The Chicago way

Chicago needs widgets. The city can’t just but them off the shelf at Home Depot or Wal*Mart. They have to go through a vendor. A percentage of the vendors have to meet certain requirements in terms of ownership (minority-owned, woman-owned, mob-controlled) along with the run-of-the-mill white guys. The city accepts “bids” via a easily corruptible process and chooses the vendor according to the whims of the aldercreature, the “reverends” or the voters the mayor needs. The vendor then goes and picks out the widgets at Home Depot or Wal*Mart and marks up the price by a skim-able percentage, contributes to the approved re-election fund, and pockets the rest.”

It seems like this is increasingly not just the Chicago way, but the American way.


2 Replies to “Procurement”

  1. I’m given to understand that there’s a similar situation that often pans out in government-funded research. If researchers need highly specialized tools, they have to take bids and accept the lowest one. But most vendors won’t really be able to make the tools needed, even if looks superficially as if they can (to, say, someone in charge of funding). So there’s an arduous process of writing the bids in such a specific and bizarre way that only the exact company the researchers want to use could possibly meet the requirements. Thus they can take the lowest bid, per protocol, which just so happens to be the only bid, and get what they want.

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