The bribe-for-deals scheme designed by the Guptas to milk South Africa’s state resources has brought into practice an old joke that is often told in India.
In his book, False Economy: A Surprising Economic History of the World, Alan Beattie distinguishes between two types of corruption. One that bankrupts a country and another that allows economic development to flourish.
Beattie tells the Indian joke thus: The chief minister of an impoverished Indian state goes on an exchange visit to an American city where the mayor shows him around. First the American mayor points out a highway on the edge of town. "See that?" he says. He taps his breast pocket and winks. "Ten percent." Then he indicates a new baseball stadium. "See that? Ten percent." And so it goes. Finally, the mayor takes him under the portico of a grandiose City Hall. "See that? Ten percent."