Corruption - Is it stealing?

Rick Snyder

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Disclaimer; The use of the words (Dominican or Dominicans) does not refer to all Dominicans and is used here because this board is about the Dominican Republic. It is understood that these same problems are experienced and are present in all parts of the world but as this is about the DR then that is the object of the discussion taking place.

The act of corruption in the DR is an inbreed, taught and therefore learned
procedure, i.e., cultural. It is in fact an act of stealing which brings up the question as to why the Dominicans who commit these acts feel no remorse and believe it is okay to do such.

It all revolves around the definition you give to the word stealing. If we define the act of stealing as the taking of someone's property without that person's permission then we see that society does indeed condone stealing all the time. Taxation takes from us, under threat of force, if necessary, some of our property. To say that it is right, and therefore not stealing, is to ignore the fact that the same activity (taking someone's property against his or her will) is seen in some circumstances to be right, and in other circumstances to be wrong.

It is my contention that Dominicans use this same methodology in their dealings of corruption, stealing, because they consider it to be right and therefore not stealing.

Having said that then the question arises as to how these Dominicans can be taught or convinced that their actions of corruption are if fact wrong and go against society as a whole?

Rick
 

Rocky

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Rick Snyder said:
Having said that then the question arises as to how these Dominicans can be taught or convinced that their actions of corruption are if fact wrong and go against society as a whole?

Rick
Both families & schools would have to teach those values to the kids, for them to change their perceptions about what is stealing, and what is not.
I know all too well what you are talking about.
I can't tell you how many times, Dominicans, angry with me, after me calling them "ladrone", said to me, "Don't you call me ladrone. I'm no ladrone. I took your (enter whichever item it was at that time) but I did not steal them".
The first time I heard a Dominican tell me that, I thought she was nuts. But it turns out it's a common way of thinking.
I suppose only the government could get this type of thing in motion, by way of a campaign, and insiting the school teachers teach those values.
 

drbill

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food for thought

I need a rest from the knock-knock jokes.

Hmmm. Some acts of corruption constitute theft, both seem widely tolerated, if not inbred or taught.

Are Dominicans more anti-authoritarian than others, less socially cooperative?

Is all government distrusted, disliked, deserving of any abuse... the legacy of a dictatorship?

Does poverty trump honesty?

"Viva yo?"

I do see in the news that another reputedly-incorruptible govt. official was shot and killed the other day... .
 

Rick Snyder

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Speaking of corruption news, did you see this or thisand thisand this,,,, whew I'm tired of looking and there are so much more.....

Drbill your stated question, "Does poverty trump honesty?", is one of those questions that I would love to hear responses to.

Rick
 

Larry

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I have come to learn that a Dominican who can con or scam someone is not considered a theif but is considered to be "clever". In the United States, if a businessman scammed a client/customer/etc. he would quickly develop a reputation of being a snake. Anyone who would be told of his actions would surely not use his services or visit his establishment afterwards. In the DR, however, it is EXPECTED that the same businessman will try to scam people. The attitude is that he is being clever and that it is the VICTUMS fault for allowing himself to be scammed.

Nice thread Rick. I enjoyed our conversations in Sosua and look forward to seeing you again soon.

Larry
 

GringoCArlos

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"It all revolves around the definition you give to the word stealing. If we define the act of stealing as the taking of someone's property without that person's permission then we see that society does indeed condone stealing all the time. Taxation takes from us, under threat of force, if necessary, some of our property. To say that it is right, and therefore not stealing, is to ignore the fact that the same activity (taking someone's property against his or her will) is seen in some circumstances to be right, and in other circumstances to be wrong." - quote from Rick Snyder
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Rick, you are using flawed logic. The government has the RIGHT to impose taxation, as it is decided upon, and passed as laws by officials elected by the people of whatever country, to charge the population in order to provide public services. The government is not 'stealing' from its citizenry in this case.

A government official who agrees to accept RD$10,000 from you to release your car from Customs upon importation is STEALING whatever the legal import duties would be, from the Dominican government, who has a lawful right to collect this customs duty. Same official is then corrupt.

(AND, as a side note, if the same Dominican Customs official accepts a case of Scotch from a US Embassy employee, in replacement of any Customs duty to be paid on a vehicle importation is ALSO theft from the Dominican government - this has happened, and it's very hypocritical of Embassy staff, wouldn't you say?)

I have also heard the logic used by 'some' dominicans, who would say that to strip a dead person in the street of anything of value, clothes, shoes, jewelry, or money, that the dead person no longer needs it, so why not for them to use?

I have also heard the same logic used by (mostly poor) dominicans who ask "why should I save anything for tomorrow, I may not wake up tomorrow, so I am going to enjoy this money today. Tomorrow is tomorrow".

If the Dominican government agrees they will discontinue charging a 13% tax as of a certain date, say 01 July, and then on their own, one government department such as Customs, begins charging a new tax that in effect is the same taxation under a different name, without the Dominican government enacting the laws to charge this new tax, then that department is STEALING from the citizenry.

Customs wouldn't have the right on their own to do this without new legislation, even if they are operating apart from government. Regarding taxation, it is their job to enforce the laws, not to make them as they please.

Good thread.
 
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A.Hidalgo

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I believe that part of the corruption problem is a result of the 30 odd years the Dominican society was subject to under the corrupt Trujillo dictatorship. The effect of this corruption after so many years seeped deep into all levels of the daily lives of the citizenry. I am not saying that during those years most Dominicans were crooks or swindlers but politicians and goverment institutions probably were. After so many years of this unfortunately some of the population saw "stealing" as something normal that the people in power did.

We are still living with the legacy of the Trujillo dictatorship. Look at countries like the former Soviet Union, Romania,Bulgaria, Brazil etc. Countries that had communist of military dictatorship for many years who are struggling with corruption at all levels even though the are now "democratic".

I will conclude by saying that I don't believe Dominicans are any more corrupt than other societies. We are no more predispose in being corrupt than anyone else on this planet.
 

Rick Snyder

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Let me interject at the onset that this thread is no way about one group of people are more corrupt, bad or any other noun you wish to place in there over another group unless you are talking about the class of said people. The OP had a disclaimer attached to it concerning this and there is no reason to sway from the OP.

This thread is about the Dominican Republic and only the Dominican Republic. That is the first and last warning and I’m sorry that I must state that.

Rick
 

Chris

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drbill said:
Is all government distrusted, disliked, deserving of any abuse... the legacy of a dictatorship?
I don't see any government today, over the world that is worthy of respect. Looks like the old thing... power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Once one is in the position that 'this human right' is more than, or less than, than 'that human right', you're in the position of making decisions in terms of what is better for people, and what not.

Switzerland has it mostly right these days (at least, according to the Swiss) ... It costs a hell of a lot for all those referendums, but everyone mostly is represented. Yea or Ne... Si ? No. I don't know what the significance is of being an extremely wealthy country in this sense. I think even poor countries could follow this way... I'm heading into being like really old y'know. Well, I'm telling you life has changed. There is less compassion.... and more Government!
 

GringoCArlos

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Just within the Dominican Police forces, I can think of two glaring, well publicized examples of what I see as corruption to the bone.

First, when ex-President Mejia said publicly that we can't expect the police on the street to survive on what we pay them, and we should expect them to resort to things like charging street fines to motorists, etc to make up the difference.

First, pull all 32,000 officers in. Reassess just what the heck 7/8 of them are doing instead of being out in the street protecting the citizens. then fire half of them, and pay the remaining officers twice what they made before so they CAN make a living wage without resorting to criminal activity inthe form of bribes, etc.

The second is in today's news. For a Public Finance minister to say that a contract was drafted before the law took effect, EVEN though he, or the signers to the contract , knew in their heart of hearts that it was contrary to the public good, is corruption.

This contract apparently also includes the head of the Interior and Police Minister, who I previously had had good impressions of, based on his prior actions in other matters. It appears that the present government doesn't need any lessons from the past government on writing contracts when it comes to self-serving wasteful spending of the Dominican Public's tax moneys, whether paid for in the form of taxes or loans or bonds.

If Leonel wants to prove he is TRULY fighting against public corruption, he should immediately cancel this bloated, corrupt contract for over-priced transport equipment for the Police, and conduct a fully open, public bidding process to achieve same.

Instead of spending his Presidential Publicity Budget on pumping up his image, print the contract details and descriptions, inviting public bids, require a big performance bond to be posted with their bid, print all of the bids received, and the details of the winning bid.They could accomplish the same thing at half the price, without the skimming at all levels.

Leading by example costs nothing. Maybe the public would then catch on too. There is still hope.
 

drbill

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I personally agree, poor people should be held to a lower standard in this respect. In Rick's premise, this moral relativism is a bad thing, certainly in conflict the the Ten Suggestions many of us were raised with.

I wonder if otherwise-honest people become corrupted/infected when they gain some postion of responsibilty in the government, OR is some measure of dishonesty a job requirement, i.e., only a crook would pursue public service as a career?
 

Chris

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drbill, I think one has to have the capacity to ask the questions firstly, and secondly, get to some answers in some real sense before you can realy be held responsible.
 

drbill

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Okay, then where do we go from here? If it's a question of capacity, and it may well be, the implications are messy, I think.

Rick, say something!
 

Chris

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Capacity is the thing. The thing of today. Whether it will prove out to be the thing of tomorrow, we don't know. I think Rick will say something.

I have had two only epiphanies in my life ... split second experiences that changed my way of thinking ... that changed my life. Both of them had to do with people without capacity.

The most recent was here in the Dominican Republic, when a person with some capacity said to me... What you are talking about sounds real sweet .. We do not have the ability to do that, we do not have the tools to do that, we do not have the imagination to do that, we do not have the capacity to understand what we should do, to be in a place where we can take responsibility for ourselves.

That was quite a moment.
 

Rick Snyder

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GringoCArlos,

Yes I am using flawed logic to a certain extent but not completely. Once again you must remember that we are talking about the DR and not any other country. When looking at taxation you have to envision as a citizen of this country you are in a contract with all the other citizens of this country. You all agree to collectively pay for public services because you cannot efficiently afford them on your own. You collectively agree, in a spirit of charity, to provide for those who cannot provide for themselves. This agreement occurs through the democratic process. You vote for those who decide who is taxed, how much they are taxed, and where those tax pesos will be spent. When a citizen violates this collective agreement by not paying taxes, there have to be consequences. When you pay taxes you are buying a service. Those tax pesos pay for the roads you drive on, the schools your children are educated in, the police force that protects you and your property, the military that defends you from foreign invaders, and the printed money that you use for your economic transactions. You pay your taxes because you want at least some of these services. When you pay taxes you expect to get something in return.


Here in the Dominican Republic those services, which its citizens should expect and receive from the government, are almost non-existent. The major reason for this is due to the stealing, corruption, that is prevalent in almost every faucet of dealings within this country.

Using the Department of Education as an example; If all the people within that organization who have the ability to hire and fire were to hire qualified personal and not their low-life, uneducated family members you would get more for your tax peso. If administrators would refuse to put their pet dog on the payroll as a teacher you would get more for your tax peso. If no administrators were to put over 2000 school desks into storage to hide them for future sale you would get more for your tax peso. If Dominicans would stop entering school grounds at night and stealing all computers, windows, lights and other items for personal use and resale you would get more for your tax peso. If school workers would refrain from taking food home in the afternoon that was supplied as a breakfast or lunch for the children in that school you would get more for your tax peso. If you were to clean up the corruption just within this one department you might find that the money that the government supplies to them is sufficient enough to produce well feed, educated and supplied children. This is the reason I keep saying that more money will not help the system but will in fact give the Ladrons the opportunity to steal more.

If enough people complain then you risk the possibility that the government will in fact increase the amount of monies allocated to a said system which more then likely will require a tax increase to pay for the extra money. If the government, in their ultimate wisdom or lack thereof, fail to correct the internal problems within those systems then the citizens once again fail to receive the public services that they expect, deserve and are being taxed out the yahzoo for.

With the scenario I’ve just described above, in which the examples represented are true, can you honestly say that the Dominican taxpayer is not being robbed in paying taxes?

Larry,

That is scary to have to always go under the assumption that the businessman is expected to scam you. How many Dominicans out there, not foreigners, think or believe that Dominican businessmen are expected to scam their customers? I don’t mean scam a foreigner but scam fellow Dominicans.

I too enjoyed our conversations in Sosua but the possibility of running into me again are almost non-existent unless you venture way out to my neck of the mountains or there was a meeting or something that I was summoned to that would only be for a couple of days and I could get permission from the Gran Puma to attend alone.

Rick
 

Rick Snyder

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Drbill said “I personally agree, poor people should be held to a lower standard in this respect. In Rick's premise, this moral relativism is a bad thing, certainly in conflict the the Ten Suggestions many of us were raised with.”

I disagree completely and morally with poor people being held to a lower standard in that respect and this is based upon the “Ten Suggestions” you mentioned. Charity is a good thing, one of the best things we’ve got going for us. It’s given in brotherhood and love and received in gratitude. To me it is both a religious and civic duty. When freely given and gratefully received charity ennobles the soul and both the giver and recipient are bettered. In post #17 I said, “You collectively agree, in a spirit of charity, to provide for those who cannot provide for themselves.”, in reference to the agreement to pay taxes. Taxes are there to pay for public services for you and the person that can’t provide for themselves. As a backup you have ONG’s, churches and a host of other organizations within the society which include you as a caring individual. With the government and all the other organizations of society to include people like you to help there should be no reason for any person to be above the law which you as a part of that society have determined must be on the books and enforced in order that that society function properly.



GringoCArlos said “If Leonel wants to prove he is TRULY fighting against public corruption, he should immediately cancel this bloated, corrupt contract for over-priced transport equipment for the Police, and conduct a fully open, public bidding process to achieve same.”

According to the article here the senate approved this deal Wednesday. Hippo’s present cronies in congress approved this deal being run by their old 2002 buddy Sun Land. The question that comes to my mind is if they have enough time before 16 August to approve this completely and if LF vetoes it to override his veto. I think after 16 Aug we might see less of this BS. Also of major interest to me is the article here and the possibility that it will become law.

Rick

Goodnight John Boy……
 

GringoCArlos

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Rick, one part of your first citation is EXACTLY what I intended to emphasize.

Leonel's own guys, the Interior and Police minister, and his Finance Director signed off on this contract to buy over-priced transportation equipment for the police. With the amount of money involved in "Fees" and whatever else they want to call it contained in this contract, the Interior and Police minister could pay every policeman in the DR triple wages for the next 10 years. Shame on HIM for not refusing to sign off.

It doesn't really matter if Hipolito's guys are still involved via the Senate. LEONEL'S GUYS are right in there at the pig trough too. Same old schitt, different color.

If the 10 Suggestions don't work, there are always other tests to know if one is on the right path or not. If one is about to do something, and thinks either "I wonder if I will get caught" or "I wonder if this is wrong", it probably IS wrong.

Sweet dreams all.
 

drbill

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I agree, Carlos, conscience and personal responsibility is where it all begins. Maybe the PRD vs PLD thing isn't germane here, though.

Rick, I would distinguish, for example, between some fat-assed, greedy, slimeball politico who diverts school breakfast funds in order to redecorate his house of ill repute out at the edge of town from a local-level party hack who obtains a minimum-wage botella position for his skinny, whining, liver-spotted, aged mother-in-law.

No?
 
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