January 25; A Bribe Distorts Any Transaction
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful


25 January

Do not accept a bribe,

for a bribe blinds those who see

and twists the words of the innocent.

Exodus 23:8

A Bribe Distorts Any Transaction

Buying Favors

The Third World bureaucrat smiled knowingly as he looked out at the New York City skyline. He turned to Robert Moses and said, “You must be a very wealthy man.”

Heralded as the “Master Builder” of New York at the turn of the 20th century, Moses heard this a lot. Any public-sector leader with that much power was sure to be enriched directly by ‘gratuities’ from contractors.

Or so the visitor thought.

Moses changed the landscape of the Empire State through a number of leadership positions such as New York City Parks Commissioner, running the State Power Commission, and the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority. His construction projects completed in the first half of the twentieth century are worth some $150 billion in today’s dollars.

He was responsible for getting bureaucracies and bulldozers to move mountains. From the heights of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to the depths of the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel; from the 658 NYC parks and playgrounds to Jones Beach and expressways such as Brooklyn-Queens to connect them — Bob was the builder of them all.

Moses was no saint. His organizations were corrupt and inefficient. But no one would ever say that Robert Moses ever took a bribe or cut a deal.

The “Master Builder” had a remarkable vision of where he wanted city planning to go and was an expert in the use of raw political power to get things done. He never took money because he would never compromise on his strategic direction – or anything else.

Robert Moses had a clear vision as directed in Exodus 23:8, Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent.

Managers are agents and stewards of the company’s assets. Accepting a bribe is a transaction that can distort relationships, commerce and the ethical direction of the organization.

A bribe is a blackness that will blind the truth and allow an organization to drift in a direction unseen.


Be sure to read The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro, 1975.


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