Bulgarian corruption markets in everything

by on October 20, 2008 at 10:29 pm in Law, Political Science | Permalink

According to corruption fighters and election observers, votes can be
traded, depending on the town, for marijuana cigarettes or sold for up
to 100 leva, or $69. People document their votes by taking pictures of
their ballots with their cellphone cameras, according to Iva
Pushkarova, executive director of the Bulgarian Judges Association.

Trust, then verify, as they say.  In fact you can’t trust the government either, so that requires a market in "decoy lawyers":

While corruption affects many corners of society, the impact is
particularly stark in the legal system, where some people without
political connections have resorted to hiring decoy lawyers, for fear
that their legal documents would vanish if presented to particular
clerks by lawyers recognized as working for them.

I cannot find a comparable concept of "decoy lawyers" in English-language Google.  There is yet another market:

Sofia has a thriving black market for blood outside hospitals, where
patients’ families haggle over purchases with dealers, according to
Bulgarian news reports that track the prices.

Here is the article.  I thank KB and also Stephen (check out his blog at the link) for the pointer.

Barry Kelly October 21, 2008 at 2:00 am

I spent three hours in Sofia, and I was stolen from once and attempted thievery a second time, just walking through the streets.

A den of corruption. Don’t go near the place.

michael webster October 21, 2008 at 9:02 am

Your readers might interesting in the story about online vote swapping in the recent Canadian election.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/09/17/vote-swapping.html

Not quite a market, but at least a trade.

Oskar Shapley October 21, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Several years ago I read a blog post or a quoted op-ed by a Bulgarian journalist strongly advising against Bulgaria’s membership in the EU precisely because of the fact that they did not clean up the corruption. The EU Commission gave Bulgaria and Romania a free pass hoping that the problem fixes itself. It never does.

The EU membership prospect was a strong incentive to demand institutional reforms. Since they are now in the club, they do not have to put in any effort. It’s just like tenure.

Whatever the hosts here might think, some things should not be free for sale in markets. When they are, this signifies institutional failure.

Jean October 22, 2008 at 2:13 am

I’m living in Sofia right now, and second what Nikolay said. You take the same precautions as you have to as a tourist anywhere. Of course, my house looks like Fort Knox with the bars on all the windows and doors, and we have an alarm system installed. But it’s a very beautiful country, and it would be a shame if they can’t clean up their act.

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