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Text Analysis 1025-B

Take Home Activity 02


How to Grease a Palm
1) The topic of the article How to Grease a Palm (The Economist, Dec. 23, 2006) is bribery.
2) The main idea of the article How to Grease a Palm (The Economist, Dec. 23, 2006) is that
bribery around the world shows a lot of similarity.
3) The authors purpose for writing the article How to Grease a Palm (The Economist, Dec. 23,
2006) is to demonstrate that the similarity in how bribes are offered and accepted around the world
means that there is an etiquette, or a socially accepted way, of bribing people. First, we see this
purpose in the title of the article How to Grease a Palm where greasing a palm is an expression for
bribery. Second, we can see this purpose in the thesis statement where the author states that bribery
is remarkably similar around the world, thus indicating that there is a, more or less, specific way,
or protocol, to bribe someone. Finally, the author sets out three universal rules or customs (the
etiquette) for bribing: using euphemisms, the handling of money and the exchange of gifts.
4) The Pattern of Organisation in the article How to Grease a Palm (The Economist, Dec. 23, 2006)
is generalisation and example. The authors generalisation is the thesis statement, where the author
states that bribery is remarkably similar around the world which he then supports with three
examples: I) the terminology concerning bribes, ii) the logistics of handling the money and iii) none
monetary bribes or gifts. Then, for each example, or category, of how bribery is similar around the
world, the authors provides examples. To illustrate this, for the terminology concerning bribery, the
author lists the different euphemisms to refer to a bribe (shtraf, speed money, expediting fee, etc.).
We can conclude that, in this text, there is generalisation and example on two levels. First, examples
of categories to support the generalisation of similarity and real life examples to support the
generalisation for each category.
5) In the article How to Grease a Palm (The Economist, Dec. 23, 2006) , the thesis statement is the
last sentence of the second paragraph which says And for all the evidence that some cultures suffer
endemic corruption while others are relatively clean, attitudes towards corruption, and even the
language describing bribery, is remarkably similar around the world.
6) In the article How to Grease a Palm (The Economist, Dec. 23, 2006), the author sets out a
protocol, in other terms an etiquette, relating to bribery. According to the author, there are three basic
social rules to follow when dealing with bribery. The first rule is to use a euphemism for a bribe so
as not to explicitly talk about requesting or paying a bribe. The second rule deals in the logistics of
the exchange of money. When bribing someone, discretion is important so money paid out for a
bribe must change hands in a non-explicit way. Finally, the third rule is gifts. When you cannot give
money directly to the person being bribed, an expensive gift or a donation could serve the same
purpose, but the gift must also be offered in a discrete way.