Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

Corruption Index

By MSBob in MLP
Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 04:21:01 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)

Transparency International released their new report on corruption levels in a number of countries. You can check how easy to bribe officials are in your part of the world.

The amazing thing is how little correlation this table bears with the respective wealth of each country as Belgium fares just a tad better than Botswana for instance. Check for yourself here to see which country claims to be the least and the most corrupt.


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Have you ever bribed anybody?
o Yes 23%
o No 57%
o Others bribe me 18%

Votes: 38
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o here
o Also by MSBob

Display: Sort:
Corruption Index | 38 comments (33 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
problem with this index.. (3.70 / 10) (#4)
by rebelcool on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 09:36:49 PM EST

is that its based on perceptions of corruption. Governments are generally perceived to be far more corrupt than they really are.

USA for instance. Corruption on a national level, is actually very, very rare. Local levels are a bit higher.

Main reason: Media spotlight. The thing is though, the media likes to lead people to believe tons of corruption and bribery is going on. Because of the big glare of modern mass media, most politicians wont touch illegal money with a 20 foot pole. Especially since frequent FBI stings can destroy many careers.

Now on a local level, things are more likely to happen because of decreased media spotlight. Especially on the small county and city council level of small towns.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

perceptions (4.25 / 4) (#5)
by Delirium on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 09:40:55 PM EST

Yeah, I was hoping for an actual study of corruption, though I'd imagine that might be difficult to get accurate data on. The problem with a study of this sort is that it gives high scores to countries that do a good job controlling the media and putting up a facade of uncorruptibility.

[ Parent ]
exactly (2.33 / 6) (#6)
by rebelcool on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 09:44:39 PM EST

actual numbers on corruption are pretty hard to come by. I imagine the USA might be easiest to get numbers because we've got a totally free press, which is an anomaly.

That and this group has an obvious political agenda. Real numbers would probably be alot less damning.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

What agenda? (3.00 / 2) (#16)
by mlinksva on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 11:15:25 PM EST

What is Transparency International's "obvious political agenda"? It looks about as nonideological as it could be to me. For instance, check out their Anti-Corruption Links. All NGOs and government departments and reports AFAICT. If they had an obvious agenda, they'd be linking to like-minded think tanks and activist groups.
imagoodbitizen adobe unisys badcitizens
[ Parent ]
quoting... (2.80 / 5) (#17)
by rebelcool on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 11:17:11 PM EST

"We work to ensure that the agendas of international organisations give high priority to curbing corruption. We are promoting new inter-governmental agreements to fight corruption in an internationally co-ordinated manner."

An anti-corruption agenda. I'm not saying its a BAD agenda, but it is indeed an agenda.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

There are agendas and there are agendas (2.00 / 1) (#18)
by mlinksva on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 11:23:17 PM EST

So the TI agenda correlates precisely with what they're studying. Sounds good to me -- their agenda doesn't taint the study. I mistakenly read "hidden" into "obvious political agenda", as in an organization that claims to be worried about women's psychological health that is really a front for anti-abortionists.
imagoodbitizen adobe unisys badcitizens
[ Parent ]
heh... (2.80 / 5) (#19)
by rebelcool on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 11:34:34 PM EST

its an agenda. They of course, want statistics favorable to them. Sure they put all sorts of spin on them saying "at least 3 years of surveys" and what not, but they're still far from being factual as they're based on perceptions.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

It's not just an opinion poll (4.25 / 4) (#8)
by MSBob on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 09:45:03 PM EST

From the article:

The CPI, which TI first launched in 1995, is a poll of polls, this year drawing on 14 surveys from seven independent institutions. The surveys reflect the perceptions of business people, academics and country analysts. The surveys were undertaken over the past three years and no country has been included in the CPI without results from a minimum of three surveys.

Seems that they go out of their way to ask the right people who may know something about this issue which by its nature is nearly impossible to assess reliably. I think this index is as good as it gets in terms of corruption measurement. I believe it does, at least to an extent, roughly reflect the state of things. Having been to a few of the countries on that list I would probably rank them at similar positions based on my own experiences (and having no knowledge of the local media).

I agree with your point about small towns. I live in a city of less than 100,000 that was "accomodating" enough to have both a refinery and a paper mill both in within the city's area... Someone took big bucks for that.

I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
right (3.00 / 5) (#11)
by rebelcool on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 09:53:45 PM EST

the table isnt WRONG per se, as many of those countries are indeed corrupt beasts. Though I feel the numbers may be a bit inflated to fit the agenda.

There is also a problem of how the country is divided. Take USA's ranking for instance. We have one national government that isnt all that big, compared the number of local government that exists. People affected by corruption are actually pretty low in the USA because national govt is all but uncorrupt, and local corruption happens in patches.

Other countries may not even have hardly any local government, and certainly less than the USA. Or they may have ONLY local government, with nothing more than a puppet for national.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

no corruption in the US? (2.50 / 2) (#35)
by garlic on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 11:46:24 AM EST

What do you mean by corruption? I took the site to mean any corruption, from the local guys taking bribes for liscences( illinois) to the big guys taking "campaign donations" from power companies and then doing their best to lower regulations of power companies. Or a stockholder in a position of power getting the company he holds in to talk to the people they want to talk to.

In that understanding, while there may be little actual corruption, the appearance of corruption can be pretty big too.

HUSI challenge: post 4 troll diaries on husi without being outed as a Kuron, or having the diaries deleted or moved by admins.
[ Parent ]

corruption (4.00 / 3) (#37)
by rebelcool on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 03:21:51 PM EST

bribery and breaking any kind of law while in public office is what i consider corruption. Traffic tickets and minor things like that, of course, do not count.

The appearance is large because the media reports mainly on negative aspects of government. You dont see reports of both parties harmoniously working together on a bill.. no, you only see reports of partisan bickering. Same with reports of corruption, putting ones dick in some intern and other things.

Happy routine stories dont sell.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

being wronge vs. being stupid (3.83 / 6) (#9)
by radar bunny on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 09:47:50 PM EST

The other problem is that just general stupidity is often thrown in with corruption. To many times people everywhere attribute everything from simple mistakes to vaste stupidity to being signs of corruption. And, again, it comes down to perception.

[ Parent ]
the uneducated masses (3.60 / 5) (#12)
by rebelcool on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 09:56:46 PM EST

Most people dont understand government or economics very well. Humans innately distrust the unknown, and the govt and economics work in ways that arent immediately obvious.

View many of the people here on k5 for instance. Many (if not most) know virtually nothing about economics. Pull out information about marginal cost, rate of return and other basic ideas and you'll get a blank look.

The rest of the population is no different. I've had the benefit of an excellent university education with superb professors that dispelled so many myths about government and economics that ive learned things are nowhere near as bad as they sometimes seem.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Wha...? (3.40 / 5) (#13)
by RareHeintz on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 10:01:57 PM EST

USA for instance. Corruption on a national level, is actually very, very rare.

Were you paying attention to the last Presidential election?

most politicians wont touch illegal money with a 20 foot pole

No, but they'll sell legislation outright in exchange for essentially limitless legal money, and then they'll go ahead and use that money illegally anyway. Media scrutiny, unless it involves someone's dick, isn't nearly as pervasive or effective as you seem to think, mainly because many corruption stories (a) turn viewers off, and (b) are too complex to be contained in a soundbite. Journalists and news-dispensing institutions know a lot more about corruption than comes out in the major media outlets, but don't say anything because it doesn't sell.

Pick up a copy of Mother Jones sometime.

- B
http://www.bradheintz.com/ - updated kind of daily
[ Parent ]

nope (4.00 / 7) (#14)
by rebelcool on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 10:09:48 PM EST

There are isolated instances of it, but national corruption is terribly unlikely these days. What little there is is being routed out.

The national election was tainted because of Florida, which has a history of dirty tricks. I agree that what happened there was reprehensible, but its more attributed to obsolete voting technology than corruption.

No, but they'll sell legislation outright in exchange for essentially limitless legal money, and then they'll go ahead and use that money illegally anyway.

Untrue. I assume you're referring to interest groups bribing politicans? On a national level, this simply doesnt happen. Politicians dont get into office by taking risks. They are probably the most cautious people on the planet. A $50,000 bribe is nothing compared to spending millions campaigning for a seat and then to lose it. Further, how do they use the money illegally?

On corruption not selling, that is totally untrue. Good lord, americans LOVE their politicans getting caught being bad. It reinforces their rather incorrect view that politicans are nothing more than thieves, and who doesnt like having their feelings vindicated?

Your post is a perfect example of the average american's beliefs. Consider something interesting: Everyone thinks Congress as a whole is a bunch of scumbags. Yet incumbants are almost impossible to NOT get reelected. Why? Because people love their particular representative. They feel they could do no harm - and they're right mostly. Yet they dont trust the OTHER ones. And so, dont trust congress. It's an interesting paradox.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

nope yourself, bub (4.00 / 4) (#20)
by RareHeintz on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 12:38:29 AM EST

Your willful ignorance astounds me. If your only definition of corruption is personal acceptance of actual bribe money, then I can only assume that you are deliberately putting on blinders.

here - note the bit about the international business deal
here - Congressman Hilliard "converted campaign funds for personal use" admitted it, and got a slap on the wrist. Did you catch this on your local news? Do you think it got lots of coverage from that vigilant media you talk about?
here - Do you think that companies that cough up this much soft money don't expect a financial return for it?
here - pretty good article about how campaign finance laws are ignored
especially here
must-see stuff here
and again, here

- B
http://www.bradheintz.com/ - updated kind of daily
[ Parent ]

this will be harsh. (2.57 / 7) (#21)
by rebelcool on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 01:03:36 AM EST

Bribery is the most common and obvious form of corruption. And the most tempting.

Is that all you can find? Compare that to 80 years ago where political bosses ran the country. These are isolated incidents, which are quite rare. Posting links to radical websites doesnt help your case any other than make me shake my head and think you're another one of those looneys who thinks the government is out to get them.

No, my friend, you're the ignorant one. You dont know how government operates and how there is so much to lose through corruption that today, its simply not worth it. You fear what you dont understand. You want to live in your comfortable belief that politicans - the very people you elect - are indeed scum. Why? I dont know. I suggest you get a quality education in government, then come back. And try broadening your horizons a little bit. The world isnt as bad as you think it is.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

back at ya (1.60 / 5) (#32)
by RareHeintz on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 10:41:46 AM EST

Is that all you can find?

Certainly not. It's all I found in about ten minutes. But unlike you, I bother to look for evidence for my views, rather than claiming some sort of unspecified education and declaring myself the more knowledgable person in the argument.

Posting links to radical websites doesnt help your case

Right. Because the AP and the NYT are so radical.

No, my friend, you're the ignorant one. You dont know how government operates

Indeed. And exactly how can you claim to know what I know? Fuck you, you arrogant prick. Either shut up about this mythical education of yours and back up your assertions with facts, figures, and citable references (of which you haven't offered a single one), or just shut the fuck up.

http://www.bradheintz.com/ - updated kind of daily
[ Parent ]

here... (3.66 / 3) (#36)
by rebelcool on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 03:17:20 PM EST

I'll point you to some people who might know what they're talking about.

First up, a basic government college textbook. "The New American Democracy" by Fiorina & Peterson. It's pretty recent and includes the 2000 elections. It's amazingly centric, and provides for both sides of pretty much every issue. Very informative.

If you'd like i'll pull out line numbers and the sources F&P used on any particular subject.

Second. Jim Enelow, professor of government, college of liberal arts, University of Texas Austin.

Third. You pointed to 2 instances of corruption, one from some backwater representative from alabama (who was soundly rebuked) and a shady deal. I consider 'virtually uncorrupt' with the assumption of perhaps a dozen shady deals a year. Considering the size of congress, even 12 stories a year and one major scandal is statistical proof of the very very low amount of corruption present in government.

Campaign Finance. I dont have a NYT account, so I was unable to read them. I figure they're yet another article on how campaign finance needs reformed and so on. The problem with campaign finance is that its already been mostly reformed, since the 1970s. Whats left is soft money which is pretty hard to reform, considering that candidates dont actually touch a dollar of soft money.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Eternal verities (4.00 / 2) (#33)
by strumco on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 11:16:25 AM EST

There are isolated instances of it, but national corruption is terribly unlikely these days.
I am reminded of a piece of verse:-

You cannot hope to bribe or twist,
Thank God, the British journalist.
(But seeing what the man will do
Unbribed, there's no occasion to).

[ Parent ]

Campaign Contributions (3.75 / 4) (#28)
by Merk00 on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 07:58:15 AM EST

There have been actual studies done on whether or not campaign contributions influence politicians in the way bribes do. And it's been found that there's no significant correlation. The most likely reason for this is that there are enough groups willing to give campaign contributions that a politician can choose who to take the contributions from and then only take it from groups who support the same ideology that the politician does. In current politics, every side of an issue has money supporting it so a politician can take it from whatever they support. As an example, Bush's actions regarding energy in California are not because he's in bed with the power companies but because that his ideological belief. People like to percieve a lot more corruption than ever exists than actually does.

"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

More money buys more votes (3.50 / 4) (#29)
by MfA on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 08:26:47 AM EST

A convincing arguement but "every side of an issue has money supporting it so a politician can take it from whatever they support" doesnt fly for me... yes they can all get money, but the one's which can get the most money still have a significant (undemocratic) advantage.

Wether money buy's vote's for a politician which is aligned to your own purposes or wether it buys the politician itself doesnt make a whole lot of difference in the end.

You still end up with a system where bucks are on equal standings with votes, if thats a bad thing is a matter of taste though :)

[ Parent ]
doesnt happen that often. (3.20 / 5) (#31)
by rebelcool on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 09:31:25 AM EST

its quite hard to donate directly to a candidate. Especially if you're an interest group who has direct dealings. Soft money is another hand and deals with funneling money indirectly to try and help a candidate - often without his knowledge. And that deals with advertising, as opposed to actually giving money to the candidate himself.

And it's not entirely true that the candidate with the most money has the advantage. It's the candidate with the most exposure that does.

Consider this: Suppose im a billionaire and I want to get Joe Blow elected to office because he supports some ideals that I like. I have every right to put ads on tv advertising for him, even though he had nothing to do with them. Spending money *is* a form of free speech. This is how most advertisements are paid for - most without the direction of the candidate and his campaign. Occasionally this will piss off a candidate and he'll ask whoever does the ads to stop...

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Further proof (3.14 / 7) (#7)
by Tatarigami on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 09:44:46 PM EST

...that I live in the third most dull and unimaginative country on planet Earth.


I see a strong correlation (4.37 / 8) (#15)
by mlinksva on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 10:18:03 PM EST

Botswana is the highest ranking indisputably very poor country, Belgium is among the lowest rated indisputably wealthy countries. Every country rated higher than Botswana is considered "first world", with the possible exception of Chile, which is generally ahead of the rest of Latin America in terms of economic reforms. All of the bottom third are poor.

If you're into country rankings, check out these:

All of these rankings tend to find that wealthy countries have more freedom of various sorts, less corruption, etc. Chicken or egg, that's one of the questions. k5 discussed one answer offered by Hernando de Soto about a month ago.
imagoodbitizen adobe unisys badcitizens
Chicken AND Egg (4.20 / 5) (#26)
by Paul Johnson on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 05:19:14 AM EST

Unfortunately poverty and corruption form a vicious circle: a poor country cannot afford to spend much on enforcement, or even decent wages for civil servants. So they resort to corruption. The corruption sucks wealth from the rest of the economy and drives out investment. Hence the country gets poorer, and therefore can afford even less enforcement.

It is possible to fight your way out of this, and most of the wealthy nations have in fact done so. Its worth reading Pepys Diary in this regard: he was a senior civil servant in the Admiralty, and tells stories of what happened when he sprung surprise inspections on shipyards.

You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.
[ Parent ]

What a relief... (3.00 / 2) (#22)
by sombragris on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 01:17:16 AM EST

to see my country (Paraguay, south america) to dissapear from the list. Last year it was next to last in the CPI. Corruption keeps rampant, however...

Nigeria (3.66 / 3) (#23)
by Bad Harmony on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 02:14:57 AM EST

I wasn't surprised to see Nigeria near the bottom of the list. I've received several emails and postal letters from Nigerians, offering to cut me in for part of the action if I help them transfer funds out of the country. This is a scam that is one of the major industries in Nigeria. See this page for the details of the scam and what to do if you receive one of these letters.

5440' or Fight!

Well, I guess that would make perfect sense. (3.00 / 2) (#25)
by Trepalium on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 04:15:26 AM EST

The list goes from least perceptively corrupt at #1, to most corrupt at #91. It's not entirely clear how the ranking is done unless you read the linked article's text and not just glance at the chart. A "clean score" is a 10.0 on that chart, which means no corruption. Note the following passage from the text:

Some of the richest countries in the world - Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, Iceland, Singapore and Sweden - scored 9 or higher out of a clean score of 10 in the new CPI, indicating very low levels of perceived corruption. But 55 countries - many of which are among the world's poorest - scored less than 5, suggesting high levels of perceived corruption in government and public administration.

Nigeria scored a 1.0 on that, only bested by Bangladesh at 0.4. For perspective, the United States of America ranked #16 with a score of 7.6, and Canada ranked #7 with a score of 8.9. Nothing to be proud of, but at least we can claim that even with (or perhaps due to) the heightened media attention in our countries, public officials try to be honest.

[ Parent ]

Ivory Coast (none / 0) (#38)
by Apuleius on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 07:16:45 PM EST

.. has just joined in on this scam. My landlord received a CI-originated spam and I had to clue him in.

There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Seems reasonable (3.00 / 4) (#27)
by MugginsM on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 06:41:21 AM EST

well, as someone living in the third country on the list, I'd say most of the ratings look sensible to me. NZers still seem fairly honest and open, although we are moving slowly towards the lies and propoganda that free capitalism brings. It's quite interesting to see the "free capitalist democracy" countries further down the list than the supposedly more protectionist government ones. - MugginsM

Re: Seems reasonable (3.00 / 3) (#30)
by mrBlond on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 09:07:23 AM EST

Personal freedom and central economics vs neo-feudalist economies.

With the Netherlands in 8th place, I wonder what a mysticism vs corruption index would look like.

The English list is also interesting:

  • 3 New Zealand
  • 7 Canada
  • 11 Australia
  • 13 United Kingdom
  • 14 Hong Kong
  • 16 USA
  • 18 Ireland
  • 38 South Africa

Inoshiro for cabal leader.
[ Parent ]
Interesting, but incomplete. (3.33 / 3) (#34)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 11:24:59 AM EST

As the study says it rates corruption from the point of view of bussinespeople.

One glaring example of why this is incomplete is the high ranking of Singapore, whose goverment is known to sue opposition leaders with frivolous lawsuits (you talked bad about dear Prime Minister during a political campaign! Libelous liar!). As you would expect the Singaporean goverment never looses a case.

That seems to me to be pretty high in a corruption scale, but as long as bussinespeople are unaffected and don't see this unsightly news, all must be good an well I guess (no freedom of the pres, etc,etc).

We should also not forget the EU that can fire and reprimend whistle blowers like that pure chap that opened the Pandora box regardin practices in the EU comission.

To think I could have lived in Nigeria for a while and to watch the list gives me very comforting feelings thanks to the fact I refused to go there with all mi might..... ;-)

The problem is that to go back home even for a holiday does not seem like such an interesting proposition :-(

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
Corruption Index | 38 comments (33 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:


All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!