Three Bureaucrats Walk Into A Bar

Loved this from The Economist:

A Chinese bureaucrat, an Indian bureaucrat and an African bureaucrat walk into a bar. They’ve known each other for years, having met every year at UN conferences, and they’ve become friends. But, talking over drinks, they realise that they’ve only ever met at conferences. So the Chinese bureaucrat suggests that after the next one, in Beijing, they come to his house to relax for a few days.

They all agree, and when the next conference ends, they set off. They get a plane at Beijing’s airport, fly to a provincial city and speed off down a pristine six-lane highway to a large house in the suburbs.
“This is a really nice house,” the African bureaucrat says. “How did you afford it on your government salary?” “Well, did you see that new highway we drove on? I just took some money from the project and spent it on the house.”

The other bureaucrats nod, obviously impressed. For the next few days the three men have a wonderful time, and agree to meet again after the next summit, this time at the Indian bureaucrat’s house. A year goes by, the conference ends and they set off. They fly from the airport in Delhi to a little provincial town. Then they jolt down a long, potholed road until they get to a large mansion. The Chinese bureaucrat, obviously impressed, asks how the Indian bureaucrat could have afforded it. The Indian bureaucrat replies, “Well, did you see that highway we drove on? I just took some money out of the project and spent it on the house.”

A year later they are in Africa, and they all agree to head to the African bureaucrat’s house. They go to the airport, and fly to a smaller airport in the middle of the jungle. From there they board a helicopter and fly over a pristine jungle to a large palace surrounded by military guards. They look out over trees as far as they eye can see. The Indian and Chinese bureaucrats are amazed, and they are both eager to know how he managed to afford such a palace.

“Well, did you see that highway we drove on?” the African bureaucrat asks.