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Global Corruption Blocks Poverty Progress

Global Corruption Blocks Poverty Progress

The NGO Transparency International just released its annual Corruption Perception Index, rating 178 countries for their degree of the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. From shady public school officials to the wholesale purchase political candidates, corruption is a major problem around the world. Two-thirds  of the countries surveyed scored below a five (on a ten-point scale, with 10 being least corrupt); the index is based on a combination of surveys and country analyses detailed in their report. The United States fell out of the top 20 least corrupt nations this year, tying with Belgium for 22nd place with a score of 7.1.  Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore tied for first place with a score of 9.3, closely followed by Finland and Sweden at 9.2. 

Corruption thrives in the soil of poverty. The most politically unstable countries also had the poorest scores on the corruption scale. The five lowest-rated countries were: Uzbekistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Myanmar and the failed state of Somalia. These and others of the poorest performing nations share the problems of weak economy,  struggling human development and restricted media freedom. TI identifies corruption as a major obstacle to achieving progress on poverty and other global issues such as climate change and unstable financial markets.

There are drawbacks to the index, and some are wasting no time in pointing this out. The index is based on “perception” of corruption because by definition, corruption is clandestine and therefore impossible to quantify. Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani tweeted today: “How is Perception of Corruption Index a measure of real levels of corruption? Can’t the corrupt ‘buy’ positive perceptions?” (Pakistan rated a 2.3 on the 2010 index, tied for 143rd place out of 178 countries surveyed.) The short answer is that there is no perfect system, but one has to start somewhere, and the Index is taken seriously by governments and business.  Governments see the Index as a check on their performance; the business community uses it to gauge the investment environment.
Ultimately, fighting corruption comes down to the individual, to having the courage and ability to say No. This video, produced by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, wordlessly, but effectively, demonstrates the different faces of corruption around the world, and may resonate with those of us who will be voting in one week:

In case you want to carry a reminder of corruption with you through your day, soon there will be an iPhone app for the Corruption Perception Index on the Transparency International site.

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Image: Visualization of global corruption..darker color indicates higher degree of public corruption. via Transparency International website,

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9:35AM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

Most of the communities in India (such as Bengali), are succumbed in 'Culture of Poverty'(a theory introduced by an American anthropologist Oscar Lewis), irrespective of class or economic strata, lives in pavement or apartment. Nobody is at all ashamed of the deep-rooted corruption, decaying general quality of life, worst Politico-administrative system, weak mother language, continuous absorption of common space (mental as well as physical, both). We are becoming fathers & mothers only by self-procreation, mindlessly & blindfold. Simply depriving their(the children) fundamental rights of a decent, caring society, fearless & dignified living. Do not ever look for any other positive alternative behaviour (values) to perform human way of parenthood, i.e. deliberately co-parenting of those children those are born out of ignorance, real poverty. All of us are being driven only by the very animal instinct. If the Bengali people ever be able to bring that genuine freedom (from vicious cycle of 'poverty') in their own life/attitude, involve themselves in 'Production of Space’(Henri Lefebvre), at least initiate a movement by heart, decent & dedicated Politics will definitely come up.
- Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, 16/4, Girish Banerjee Lane, Howrah-711101, India.

3:57PM PST on Nov 11, 2010

Yes, a country's degree of corruption is related to poverty.

7:18AM PST on Nov 11, 2010

Have you noticed that no matter how poor the country it's leaders are wealthy.

10:32AM PDT on Nov 3, 2010

These United States lead a cabal of wealthy nations intent upon exploiting impoverished nations for their resources. There is nothing in the last sixty years of U.S. foreign policy that anything will ever be done to address global poverty.

12:49AM PDT on Nov 2, 2010

Two striking errors in this so called transparency of global corruption in that the USA Administration should head the list. As most countries around the world have been trained or intimidated into corruption by them. In their quest to create a NWO under their control they are feeding greed and corruption as their major tool to achieve this end for their masters in the banking cartel.

5:43AM PDT on Nov 1, 2010

Oh my god... In America, we know we have a lot of corruption, but just imagine how much there is in poor countries! Those countries are either rotten or just don't have a healthy structure to fight well this threath to humanity

11:42PM PDT on Oct 31, 2010

Regarding corruption, wealth may insulate and even blind us from percieving it, while poverty keenly feels its effects and sees with eyes wide open.

4:31PM PDT on Oct 31, 2010


8:24AM PDT on Oct 31, 2010


12:53AM PDT on Oct 31, 2010

The order in the top corrupt countries are backwards, Somalia is #1 on the corrupt scale. It's heartbreaking what goes on overseas in these countries and I hope that with time, with prayer, with appropriate political progression, life can change for these people.

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