- May 5, 2013 at 6:54 pm #57446
New York times on corruption in Spain:
. . .For decades, corruption was accepted in Southern Europe as a fact of life, a way to distribute the spoils, and few people — including, in many cases, prosecutors — gave it a second thought. But the grinding economic crisis, which stalled projects and ended the flow of cash, has helped lift the veil on corrupt officials, exposing graft, bribery, payoffs, secret favors and other misdeeds on a scale that few imagined.
At a time when Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal are imposing deficit-cutting austerity plans on their hard-pressed citizens, these revelations of widespread political corruption are stoking bitter resentment, destabilizing governments and undermining the credibility of the political class as a whole.
Corruption did not cause the euro zone crisis. But the economic problems will persist, regional experts say, until these countries remake themselves into modern societies with efficient, competitive economies.
“It’s the key challenge,” said Miklos Marschall, the deputy managing director of Transparency International. “The political class has no respect in Southern Europe. The public institutions need to be rebuilt, step by step, so the government can be a credible actor.”
Spain is by no means Europe’s most corrupt nation — Greece and Italy are considered more so. But the sheer volume of political corruption cases here is proving deeply embarrassing.
More in the article:
- May 9, 2013 at 8:23 am #82729
The Northern European (and American) definition and concept of ‘corruption’ is entirely different to the Southern European (and Mexican) one. To explain it as a cultural difference probably gets somewhere near the truth.
A voluminous mountain of writing exists on the topic, so I’ll confine myself to some minor personal experiences during my many years in Spain.
I started a business on the Costa del Sol on my arrival in Spain and soon found that my British ways (honesty) were a severe hindrance, in fact it was impossible to operate the English way, the Spanish system didn’t let you, perhaps understandably so.
I got myself a Spanish partner and he taught me how to operate in his country. One of the first things he did was to send me down to the paper shop to get brown envelopes.
I had waited six months for an opening licence for the business, with my new partner it arrived within a couple of days. And so it went with all the authorities, from the mayor down to the parking attendant.
The only time I panicked was when the newsagent ran out of brown envelopes.
I’m long away from that time, and sleep soundly at night.
- May 9, 2013 at 11:13 am #82680
Up here in Catalonia I’ve never had to pay a bribe ever, nor do I know anyone who has, outside of the construction business that is. There are no bribes in construction anymore either, but then again there is no construction….
- May 9, 2013 at 7:39 pm #82664
My business times on the CDS were 20 years ago, happy, carefree days of trying to turn Spanish (I didn’t succeed). They were followed by three years in Benidorm when I fell out with my Spanish partner down south.
That was much calmer, but less lucrative too.
I still pay into the system now to boost my Spanish pension when I draw it down, but it costs me money.
Since we’re discussing corruption, I would suggest that the difference between a gift and a bribe varies depending on where you live in the world.
I could say ask Prince Andrew, but it would only complicate matters even more.
- May 10, 2013 at 4:24 pm #82640
There is more to corruption than brown envelopes!
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