Please read the case study entitled Mordidas that you find in the reading assignment.
Based on what you have learned in this unit, answer the following questions:
About the bribery in Mexico City, not only is it the way things have been done as long as anyone can remember, but the process actually makes a lot of sense; its even very economically efficient because the middlemen are being cut out. Instead of having to pay an administrative staff to process traffic tickets, then accept deposits into the citys account, and then redistribute the money back out as part of police salaries, here the money goes straight into the officers pocket.
What is cultural relativism, and how does the vision of ethics associated with it diverge from the traditional ethical theories?
The Mexico City process of getting and paying off a traffic ticket is different from the process in other countries. What values and advantages can be associated with the process in Mexico City? How can it be justified in ethical terms?
What values and advantages can be associated with the process of getting and paying off a traffic ticket in your country? How can it be justified in ethical terms?
How can the difference between the Mexico City process of getting and paying off a traffic ticket and the process in your country be converted into an argument in favor of the idea that cultural relativism is the right way to look at things? Does the argument convince you? Why or why not?
Submit a paper that is well constructed using APA format. The paper should be a minimum of one typewritten page (approximately 300 to 400 words) with an introduction and conclusion. This paper shall demonstrate the use of standard written English with respect to organization, grammar, spelling, composition, sentence structure, punctuation, and construction.
In Mexico City, police salaries are extremely low. They live decently enough, though, by adding bribes (mordidas in Spanish) to their wages. During a typical week they pull in bribe money that more or less equals their monthly salary. All the locals know how it works, especially when it comes to the most avid collectors, the traffic cops. In the standard procedure, the officer pulls a car over, takes out his codebook, walks up, and hands it to the driver. Ostensibly, hes allowing confirmation that the law actually prohibits whatever was done. This is what actually happens: the driver slips about fifty pesos (a little under five dollars) into the book, closes it, hands it back, and is free to go.Business Ethics Workshop video, accessed May 12, 2011, http://businessethicsworkshop.com/Chapter_4/Mordida%20in%20the% 20booklet.html. The practice is so routine that frequently the procedure is abbreviated and participants dont even bother trying to hide the payoff or going through the codebook pantomime. They may approach the officers patrol car and directly drop the money onto the guys lap.Business Ethics Workshop video, accessed May 12, 2011, http://businessethicsworkshop.com/Chapter_4/How_to_purchase_a_police_ officer.html. Or they may stay in their own car and just hand cash out to be directly pocketed.Business Ethics Workshop video, accessed May 12, 2011, http://businessethicsworkshop.com/Chapter_4/Quick_mordida.html. Regardless, the transaction is smooth and efficient.
Despite the briberys efficiency and its penetration to societys core, not everyone in Mexico City is happy with the constant mordidas. According to a story in the citys largest circulation daily, a mayor in one of the suburbs decided to take a lonely stand against the informal police action. Since all the police are in on it, he couldnt resort to an Untouchables-styled internal affairs operation. And since all the citizens considered the payoffs perfectly normal, he couldnt appeal to them for help either. Really, he was left with only one choice. To interrupt the habit, he made traffic tickets illegal. His suburb became a free driving zone where anybody could do whatever they wanted in their car and the police couldnt respond. A lot happened after that, but theres no doubt that the payoffs stopped.Alejandro Almazán, Fin de la mordida, El Universal, November 16, 2003, accessed May 12, 2011, http://www2.eluniversal.com.mx/pls/impreso/noticia.html?id_nota= 54910&tabla=ciudad.
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