How can you provide antidotes to dishonesty?

Take inspiration from the Indonesian government. In the province of East Kalimantan, whose natural resources have been routinely plundered by corrupt government officials and businessmen, the government has opened almost 1,500 cafes without cashiers. At these ‘honesty cafes’, people are expected to take what they want and leave the appropriate payment behind. The cafes will first be introduced to schools, then offices and even the street.

“It is so important that Indonesia’s younger generation grow up with a better understanding of right and wrong, so they’re more disciplined and less likely to take part in corrupt activities,” says a government spokesman. “This anti-corruption campaign targets the youth so that Indonesia can have a better future.” By 2010, they hope to have opened more than 10,000 similar cafes.


  • Mark Griffiths

    You often see ‘honesty boxes’ at entrances to visitor attractions on holiday in countries like New Zealand. It seems to hark back to an earlier age of innocence (which did not exist, because people have always been the same). For Indonesia, anything that combats the clearly serious problem of corruption has to be supported. However, let’s face it, corruption (or theft – let’s name it properly) is everywhere in our society, too. The basic transaction of paying fairly for a product or service is clearly understood in our society. But everyone, from people downloading music for free on the internet to politicians claiming fraudulent expenses, cuts corners. We’ve all done it somewhere in our lives. There will always be people who do this kind of thing for a living. As a matter of course. Every day. In every way. But all this sad behaviour is no excuse for not trying programmes like this in Indonesia. Well done to them.

  • John Gallen

    Am I stealing from someone if I buy a pair of jeans in Tesco for £15? Probably.

    Well said Mark.

  • A Y

    Corrupt government tames a whole new generation of citizens for more future plunder.

    Shouldn’t this be the headline instead?

    Sure, the government can’t set itself straight… so let’s get the governed straightened.

    After all, who’s going to pay for the exhorbitant retirement funds and secret offshore accounts if the country becomes a dog-eat-dog world? And citizens begin to seize back their possessions?

    The Chinese have a saying, “The bottom of a pillar ain’t gonna be straight when the top is crooked”.

    Are we to believe that street “cafe”(if that)-going youngsters seriously stand a chance at being future heads of states in Indonesia? Come on… seriously… that’s politics in Indonesia?

    So, you have wolves in your house… now, let’s start “solving the problem” by getting the sheeps outside well-behaved.