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While leading Negotiation theorists and practitioners have repeatedly declared, and sometimes demonstrated, that you can negotiate with anyone, including kidnappers, terrorists, rampaging rebel leaders, Hitler, Satan, and three-year-old children, there has been little or nothing written on negotiating a government functionary who demands a bribe.3 Negotiating with government functionaries who have just demanded a bribe has its own combination of ground rules.
Some of the reasons for this lack of reference material include the recentness of open and honest discussion about public corruption, the extremely negative religious, medical, apocalyptic and scatological images and metaphors attached to "public corruption" and the resulting fear and, yes, loathing about direct dealings with "corrupt" government functionaries. Furthermore, the common wisdom is that, in many societies, corrupt public functionaries are omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, and perhaps to coin a word "omnefarious" (i.e., just plain all-around bad); that if you want to play you have to pay, and that if you are a player, then you obviously have paid the bribe and are one of "them".
Moreover, questions immediately arise about the applicability of fundamental Negotiation concepts and principles in relation to government functionary extortion situations, such as
These are the issues that I wish to analyze over the next year with the readers of THE NEGOTIATOR MAGAZINE, and I look forward to discussing the issues once you have read the articles.
3See, "Bridge Ogres and Little Fishes", article presented by Bruce Horowitz at the International Section of the American Bar Association (ABA) Program, "Running the Ethical Gauntlet: U.S. Lawyers Overseas", November 2005, New York City (article available upon request from the author). Also, "GANAR-GANAR" CON EL OGRO DEL PUENTE: La aplicabilidad, para los abogados, de la teoría y tècnica de las negociaciones en situaciones de extorsión pública" (trans., "WIN-WIN" with the Bridge Ogre: The Applicability, for lawyers, of Negotiation Theory and Technique in Public Extortion Situations"), © 2005 Bruce Horowitz, Diplomate Thesis, Catholic University, Quito, Ecuador. (Copy in Spanish available upon request from the author)
About the Author:
Bruce Horowitz, firstname.lastname@example.org is a founder and Managing Partner of the Quito, Ecuador law firm of PAZ HOROWITZ, Abogados www.pazhorowitz.com. He has been studying Negotiations and Public Corruption issues since 1985, and has advised international corporate and individual clients on how to comply with Foreign Corrupt Practices legislation since 1989. Bruce has written, taught at the university level and provided presentations and workshops for lawyers, paralegals, law students and others on how to use Negotiation principles and techniques when facing extortionist government functionaries. PAZ HOROWITZ, Abogados is the Trace International representative in Ecuador www.traceinternational.org. Bruce was born and raised in Galion, Ohio, USA. He graduated from Brandeis University (BA 1970) and New York University Law School (JD 1976). Admitted in Alaska 1976, ret. 1990, and Ohio 1985. He is a former Co-chairperson and present Senior Advisor to the ABA International Section's Committee on U.S. Lawyers Working Abroad, and an active member of the ABA’s anti-corruption committee.
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Copyright © 2007 Bruce Horowitz
Copyright © 2007, The Negotiator Magazine