Bribery in International Transactions - Why the Libertarians Are Wrong


Although there would appear to be an ethical and legal basis to assume a general international consensus against bribery in international commercial transactions, the libertarians have always sought to justify this vice as an inexorable aspect of free market economy and as the response of free enterprise to over-regulation in emerging markets.

We think their arguments, as enunciated in the writings of theorists of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, are not convincing. For example, their attempt to distinguish between bribery in the domestic jurisdiction(over which they are silent) and the international arena, and between bribery giving and bribery taking flies in the face of the consensus on the law of bribery and extortion across jurisdictions and the development of the concepts across time.

Besides, some of arguments merely rehash the libertarian emphaisis on the bottomline approach to the reason d'etre of business. This attitude is now increasingly discreditted in a world where ideas like good corporate governance, corporate social responsibility and stakeholder (rather than pure shareholder) value are becoming more acceptable as important values in business.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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