Background to Saudi arms deal
    In a previous post, I may have given the impression that it was just the Blair administration that was involved in the murky Saudi arms deal. This, of course, is not the case, as the deal was set up under Thatcher.

    To quote the Wikipedia article on Mark Thatcher - remember him? - "Thatcher is alleged by a Saudi dissident, Mohammed al Khilewi, as well as by former Labour MP Tam Dalyell, and The Guardian newspaper, to have received a multimillion-pound commission on the £20,000,000,000 Al Yamamah arms contract with Saudi Arabia, which his mother signed in 1985 as Prime Minister. According to The Guardian, "Sir Mark has always denied receiving this payment or exploiting his mother's connections in business dealings."

    Here is what John Simkin says about the background to the deal in a June 7 post at http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=6382&st=195

    [START QUOTE] "The story begins in December 1984 when Margaret Thatcher approached Prince Bandar bin Sultan and asked him to help BAE get a new weapons contract with Saudi Arabia. At the time Bandar was Saudi ambassador to Washington. He was also a close friend of George Bush. [...]

    The deal was arranged for the government by Charles Powell, Thatcher’s top political advisor [...]. Charles Powell is the brother of Jonathan Powell, Blair’s chief of staff who is currently being investigated for the cash for honours scandal. [...]

    In 1985 the Al-Yamamah agreement was signed by Michael Heseltine and Prince Sultan. The deal is worth £45bn to BAE.

    In 1989 the National Audit Office started an inquiry into allegations that huge bribes were paid to land Al-Yamamah contract. In 1992 the auditor-general Sir John Bourn agrees to suppress the report after Thatcher claims its publication would upset the Saudis.

    In 2001 a whitleblower at the Ministry of Defence claims that a BAE “slush fund” exists. BAE with the help of the MoD manage to cover-up the story. A second whistleblower provides information on the story to the Serious Fraud Office in 2004. The SFO begins an investigation into corruption at BAE. This is significant as in 1999 Blair signed up to OECD anti-corruption agreement. In 2002 the British government followed the US example by making it illegal for corrupt payments to be made to foreign politicians.

    Over the next two years the SFO discover a considerable amount of evidence that the BAE had been involved in corrupting politicians from several countries including Saudi Arabia, Chile and South Africa. In 2006 Tony Blair orders the SFO to stop its investigation into Saudi Arabia. The reason is that the SFO is just about to gain access to Swiss accounts thought to have been linked to the Saudi royal family.

    However, David Leigh of the Guardian continues to carry out his own investigation. He passed his information to the BBC who will broadcast next Monday details of how since 1985 BAE have given Prince Bandar over £1bn. It is also [to] be made clear that the MoD and government ministers, both Tories and Labour, were aware of these payments." [END QUOTE]
  • graham06
    Bribery/Inducement
    Having worked in the Middle East for many years I know that the only way to do business is to pay a middle man/agent. That is a requirement for having a trading presence. However the smart companies pay this agent very well and do not ask any questions if he uses some of his fee to grease the wheels of negotiation. This has been the way of doing business in the area for many years and will not change any time soon. So stop the moralising and accept the reallity. All other major trading countries do and turn a perverbial blind eye.
  • scoder
    Pension holidays taken by Anblish companies in the 90's that the Unions were conned into thinking that the money had gone towards financing plant and equipment improvements or perhaps head-hunting high calibre staff, had instead been used by some Lilliptian ponce to buy big boys toys.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

4,054Posts Today

7,014Users online

Martin's Twitter