The Economist publishes a chart of what country’s companies are more likely to bribe [third world] government officials for special privileges:
I would like to see a charge that charts the propensity for a company to bribe their own government (i.e. what we call ‘corporate lobbying’) to gain special priviliges. Bribery is not a black and white issue (for example, should we look down on a company bribing the government for the sake of protecting their property rights?), but I think it is safe to make the claim that the majority of public/private collusion is bad and gives certain companies advantages that they would not have had in a free market. Anyways, for some reason I expect the U.S. to be as charted highly in that hypothetical graph as it is in the one above.
The Economist piece tries to emphasize the role of government in being the partner in crime. I think the effort is commendable, but at the same time we can all agree that perhaps we here would place most of the blame on government. If there was no government, there would be no bureaucrats to bribe. We should remember that corruption does not stem from money, but from holding power.