“Tipping” vs. Bribery Essay
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There are many similarities between paying a large tip to secure a better table in a restaurant and offering a bribe to secure a business contract. Firstly, both are essentially bribery. In both situations the bribe is something like an expression of gratitude before the fact, or, more accurately, an imposition of obligatory reciprocation—in both situations, the goal of the briber is to put the recipient of the bribe in a position of obligation. Another similarity is that both kinds of bribes are “competitive”: the bribe is made to gain a perhaps-unfair advantage over others.
In both situations the briber creates a situation in which he increases the likelihood that he will be chosen above all else, while also increasing the likelihood that the relevant merits of the different “contenders” to the wanted resource are ignored. The briber is essentially saying: “We’re both here for something. I’ll give you more of what you want, so you give me what I want before others get what they want.
There are big differences, however. One is that while the restaurant employee who receives the tip is probably poor; the recipient of the bribe for the contract is not. Both are also a form of cheating, but the bribe for the contract is much graver. Who loses in the two situations? The consequences of the restaurant bribe are minimal—everyone will still get their meals, although some at a worse table (but how bad can a table at a restaurant be?). The consequences of the bribe for the contract, however, are huge, and can be life altering—for the better or for the worse.
Considering all the points discussed, it becomes apparent that the two scenarios have many similarities, but they are not the same.