Here is an example of how karma might work. Someone (me) rides a motorcycle in our little town of Vilcabamba, without a helmet. Why? Because he doesn't like wearing one and he doesn't like being told by law that he has to. The police stop him and ask for his license. He doesn't have one because the exam is in Spanish and his Spanish isn't very good yet. The police tell him that he will have to go to jail in the nearest city, that is, Loja, 45 minutes away. They escort him to his house where he may find his license, but he can't because he doesn't have one. He has to do with the “fine”. If he pays $100 they will fix everything and take him back to his motorcycle that he left behind, and they will never catch him again for not wearing a helmet.
This is how the police supplement their income. They may not be paid enough to support their families comfortably, and they feel that they have to do this for the good of their families. They justify it by thinking that foreigners have much more money, that this is the way to equalize things a little, a small way. So this is a very common thing in Ecuador and in the world. It's called corruption.
People have to find ways to "beat the system." Because the system is based on scarcity and people are always needing "more". This system we call capitalism puts most people "between a rock and a hard place." To survive, it seems, many people have to do things that lack integrity. It's like saying "lie or die". The system corrupts the public and everyone becomes a criminal or a victim, or both. This is an aspect of capitalism that is rarely thought about. We know that corruption exists everywhere and it is very clear that it is simply a characteristic of the system, and that the system wants all people to participate in corruption. Capitalism and corruption are inseparable.
But what about karma? Is it okay to live without integrity? Does survival justify it? This question was explored in Victor Hugo's play Les Miserables, when Jean Val Jean was arrested and put in prison for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family. When you live without personal integrity, at the expense of others, you also lose your inner dignity, all your children suffer from having a dishonest father. This is where karma hits you, but it's not that obvious. It cannot be measured, we can only guess. The innocence of the children is overshadowed by living under a corrupt father or a mother who behaves without honesty. This is why most arms dealers are likely to have children who behave in antisocial ways, I daresay. This is how karma works, often mysteriously invisibly. It is homeostasis, the invisible “justice”.