Power, Corruption and Lies

The latest Corruption Index published by Tranparency International ranks 159 countries by the level of perceived corruption and reveals a world still struggling with the twin axes of evil that are corruption and poverty.

Not surprisingly, the majority of the world’s most corrupt countries featured in the report are the world’s poorest nations such as Chad and Bangladesh, who came in joint last place of the 159 countries covered; Nigeria came in 154th; Kenya, Pakistan and Paraguay (!) were amongst a group of countries in 144th spot with Iraq, Indonesia, Ethiopia and Azerbaijan tieing for 137th.

Venezuela is the next South American country to feature in the list, grouped with the likes of Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan and Papua New Guinea followed by Russia, Albania, Niger and Sierra Leone at 126.

At the other end of the table, the “good” end if you will, Iceland takes the title of world’s least corrupt nation, closely followed by Finland, New Zealand, Denmark and Singapore.

Other notable rankings which may surprise many include the United Kingdom at joint 11th with The Netherlands; Canada 14th and Germany 16th, one spot ahead of the United States, who just push France into 18th. The “Top 20” is completed by Belgium and Ireland with Chile taking the least corrupt in Latin America title in a tie with Japan for 21. My country of residence, Spain, comes in at 23 with a rating of exactly 7 out of 10, most of which is real estate related.

A score of 5 or less is seen as indicating serious corruption problems and almost 120 countries failed to reach this minimum standard, with more than a hundred scoring less than 3, pointing to rampant corruption in both the private and public sectors.

To mark the publication this month of the report, “Corruption is a major cause of poverty as well as a barrier to overcoming it,? said Transparency International Chairman Peter Eigen. “The two scourges feed off each other, locking their populations in a cycle of misery. Corruption must be vigorously addressed if aid is to make a real difference in freeing people from poverty.?

TI Chief Executive David Nussbaum added: “Corruption isn’t a natural disaster, it is the cold, calculated theft of opportunity from the men, women and children who are least able to protect themselves”.

Tranparency International is “the only international non-governmental organisation devoted to combating corruption [and] brings civil society, business, and governments together in a powerful global coalition”.

The Corruption Index “ranks countries in terms of the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians. It is a composite index, drawing on corruption-related data in expert surveys carried out by a variety of reputable institutions. It reflects the views of business people and analysts from around the world, including experts who are locals in the countries evaluated”.

A version of this article is cross-posted here at BlogCritics.

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