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So apparently an Ambassadorship costs $1.8 million per post in the US.

In virtually any other country, even where the situation with corruption is quite dismal, such arrangements would be seen as unquestionably corrupt. And yet the US scores an entirely respectable 73/100 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), leagues above say Italy which gets 42/100.

The reason I mention Italy is that I was once discussing the question of corruption in different countries with an Italian. He said that what in the US is known as “political lobbying” would be treated as a criminal activity in Italy, and indeed in most of the rest of Europe. Hence why in the Med countries you get far more cases of corruption in the form of cash in envelopes. In the US that’s against the law, but that’s not such a big deal, because the law – or rather the absence of it – allows for the same thing, just in indirect formats (expensive dinners, contributions, astronomic speaking fees, stock performances superior to those of corporate insiders, etc). But that kind of corruption is “deniable” and hence respectable, whereas the direct kind is crude and distasteful, a defining feature of disorganized Third World countries.

In Italy, regulations against corruption and weaselly dealings in general are stringent. Now because Italians tend to corruption in general, either by nature or nurture, this means that the high incidence of such endlessly knocks against their corruption ratings. In the US, however, the factual “legalization” of much of what passes for corruption in Europe allows it to remain relatively unscathed in such international assessments.

There are many other such examples. Saudi Arabia, for instance, is insanely corrupt if you think rulers siphoning off billions of dollars off the oil budget is fundamentally illegitimate (as is alleged but never evidenced for Russia’s “mafia state” and Putin’s Swiss bank accounts). But it’s all quite legal there, which is why – hard as it is to believe – Saudi Arabia scores higher than not only Russia, but even Italy in the CPI.

So the solution is simple. Just legalize your corruption, and move up to the top in both the World Bank’s Doing Business ratings and soon enough in the Corruption Perceptions Index. Don’t forget to be slavishly pro-American in your foreign policy. Investors will love you for it. Well, maybe not, at least once said investors get to know you a bit better, but at least you’ll get glowing reviews from the Wall Street Journal and Transparency International. That’s how you become a made country in Davos World.

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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Here it is. Or just skip the graphics and download the data in Excel here.

I can’t say I care much about most of it. Of course most people everything think corruption is “increasing,” because they are a grumpy lot.

What does matter is the number of people who report paying a bribe in the past 12 months. It is as close to objective measurement as you can get in a sphere of life as indefinite and necessarily opaque as “corruption.”

Below is a quick table summarizing the results from the most notable countries (no comment where it’s pretty much “as expected”).

Paid bribe in last year? My comments
Afghanistan 46
Argentina 13
Australia 1 Acquaintance: AUS bureaucracy incompetent, but not dishonest
Brazil n/a Was 4% in last survey
Canada 3
China n/a :( Last survey was 9%, haven’t been included in this year’s GCB at all.
Czech Republic 15
Egypt 36
Estonia 6 One of two “clean” post-Soviet republics
France n/a
Georgia 4 One of two “clean” post-Soviet republics
Greece 22 By far the worst old-EU country; up from 18% in last survey.
Germany n/a
Hungary 12
India 54 “India shining” worse than many African countries. Exactly same as in last survey.
Israel 12
Italy 5 Down from 13% in last survey.
Japan 1 Down from 9% in last survey. This figure much more believable, I daresay.
Kazakhstan 34
Korea (South) 3
Latvia 19 Contrary to propaganda, of the Baltics only Estonia is truly clean
Lithuania 26
Mexico 33
Nigeria 44
Pakistan 34 Cleaner than India! :| Down from 49% in last survey.
Romania 17
Russia n/a Aw shucks… no data. ” (was 26% in last survey)
Sierra Leone 84 The record-holders this year (IIRC Cambodia topped last survey)
South Africa 47 WTF? Thought RSA, though kinda Third World, had a First World administrative structure.
Spain 2
Taiwan 36 WTF!?! Is this a statistical fluke??
Thailand 18
Turkey 21 Down from 33% last survey.
Ukraine 37 Virtually same as in last survey, when it was 34%.
United Kingdom 5 Strange… was 1% in last survey.
United States 7 Was 5% in last survey… and 2-3% in older surveys. Oh-oh…
Venezuela 27 Quite typical for middle-income country, contrary to anti-Bolivarian propaganda.

Summary:

So what’s up with South Africa? It’s corruption increased by an order of magnitude relative to the last GCB. And Taiwan?!? It’s GDP in purchasing power terms has recently soared past Japan’s, but it’s corruption levels are Third World… assuming this isn’t a bizarre statistical fluke.

A pity that there is no data for Russia and a few other key countries (Brazil, China, Germany, France). This will make the update to the Corruption Realities Index incomplete, and will leave a gap in my data series for bribery incidence in Russia. I have written to Transparency to inquire as to whether data for these countries will be forthcoming at some later date.

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 
• Tags: Corruption, Society, Sociology 
Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.

One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.

Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.