Wednesday, December 5, 2012

On least corrupt scale, U.S. ranks 19th

There's actually something called the Corruption Perceptions Index, and the United States ranks 19th. And that's good. In fact, the U.S. is perceived as even less corrupt this year than last year when it ranked 24th, notes the Weekly Standard.

Transparency International, a nonpartisan group made up of members worldwide, compiles the rankings of 176 countries released this week. The U.S. scored 73 out of 100 - with 100 being the least corrupt. The rankings take into account public sector behavior such as bribery, fraud, cronyism and perceived levels of corruption in countries. It also takes into account perceptions about public sector leadership, government transparency and accountability, and the effectiveness of public institutions and agencies.

The U.S. made the top 20 but trails many of the leading developed countries. In the survey it falls behind, in order, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden, Singapore, Switzerland, Australia, Norway, Canada, Netherlands, Iceland, Luxembourg, Germany, Hong Kong, Barbados, Belgium, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Coming in 20th is Chile; 22nd is France. Spain is 30th , Italy is 72nd, and China is 80th.

Bringing up the rear as the most corrupt are Sudan, Afghanistan, North Korea, and Somalia. Iraq is at 169th. Syria is 144th.

"While no country has a perfect score (Denmark and Finland came close with scores of 90), two-thirds of countries score below 50, indicating a serious corruption problem," Transparency International notes. "Corruption destroys lives and communities, and undermines countries and institutions. It generates popular anger that threatens to further destabilise societies and exacerbate violent conflicts," the group says.

Politicians in the U.S. might be tempted to feel smug that across the world this country is perceived as among the least corrupt. But here at home the public's view of politicians and others working in the public sector is not so rosy. Many citizens say they don't trust public officials. A Gallup Poll taken last week showed that only 10 percent of respondents said Congress has very high or high honesty and ethical standards, second only to car salespeople. An Elon University poll a couple of years ago showed that here in North Carolina, 65 percent thought elected officials look out more for their own interests than the public’s interest, 73 percent thought corruption is common among elected officials, and 67 percent thought corrupt behavior among N.C. public officials was becoming more common.

Those are not good findings. And 19th internationally shouldn't be good enough either. On a corruption scale, being No. 1 as least corrupt surely is the goal.

Posted by Fannie Flono


Shamash said...

As we absorb more third world immigrants, we become more like them.

And throw in those who are here illegally and the amount of corruption in this country should not be a surprise.

Wiley Coyote said...

...if Raleigh were a country, it would rank ahead of Iraq.

Skippy said...

No surpise Canada is there, they have blown by us at every level including being more free, higher dollar value, better economy, lower corporate taxes, median middle class net worth, you name it, but then again they are going after their own natural resources with vigor. We are heading in the opposite direction. Fast and Furious must have raised us to number 19.