Image from Juan Ochoa

In the Sephirotic Empires, and other transapientech and ultratech polities allied with them, bribery has been eradicated for many millennia. In some of these societies, such as the Utopia Sphere and Zoeific Biopolity, even the concept is difficult to comprehend for many. In others, transapient governance and post-scarcity economics removes most of the incentives for such behavior while angelnet monitoring ensures it doesn't crop up (and is swiftly punished in the rare cases where it is attempted).

However, though a relatively small minority, there exist many locales that do not fall under such a description - polities run by transapients that put little restriction on how modosophonts behave, or modosophont-only polities with access to only lower-quality angelnetting, or that do not have it at all. In many of these, bribery is rare, with effective and respected rule of law and material abundance disincentivizing it. In others, however, this ancient practice (in some places known as "baksheesh") has again taken root, perhaps even become pervasive.

The exact level of technology available in an area may limit this behavior in many ways. For example, while it is possible to smuggle into and/or out of a low-quality angelnet technotelepathic zone, it can only be accomplished if one understands the intricacies of the local defenses and has the means to overcome them. Effectively, this may make such action highly impractical, from a modosophont point of view.

Typically, bribery entails breaking legal bans or social taboos to deliver goods, information, and/or services. This is practically by definition idiosyncratic of the polities in question. For example, the legal erotobot one purchased some time back may be banned in the current polity/clade/region, and thus may be of greater value and have unwanted secondary penalties associated with it. Another method of bribery is by providing legal, but sometimes difficult to obtain materials, technology or commodities (i.e. access to scarcity). While this is again area/polity/clade idiosyncratic, it can still be very effective and may take the form of luxury, certified one-of-a-kind, or other low production rate items.

"The key to using bribery effectively is in discovering:

1. What official(s) can meet your needs/desires?

2. What are the needs/desires of that official/those officials?

3. What method would fulfill both parties' needs and/or desires?

4. What method would protect both parties from unwanted secondary effects, whether they are legal, social, or otherwise detrimental to one or both parties?"

-Far Out: How to Travel and Prosper Exploring the Worlds Between the Stars, by 14Aviraera of Hesperides
Sophontologists and other researchers, tourists, and others who are entering unfamiliar polities where bribery is pervasive occasionally avail themselves of the services of a bribe expert, a type of vot they can download to their exoself. A bribe expert knows the 15 basic ways to proffer a payment for semi- or illegal services, as well as most if not all of their fifteen factorial combinations.

Another method involves hiring one or more locals variously called guides, cultural interpreters, interface agents or many other such titles. These employees/brokers accept fees for 'local cultural interfaces' or the like, and use a portion of such fees to make such bribes as are necessary. Of course, the better the local is connected within the web of bribery and other lawbreaking in a given area, the more effective they tend to be. Unfortunately, such well-connected (and hence demonstrably duplicitous) sophonts are typically unlikely to be fully forthright with their costs and fees, for example charging a high price to perform tasks any knowledgeable sophont in their region could handle.

A very small minority of cultures within the Sephirotic realm engage in ritualized or gamified practices that resemble or descend from bribery. These are not generally considered true bribery, however, as bribery by definition goes against the laws or moral standards of a given culture.

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Development Notes
Text by John B and Chris Shaeffer
Amended and converted from former topic page by ProxCenBound on 02 June 2024.
Initially published on 04 July 2003.