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Submitted by Mark on
There is an enormous difference between tipping, which is a customary gratuity paid for good service and witheld or reduced in the case of poor or execrable service and the kinds of baksheesh one is asked for in India before services are rendered. Tipping is not a right, but it is a deeply embedded cultural institution in the US. It is exploitative in that it provides a justification for employing service personnel at low wages (i.e. below the US minimum wage) but it also allows service personnel to be rewarded for exceptional work and (often) in an untaxed way. Baksheesh of the sort 5th Pillar is fighting requires someone to pay in advance for a service to which they are legally entitled. Nor is it just the poor, although their exploitation is the saddest. Some wealthy men pay bribes to get moved to the front of the line, things like that. But my landlord had to pay a bribe of Rs. 50,000 to get a building certificate to which he was entitled.