Utopia (8): Can bribery work in open Open Society?

I started to drink third beer when I asked what new brought Karl Popper into the Open Society model.
– “Hm,” Paul was obviously prepared. “Popper was thinking about the OS in a more political fashion. For him OS was political model. Democracy is open society by his definition. Reeves was already dead when Popper became well-known philosopher yet his pupils or followers didn’t agree with Popper terminology. And yes, we’re educated in the world of Reeves’ Open Society, not in Popper’s one. But both were important – of course. Now – the differences. Reeves defined OS model as something for people in any scale and on any level of society. Of course – it’s hard to talk about open society between two people. There were many friendships that already satisfied rules of Open Society model. But that’s not enough, small group is not the proper scale for OS to show its potential. It’s about talking the truth, about communicating a lot, about creating communities – and of course also about respect when you don’t like someone. Tolerance or what.” Paul took another sip of beer.
– “Ok, I might not understand it fully,” admitted I, “but I think I know what you mean. Now that Popper versus Reeves difference.”
– “Yeah, so that was Reeves. Popper focused more on a political model. And he defined it like that when you can change the government without a blood-shedding it’s more or less open society. Democracy is open society for him. There’s nothing wrong on that. For him open society is better than a closed one. That’s good. Democracy is still the best known type of government. We – however – divide democratic countries to those with OS model adopted and those without it. Sometimes it’s called ‘closed open society’ and ‘open open society’ with some irony involved of course.”
– “Mhm, I guess I understand,” I nodded. “In our world Popper said more or less the same. Now I can’t know if there was some Reeves – but he just didn’t become famous – or there was none.”
– “Yeah, hard to tell now. 🙂 We mentioned Russia moment ago – it’s a typical democratic country – constitutional monarchy – but with closed society. They have some problems with bribery, not so low criminality and so… but their direction is right and they will adopt Open Society I guess. They just need the time.”

– “And here is no bribery and criminality?”
– “Hm, hard to tell. 🙂 You might just not know it, right? But I guess that bribery doesn’t work here. At least not in that scale. You know – you can give someone a chocolate and he might be better to you in the future. It’s not problem to be better. Problem is if you can achieve your goals only with bribing. That’s bad. Ill society with ill motivation for people. About criminality – yes, there is some here. You can’t stop it completely. You just can do the best for those who are better to the other people.”
– “Why do you think that you can’t bribe someone here?”
– “Well, you can! I didn’t say you can’t. It’s just quite useless. Tell me those examples when bribes become handy.”
– “In our world… in my country the health care is awful. If you want to be given better care, you have to pay someone. Or there is a chance to test some new medicine (you know – when you can test it on people after all those tests before) and director tells you that you have to pay in order to be allowed to do it in his hospital. Although it’s absolutely no burden for him.”
– “Ah, yeah, I’ve heard about such things… again, it works like this in Russia – and many other countries around the world. Problem is that when you say a word about it, it ends like word against word, right?”
– “Exactly! Sometimes it’s even better to say nothing, because you would be forced to communicate with police with the expected result – nothing!”

– “I understand. Here the presumption of innocence is not useful, right? 🙂 But don’t worry – we guarantee the presumption of innocence here. Now tell me one thing. Why that man that is accused of accepting bribe (or at least of requesting them) still works in his office?”
– “Hm…” easy question, difficult answer. “Well, there is that presumption, right? I can’t accuse him just so easy. I have to prove it or unsay it. In that moment the guy is clear again.”
– “And if another similar case arise?”
– “Then the situation repeats if the other people can’t prove it too. 🙂 Ok, they can tape him, but that’s not legal too. We use a role of ‘agent provocateur’ for this also. Some cases are solved after all.”
– “Ok, that’s better. But there are many other that are not solved – that were not even started because you hadn’t called the police, right?”
– “Right.”
– “Well, here the accusation itself is not exactly delict. I never thought about it – but it’s quite important when I look at it now. For me it was just the fact. I can say something about you – and you can say something about me. Now that’s the word against word – and we are where we already were, right?”
– “Looks like… 🙂 Where’s the point?”
– “The point is that if there is another word against word where you are involved – again – you are in trouble. Can you see it?”
– “Not exactly – not in our world.”
– “Not in yours but you are here. I said you wanted to bribe me, he said you wanted to bribe him. You reject both accusations. Well – it’s not good for you. :-)”
– “Well, but you can ruin one faithful man with two false ones… ?”
– “Not exactly – this is just a minimal model. It’s up to you to read your environment, you can check what people say about anybody. On the net for instance.”
– “Ok, so if the two were wrong?”
– “If the two are really wrong and many people know you as the right man you might be still cool. If they try to accuse more than two other people, the math is suddenly against them.”

– “And is it just the question of math?”
– “Not exactly. It’s even possible that you have credit in some groups and you are not trusted in others.”
– “Well – I thought I can understand it, but I’m getting lost now. 🙂 Where is the difference then? What about politicians and that aforementioned hospital director?”
– “There is too much information widely known about you when you’re a politician or hospital director – and that makes the judges about you more precise, more useful and that’s enough for most cases. If you’re not trusted by enough people, you can’t lead our country, you can’t lead no hospital… in smaller scale it’s the question of smaller group than. You can’t be squad leader, you can’t… you know, but this world is not about what you can’t. It’s about what you can. Just be good to people and they will support you. You can damage things, you can do bad things not on purpose, just be straight and honest and it will pay off.”
– “That sounds easy.”
– “It IS easy! It is supposed to be easy after all!”

We all know how sensitive is the question of privacy in our world and I was pretty curious about that. Because to know a lot about someone might be taken as an interference with one’s privacy. I noticed before that Paul indicated that the privacy is not so overrated here because they don’t need to hide so many things we like to keep secret. So now I’ll finish the third beer and I ask him about this right away.

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About virgo47
Java Developer by profession in the first place. Gamer and amateur musician. And father too. Naive believer in brighter future. Step by step.

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