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Cross-Cultural Ethical Issues in International Mineral Development—The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Frank J Schuchat, Proceedings of 44th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1998)

If you can't get jobs and contracts for your friends and relatives, what's the point of going into politics?1

Graft and corruption are not a stranger to the American political culture, as the above quotation illustrates. In fact, according to one authority, even indigenous Americans expect their leaders to favor relatives and clan members over other members of society, and it is considered a breach of one's family or clan obligations not to use one's political position in this manner.2 Joseph S. Nye defines corruption as behavior which deviates from the formal duties of a public role because of private-regarding (personal, close family, private clique) pecuniary or status gains; or violates rules against the exercise of certain types of private-regarding influence.3 Throughout the history of the United States, political reform efforts have arisen to stem bribery and other forms of political corruption. As the world has grown more inter-connected, and U.S. companies increasingly must operate in a global marketplace, [9-4] the U.S. Government has sought to export the reform effort, through prohibitions on foreign activities of U.S. companies.

[a] Local Culture and Local Standards Remain Notwithstanding “Globalization”

Notwithstanding the very real process of globalization of world economic systems and business ventures, politics, culture, and ethical t