Cultural relativism is a school of thought that delineates different cultures and recognizes that right or wrong is specific to each culture. It emphasizes that each culture has it’s own standards and these standard sometimes differ from place to place. As a result what is permissible in region A might be abominable in region B. It supports the popular phrase ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans’.
Ethics seem to spell out what is right and wrong while seeking to standardize behavior across board. Cultural relativism does not do much good to ethics as it tries to separate right and wrong form place to place thereby giving rise to various multiple standards.
The legitimate process of getting and paying for a ticket is rather cumbersome hence the aster way of direct cash handout to cops was adopted by the majority of the populace. The merit of this process is that the policemen receive this monies rather than wait for some administrative staff to do the collection and further redistribution to the policemen. I suspect that the only value of this is to the policemen who directly receive this money. There is really no ethical justification for the action in Mexico. You can only argue on the basis of cultural relativism that since it is accepted by the majority, it ceases to become offensive to keep on doing it
The process of getting and paying off a ticket in my country is very similar to the method of Mexico. In actual fact, it is a more direct version. Doling out cash to the cops and traffic officials in my state for example is faster and cheaper compared to Mexico. Once you commit a traffic offense in my state and you are approached by a cop or traffic official, the quickest and easiest way is to negotiate with the man in uniform. There is also no ethical justification for the action in my country. You can only contest it on the basis of cultural relativism that since it is accepted by the majority, it ceases to become offensive to keep on practicing it.
I am not really convinced with the concept of cultural relativism as it suggest that an action that is inimical to progress can be condoned on the basis of culture. For example cultural relativism can permit the sale of hard drugs without regulation but it does help to deal with the long term consequences of this kind of action.
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