Most corrupt? Afghanistan, North Korea, and Somalia Lead in this Category

The annual list of is out and a two-thirds majority scored poorly:

So which countries are the most graft-ridden? According to Berlin-based Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index for 2013, Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia are tied for that dubious distinction.

The global corruption-fighting organization notes that more than two-thirds of the 177 countries surveyed scored below 50. That’s on a scale from zero, or perceived to be highly corrupt, to 100, or perceived to be very clean. (The three worst countries all got an 8, and Ukraine, now racked by protests, got a measly 25). “The abuse of power, secret dealings and bribery continue to ravage societies around the world,” says Transparency’s Dec. 3 press release for the index.

via Afghanistan, North Korea, and Somalia Are the World’s Most Corrupt Countries, With China in the Middle – Businessweek.

See the real thing here–including past reports back to 2001–at the NGO website: Corruption Perceptions Index.

15 thoughts on “Most corrupt? Afghanistan, North Korea, and Somalia Lead in this Category”

  1. I think that corruption is the issue that is affecting countries around the world the most with respect to their legitimacy. In my opinion, when a country or government is known for its corruption then much of its economy is bound to go down the drain. This is mostly because it drives away investors, mostly foreign, and this freezes market growth. Moreover, corruption seems to happen the most in countries that are in deep need of development and so a lack of government legitimacy affects their economic growth tremendously.

  2. I’ve always known that corruption is quite common around the world, but the fact that two thirds of the world’s countries rank a score less than 50 is quite appalling. For me, this makes me realize that more effort should be placed in cleaning up systems around the world. From a purely economic stand point, corruption I sin efficient and creates dead weight loss within the economy. By placing more focus on lessening the amount of corruption, the countries around the world will see a definite uptick in their economies.

  3. Well it is no surprise that the Scandinavian countries all were in the top five. I did think it was interesting that New Zealand tied for the top spot. But the really interesting country for me was China. It made a 1 point increase from last year, even though it is only 1 point, its still improvement. China’s plan to reduce corruption by having public officials disclose their assets is very interesting, but I think that there is a major flaw in that plan. They are not required to disclose this information to the public, just to the party. The party could keep this information secret to protect their interests. While it is a step in the right direction, I don’t know how much of an impact this policy will actually have.

    1. Scandinavian countries have a lot right. Coming from a conservative home, it is somewhat difficult for me to suggest that the fairly socialist countries of the north are doing something better than the United States is. But the facts are undeniable that they are better with women’s issues, government support of families, etc, all things that people of faith care about. Their efforts to work towards transparency are likely simply outcroppings of their efforts toward a general fairness in society in general. As a plug for my sex, I would like to suggest that the fact that the female presence in the parliament and government in general helps lead to greater transparency as women tend to push for communal inclusion in all aspects of government. It depresses me that the US government is not nearly so transperent or inclusive of minority voices in government. If we ever hope to be the light on the hill, we must live the principles of honesty and integrity which we proclaim.

  4. No surprise with the top countries or the bottom countries. Looking at trends was interesting though. For example, I looked at Iceland. It has consistently been dropping since the Global financial crisis. This in itself isn’t surprising. Corruption was found to be a large part of why their economy collapsed. What surprised me was that I thought Iceland’s government was considered to be a lot less corrupt then it was 5 years ago. Instead, I’m pretty sure this year resulted in one of the largest drops in its score in the last five years.

    Other things I noticed. Russia is way more than China (28 v 40) and there has been no improvement since last year. Though to their credit, it hasn’t gotten an worse either. Canda’s score dropped by 4 points, which is interesting in its own right. Finally, while there were plenty of exceptions, it seems that most countries scores stayed the same or dropped compared to 2012.

  5. I would really like to hear their criteria and process for determining these scores. Their website states that “Capturing perceptions of corruption of those in a position to offer assessments of public sector corruption is the most reliable method of comparing relative corruption levels across countries.” Obviously their system works in some capacity, because the countries seem to fall in a logical range of values. But whose perceptions do they capture, and what questions do they ask? As someone who has taken and enjoyed mathematical statistics, I recognize the value of thorough research and I would love to hear how they did this–it’s a brilliant study, just vulnerable to bias.

    1. I was wondering the same thing. How do you judge the corruptibility of a country? I imagine a group of survey takers trying to bribe officials in various countries to determine who is more corrupted.

    2. Good point about the process. From what I know this is survey driven, with a selection of top-level (CEO, CFO) business leaders who talk about how corrupt they perceive the country. These are heads of companies that do business extensively in-country. There will be a measure of subjectiveness–and yet, if you talk to someone in this type of position they can point to certain facts such as # times they were asked to pay a bribe to obtain a contract, interactions with the highest level of government, etc. Of course on logistics and manufacturing issues there will be a number of other quesitons–“local taxes” or “fees” that are assessed, etc.

      Overall, I’m not sure how precise year to year small changes in rankings are but they do give countries an incentive to try harder and also reflect larger trends–as may be the case with Iceland, a well-run European country that in the face of a major economic crisis brought on by the banking and financial failures, appears to lead to more corruption.

  6. It is a shame that Afghanistan still ranks as so corrupt after there was so much US money being pumped into the government during the war. It is also interesting that China’s score did not raise too much even after the huge publicity that has been pushed forward to cut back on corruption. I wonder where the US ranks.

  7. I cringe when the success of the Nordic countries is universally attributed to socialism. They have got a lot right in terms of transparency and corruption, but that ‘s not to say that the same thing cannot be accomplished in the confines of a system like that of the United States.

    A great deal of the success in the north comes from culture. I lived in Finland for a while, and their culture is absolutely infused with a quiet, dignified respect for one another and for leadership. That respect is mutual between legislators and constituents, and I find that to be a far more convincing reason for the high score than socialism.

  8. This makes me really nervous. I wasn’t really surprised about which countries are or aren’t considered corrupt…but I was surprised by how many countries are considered corrupt. In regards to how important the UN is, this may be an argument for why we do need the UN. If each individual country cannot be trusted to be transparent then maybe having a global, universal body with power will help ensure that the leaders of different nations are less corrupt.

    1. You’re assuming that the UN itself is not a corrupt body of self-seeking diplomats, a tough argument to make. UN votes can be just as easily determined by bribes as by country position. It’s tough to estimate the actual numbers surrounding UN bribery, but after talking with diplomats and interviewing a UN journalist in Geneva, I can assure you that corruption plays a huge role in the outcome of the UN’s decision making. For example, almost every year in the 1990’s, African countries would introduce a human rights condemnation working paper within the Rights for Minorities Subcommittee, and every year Chinese diplomats would go to these African countries and literally buy them off with personal bribes and country development programs. Thousands of miles of road and millions of dollars of infrastructure were built in Africa to prevent the UN from passing human rights condemnations. One observer of this process called the corruption “a new development program for the Third World”. Let’s be honest, the UN is one of the least transparent, most corrupt organizations in the world. It reflects the attitudes of the countries that participate within it, which on average are… quite corrupt.

      1. Completely agree with you Taylor. If small countries cannot keep themselves from corruption, how would a world government? The bigger the organization, the more opportunity for corruption. And if any organization were to be corrupt, I would think it would be one with an extremely ineffective enforcement arm, like the U.N. The only external measure that can stop corruption is the deterrent of force, and when it comes to the U.N. that is not much of a deterrent at all.

  9. It makes sense what was said in the Transparency International article, “Corruption within the public sector remains one of the world’s biggest challenges… Corruption remains notoriously difficult to investigate and prosecute.” I wonder if that has always been the case. Throughout history it seems that there has always been an unjust person with power causing problems. I mean even as a child I noticed this. For example, Mulan had to join forces with China to fight the Huns, a power-hungry political regime of her day. And on a more serious note, this week Amnesty International showed evidence that North Korea has no plans to scale back their repressive prison camps. I don’t like it, I don’t like it one bit. The Transparency article also stated that, “Public institutions need to be more open about their work and officials must be more transparent in their decision-making.” They need to… but does that mean that they will. I am a big fan of accountability to all. Especially when the subject is “public”.

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