Property wiki is a project to help poor people around the world secure the assets they already own. Many poor people squat in houses or farm land that they only possess informal title to. Having an informal title means that selling the land, lending against it or transferring are difficult. There is an estimated $9.3 trillion in dead capital due to property that isn't registered.
Most likely if you are reading this, you are a wealthy person making over $20k per year with a secure home. Imagine if your house or largest possession could disappear at any time, or that you could not move or take up a new job, without sacrificing the place, you have lived in for generations. The economic resources tied up due to "informal" property rights are far greater than any charity of foreign NGO could give a country. The other irony is this "wealth" is tied up inside of these countries.
Poor procedures, government officials and legal systems that have no interest in helping the poor or illiterate secure their property are to blame. Sometimes it is due to dis-enfranchised segments of society being dominated in an almost feudal manner, other times, it is just neglect and the inertia of a poor system.
Many functionaries and bureaucrats in poor countries are paid so poorly, that they only way they can supplement their income is via bribes or favors. Once these favors and bribes become an accepted or entrenched facet of a process it is difficult to remove them. Thus the poorest who can't afford the bribes stay outside of the formal registration system and may instead pay lesser bribes to the local property assessor or bureaucrat in the field. Illiteracy and the dubious nature of some legal professionals also makes paying petty bribes an economically rational act on the behalf of many peasants.
Unfortunately, this deprives the government of taxes, the poor of cost effective services including security of place and home. Overall this situation is not unique. The United states had 3rd world property rights and some very dubious activities in the 18-19th centuries in regards to land allocation and procurement. Check out Hernando de Soto for the full scoop.
Now finally to the point of the blog. Property wiki will be an open wiki that seeks to records all of the steps that small property holders have to go through in order to proper rights. It is hoped that by having the participants or "near participants" in the field record and quantitatively compare these procedures, the procedures will be simplified, thus enfranchising more poor people "into the system", which will make them more secure and safe, while at the same time enriching the government and the people. Trillions are at stake. Jeffrey Sachs and Bono, will make the headlines, Property wiki will make the difference!
So onto Bribe Wiki, the small bastard son of property wiki. Bribe wiki is exactly what it sounds like. It will be a registry for all and sundry to post the going rate for circumvent the system. Fix a parking ticket, secure land registration, or get that tax grant. From Antigua to Zimbabwe, these things can sometimes cost a little "extra", wink wink, nudge nudge. Property wiki will allow anonymous posters to put up the rate. Hey isn't the Internet all about making things a more efficient.
So that visa stamp in Moscow, how much is it. No before you go. Transparency international is a great group, the track the "perceived" corruption in countries all of the world and are widely regarded for it. By the way, China isn't as cool as people think when seen through this lens.
So Bribe wiki will help make bribes more efficient, hopefully to the point of elimination in most cases. Corruption costs, and usually costs the poor the most. BribeWiki will hopefully shine a little daylight on bribery, cadeux, gifts, facilitation payments, you name it. It will be anonymous and anecdotal, but interesting none the less.