Interesting story on subverting democracy.
How times change!
Back in 2004 there was a scandal because LabourParty minister David Blunkett bent some rules for his lover's nanny.
Conflict between different notions of behaviour. The UK government is (allegedly) impersonal. No room for favours for friends from community even if you've spent a life-time together. In other cultures such loyalty to community is not merely accepted but expected as being good.
- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4101439.stm (read comments)
I wonder how much the "impersonality" style is related to "alienation" in the market. Does an impersonal market also breed propriety? After all it's traditional cultures without long traditions of markets where nepotism is an important principle of economic distribution. This is also a real problem for discussions of GiftCulture. Most traditional GiftEconomies are actually based on allocation of goods according to traditional roles and rights. Doesn't this look a lot like nepotism when put in charge of a complex civil machine like government?
Of course, could be a lot of Western hypocrisy too. Doesn't this go on in heart of Western capitalism? (the axis of Enron)
Three Quarks on Theroux and Sachs : http://3quarksdaily.blogs.com/3quarksdaily/2006/01/mondaymusingi.html
Quora Answer : What are the definitions of and distinctions between lobbying, political campaign contributions (donations), and bribery?
The problem is that it's easy to see when money has been paid (ie. bribery), but hard to see where perks have been implicitly promised (corrupt lobbying) or where continued exposure to one point of view eloquently put unduly influences decision makers.
I think lobbying is a BIG problem. Stand back and squint to get a general impression and those fuzzy lines form an obvious pattern. But it's not necessarily the case that you can pinpoint the problem by looking up-close. Which is what you need to do to make a concrete law about it.
tl;dr : It's legal because we don't have a way to formalize the concept rigorously enough to make a law against it.
See also :