July 4th is Independence Day in the United States. It’s celebrated with camping trips, barbeques and fireworks, although in Colorado the fire danger is so high, fireworks have been banned so we will stick to the beer and brats. Coincidentally enough, the United States isn’t the only country celebrating its independence in July. Although many people in the USA have probably heard of Canada Day and Bastille Day, nearly three dozen other countries and one breakaway republic celebrate their independence, or at least the precursor towards their independence such as the adoption of their respective constitutions or the day on which they became a republic, during the month of July. This year on July 9th, the newest nation in the world, South Sudan, will celebrate independence day for the first time. July is an active month around the world when it comes to nation forming, so no matter where you are, there are bound to be some celebrations going on nearby. Sadly, in a few of these countries, there actually is ongoing conflict, so fireworks in those places really might consist of “bombs bursting in air,” so keep your heads down and stay safe if you happen to be in one.
As a follow up to the post a few days ago about Transparency International and their annual Corruption Perception Index, today we will discuss the issue of corruption in a little bit more detail, focusing specifically on one of the most visible byproducts of corruption: bribes. Bribes can come into play just about anywhere and can range from petty shakedown attempts for a few extra bucks to graft in the thousands of dollars. Depending on where you travel in the world and what mode of transportation you are taking, bribes may come in different shapes and forms and be initiated by different types of people. In the case of The World by Road, bribes usually came from street and traffic cops, and anyone who has driven their own vehicle through a foreign country, especially in a developing county, has almost certainly been flagged over and been accused of some falsified infraction that is easily forgotten or overlooked for a price.