Friction 1

One of the greatest challenges facing we humans is friction.

So what do we mean by friction?

A dictionary will refer to the resistance encountered when two objects or surfaces come together and try to move. Such as a tyre on the road.

The insights and opinions we offer are about the friction that comes between different people, between people and their institutions or their communities and also between people and the wider world.

Our first offering refers to a particular form of lubrication. It counters the friction we experience in our day to day lives and helps make things happen.

In its simplest form the lubricant is a gift, a thank you.

The team that collect the rubbish and clear the leaves received a tip this morning. A thank you gift. Nothing wrong with that.

In my view when it becomes a requirement for service it starts to become a problem. An example of this is in the US and Canada where the level of tip to someone waiting your table in a restaurant is carefully calculated and absolutely expected. That feels like a supplement to the wage, required because the employer is a cheapskate and underpays their staff. It becomes an extra tax.

In India where I’ve lived for over eleven years we have a lot of experience with a particular form of lubrication, known as bribery.

This takes it to a whole other level.

If you’re a business applying for a business permit from the corporation or a liquor licence for a bar, pay your fee and a whacking great bribe otherwise absolutely nothing will happen.

Politicians do it all the time. Jump ship to another party and be paid with a ministerial berth or some other juicy position with money making promise.

Here are two more examples I’ve discovered just this morning. In my view they are quite unbelievable.

Want a job?

Someone has bribed to get a job at a state run business. On her rate of salary it will take three years to have earned the equivalent of the bribe she has paid.

Want a driving licence?

Don’t bother with lessons or even turning up at the test centre, you never have to get in a car, ever! Just send a bribe through a broker.

This is expected in most situations to one degree or another, it is so ingrained that no one ever expects it to change.

Some might wonder why it matters.