In recent remarks to the New York business community, you complain that vigorous enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act has had little effect on corruption levels “in many areas of the world.” The blame, you argue, lies with other nations which don’t enforce their antibribery laws. When companies from these nations seek business in a third state, they are free to, and too often do, bribe their way to commercial success. Indeed, as you explain, their repeated success provides the states where they are headquartered an incentive not to enforce their antibribery laws.
Using the prisoners’ dilemma game, you show that bribery will only be brought under control when all countries with firms that do business in foreign states agree to crack down on the payment of bribes. And you promise that whenever you speak to counterparts in these countries, you will try to persuade them of the value of “common, cooperative enforcement strategies.” But while the prisoners’ dilemma paradox underscores why all countries where firms that may pay bribes are located must enforce their antibribery laws, it obscures another important step in the global fight against corruption. One that the Commission can do much to advance. Continue reading