You are not a t…

You are not a thief until you get caught

An Indian colleague mentioned this today as an saying from his mother tongue. I was curious about the origins of it, and while I can see this expression used by others I could not find anyone relating its origins. It the saying actually from India, are there similar sayings in both Indian and U.S. or U.K. culture? (Or did even the English import the saying to India during colonization?)

The saying is relevant to our work in big corporations for processes do now and then get in the way of common sense, leading people to ‘cheat’ so to get their work done. Yet until you get ‘caught’ that is often the most productive way. Here I am not talking about processes that enforce legal requirements, which of course we need to follow strictly, I am talking about more trivial processes regarding our internal organization, such as space allocation and what you can put where.

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