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Solomon's Knot by Robert Cooter, Hans-Bernd Schäfer

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Chapter 11

Termites in the Foundation—Corruption

In the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic of the 1970s, patients bribed medical doctors for better treatment in state hospitals, high school students bribed teachers for higher grades, farmers bribed policemen to sell in town markets, and builders bribed inspectors to overlook inferior construction. Citizens generally expected to bribe state officials for permits, licenses, services, exemptions, and favorable decisions. Many corrupt results were sinister: low-quality goods, high prices, uneven public services, unsafe buildings, environmental degradation, and slow growth. Some corrupt results were comic, as when officials permitted construction of a synagogue provided its sign read, “A meeting hall ...

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