Thursday, May 8, 2008

Corrupting Logic

So I am working (slowly and reluctantly) on legalizing my residence here in Bolivia. It's a pain in the neck. One office sends me to the next office, which sends me back to the first office, and then to another office, then back to the first office, etc....

But it brought back a memory from when I first got to Bolivia. I was at a party at a gringo friend's house and met a Bolivian neighbor from the same condominium complex (who spoke English - I wasn't yet able to meet anyone in spanish). The subject of corruption came up because someone had stolen the brain of his car out from under the nose of the security guard outside the complex.

After a good several minutes of railing against the corruption and how upset he was that the guard had been obviously bought off (which seemed a logical reason to be angry), he changed course (it should be noted that his father was in the military and active in politics during the dictatorships). He finally concluded that maybe corruption isn't such a bad thing and gave the following example:

If you want to open a factory that will employ a hundred people, and you can either take six months to get the paperwork to wind it's way through the bureaucracy or pay a thousand dollars and get it done tomorrow, then corruption is obviously better for Bolivia.

Which is an interesting argument.

What I find even more interesting is that if I tell this story in mixed company, i.e. Bolivians and gringos, only one of those groups laughs ....

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