areppim line chart and statistics of CPI (corruption perceptions index) median, highest and lowest scores from 1995 to 2013. The index distribution has shifted towards the lower end of the scale along the 19-year period in the chart, exposing the generalized sliding towards a more corrupt environment. The shift affects all countries, including the least corrupt ones (the regression line slope of -0.04 corresponds to an average annual change rate of -0.27%), revealing an ongoing albeit slow moral deterioration. The long term trend of the median index (annual average change rate of -2.15%) heralds loud and clear the triumph of corruption and the decay of probity across the planet.

In spite of the noisy anti-corruption buzz generated at international (United Nations, World Bank, OECD) and national levels, the actual perceived corruption in the political and public circles does not cease to grow, as indicated by the downward trend of the annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) developed by Transparency International (TI). The index name is misleading, because it actually measures the perceived level of probity — a low index meaning high corruption, and a high index meaning probity. The chart shows the maximum (green), median (blue) and minimum (red) parameters of the index, and the corresponding trend lines for the years 1995 to 2013.

The index distribution has shifted towards the lower end of the scale along the 19-year period in the chart, exposing the generalized sliding towards a more corrupt environment. The shift affects all countries, including the least corrupt ones (the regression line slope of -0.04 corresponds to an average annual change rate of -0.27%), revealing an ongoing albeit slow moral deterioration. The long term trend of the median index (annual average change rate of -2.15%) heralds loud and clear the triumph of corruption and the decay of probity across the planet.

Decent and well-meaning souls in the developed world may feel reassured by learning that the nations with the lowest index (higher corruption) are destitute, developing countries of Africa and Asia, whereas those with the highest index (lower corruption) are the customary northern European nations and New Zealand. Why should one worry ?

To be true, it seems that poor, southern countries are facing the double curse of an unfair income distribution and the aggravation of high corruption. However, it would be mistaken to believe that corruption is a concern only for far-away, backward nations, not for "us, the civilized ones". The fact is that the wolf is in the sheepfold. The least corrupt nations are far from immune to he corruption virus; not only do they breed corruption, they also export it and play the part of the anti-corruption police officer.

Widespread fraud in non-corrupt nations

While bribes and selling of favors are perceived as lower in developed countries, other forms of fraud are actually quite common — a poor prerequisite for preventing the establishment of corruption.

Corruption thrives in the non-corrupt nations

Alleged non-corrupt countries, although keen to pose as role-models, keep foul-smelling skeletons hidden in their closets:

Exporting corruption

High-probity nations are to a large extent the culprits of the sad performance of the corruption-ridden ones. Developed nations have been and still are corruption pushers: they do not just turn a blind eye on corrupt networks, but actively purvey the necessary fuel to feed corruption, and they are ultimately beneficiaries of corrupt practices in less developed countries. Some examples:

The arsonist turned chief-fireman

Although nations reputed to be above all suspicion have promoted international efforts to curb corruption worldwide, they also have taken seats in the executive bodies of the organizations entrusted with that mandate, and have performed a sad show of abuse, self-dealing, deception and wholesale corruption.

Corruption seems to be a historical legacy likely to remain alive and prosperous for a long while. The contemporary reader of Tacitus' chronicles of the Roman empire, or of the anonymous 14th century Chinese novel Jin Píng Méi, will experience a feeling of déjà-vu and could easily substitute contemporary names to many of the characters presented therein. The much heralded anti-corruption initiatives by national governments, the UN, WB, OECD and others focus exclusively on ethics or on legal and bureaucratic governance procedures, instead of fixing the social, economic and political structures that foster inequality, dependency and oppression of the weaker, and which are the breeding ground for corruption. At best, they can deliver lukewarm, short-range, transient results, thus reinforcing the impression that their objective is to build an alibi to silence critics and to avoid bringing about actual, but politically controversial change.

 


  1. top Fanelli, D. How Many Scientists Fabricate and Falsify Research? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Survey Data, Public Library of Science 2009: 4 (5).
  2. top Seife, Charles. Is Drug Research Trustworthy? in Scientific American, December 2012.
  3. top Goldacre, Ben. Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients, Fourth Estate, 2012 (UK).
  4. top The BSE Inquiry, http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20060715141954/http://bseinquiry.gov.uk/report/volume1/toc.htm, retrieved on 4 January 2014.
  5. top Élevage en Eaux Troubles, Envoyé spécial France 2, 7 novembre 2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27HVmJ1huJM.
  6. top Wartime Contracting Commission, Report CWC_NR-49, 2011 , http://www.wartimecontracting.gov/docs/CWC_NR-49.pdf.
  7. top MacGillis, Alec. Scandal at Clinton Inc., New Republic, 22 September 2013.
  8. top Wartime Contracting Commission, Report CWC_NR-49, 2011 , http://www.wartimecontracting.gov/docs/CWC_NR-49.pdf.
  9. top Schoenberg, T. and Armstrong, D. Pfizer Agrees to Settle Foreign Bribery Case With U.S., Bloomberg News, 7 Agust 2012.
  10. top OECD, Exporting Corruption Progress Report 2013. and OECD, Phase 3 Report on Implementing the OECD Anti- Bribery Convention In New Zealand, October 2013.
  11. top Among other sources: http://www.fpif.org/reports/world_bank_corruption | http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2012/0716/feature-world-bank-robert-zoellick-too-big-to-fail.html | http://www.globalissues.org/article/590/corruption | http://www.economist.com/node/4267109 | http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2008/10/more-united-nations-corruption/.

 

Corruption Perceptions Index ¹
Median, Maximum & Minimum scores
1995 - 2013

Year

Median

Maximum

Minimum

19955.69.6New Zealand1.9Indonesia
19965.09.4New Zealand.7Nigeria
19975.29.9Denmark1.8Nigeria
19984.310.0Denmark1.4Cameroon
19993.810.0Denmark1.5Cameroon
20004.110.0Finland1.2Nigeria
20014.19.9Finland.4Bangladesh
20023.89.7Finland1.2Bangladesh
20033.49.7Finland1.3Bangladesh
20043.49.7Finland1.5Bangladesh
20053.29.7Iceland1.7Bangladesh
20063.29.6Finland1.8Haiti
20073.39.4Denmark1.4Myanmar
20083.49.3Denmark1.0Somalia
20093.39.4New Zealand1.1Somalia
20103.39.3Denmark, New Zealand, Singapore1.1Somalia
20113.29.5New Zealand1Korea DPR, Somalia
2012 ²3790Denmark, Finland, New Zealand8Afghanistan, Korea DPR, Somalia
20133891Denmark, New Zealand8Afghanistan, Korea DPR, Somalia
Average annual change-2.15%-0.27% -4.80% 
Slope of the regression line-0.1-0.04 -0.03 
 ¹ The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries in terms of the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians. The country with the lowest score is the one where corruption is perceived to be greatest. Browse the complete Corruption Perceptions Index lists from 1995.
 ² The scale 0 to 10 became 0 to 100 in 2012. For charting and computation purposes, data points from 2012 onwards have been adjusted by dividing by 10.

 

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Sources: Transparency International.

 

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