Is Corruption a Problem in Many Parts of the World?

Everyone wants to trust their government, but according to Transparency International, not many people can. In 2018, the oversight group ranked 180 nations and territories by their levels of public sector corruption as perceived by business leaders and other experts. Two-thirds of the countries scored less than 50 on the Corruption Perceptions Index, out of a possible top trust score of 100. The group said the low scores revealed that unacceptable levels of corruption continue to plague government institutions all over the world. According to the report, the country with the most corruption was Somalia, which earned a score of 10. Syria and South Sudan each earned only 13 points, while Yemen and North Korea scored 14. At the other end of the spectrum was Denmark, with a score of 88, and New Zealand, with a score of 87. Finland, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland all scored 85. The United States earned 71, not making the top 20 least-corrupt nations for the first time since 2011.

Whom can you trust?:

  • According to the Pew Research Group, Americans' trust in the government is at a historic low, with only 14 percent saying that the government does what's right "most of the time."
  • Indonesian President Suharto ruled for 31 years and is believed to have embezzled between $15 billion and $35 billion USD.
  • Denmark not only tops the government trust list, it also regularly tops lists of best places in the world to live.

Frequently Asked Questions

How widespread is corruption globally?

Corruption is a pervasive issue affecting countries around the world. According to Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2021, two-thirds of countries score below 50 out of 100, indicating serious levels of public sector corruption. This data suggests that corruption is not confined to specific regions but is a global challenge that requires international cooperation and robust policy measures to combat effectively.

What are the most common forms of corruption encountered worldwide?

Corruption manifests in various forms, including bribery, embezzlement, patronage, nepotism, and graft. Bribery is perhaps the most widely recognized, involving the exchange of money or favors for influencing public officials. Embezzlement refers to the theft of public funds, while patronage and nepotism involve favoring friends or relatives for jobs and contracts. Graft is the exploitation of one's role for personal gain. These practices undermine governance and economic development across the globe.

Which regions are most affected by corruption?

While corruption is a global issue, certain regions experience it more acutely. According to the 2021 CPI, regions like Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia tend to have lower scores, indicating higher perceived levels of corruption. However, it's important to note that no region is immune, and even countries with higher scores face challenges in areas such as campaign finance, lobbying, and the revolving door between public and private sectors.

What impact does corruption have on a country's development?

Corruption has a detrimental impact on a country's development. It diverts public resources from essential services like healthcare and education, undermines trust in institutions, and distorts markets. The World Bank estimates that businesses and individuals pay more than $1 trillion in bribes each year, which hampers economic growth and exacerbates poverty and inequality. Furthermore, corruption can lead to political instability and conflict, further impeding a nation's development trajectory.

How can individuals and societies combat corruption effectively?

Combating corruption requires a multifaceted approach. Transparency and accountability are key: governments can implement and enforce strong anti-corruption laws, ensure open access to information, and support independent media and civil society. Individuals can participate by staying informed, holding leaders accountable, and fostering a culture of integrity. International organizations and agreements, such as the United Nations Convention against Corruption, also play a crucial role in setting standards and facilitating cooperation to address corruption on a global scale.

More Info: Transparency International

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