Is the United States More Corrupt Than It Used To Be?

Transparency International, an organization which monitors, “measures” and ranks countries by how corrupt they are, has released its 2010 list, and for the United States the news isn’t good.

For the first time in the 15 years since the rankings began, the U.S. has dropped out of the Top 20 ‘cleanest’ countries. We now rank 22nd.

That’s not so bad, you might say. After all, there are 176 countries on the list and we’re still in the Top 15%.

You might say that, but you’d be whistling past the proverbial graveyard. Here are a few of the countries (or in some cases, ‘places’) which rank higher on the ‘clean government’ scale than we do:

The Top 5 are Denmark, New Zealand, Singapore, Finland and Sweden. Canada is 6th. Hong Kong (Hong Kong!) is 13th. Qatar is 19th and Chile is 20th.

We rank below Barbados, Hong Kong and Qatar.

According to Nancy Boswell (quoted by Reuters), President of Transparency International, the reasons given for these U.S. rankings include “… lending practices in the subprime crisis, the disclosure of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and rows over political funding had all rattled public faith about prevailing ethics in America.” She goes on to say, ” “We’re not talking about corruption in the sense of breaking the law, We’re talking about a sense that the system is corrupted by these practices. There’s an integrity deficit.”

We as Americans should be the first to recognize when our system is becoming corrupt and dysfunctional. After all, it’s always hard to see yourself as others do.

The key question then is, will we be the last to recognize it?

You can read more at the links below:

U.S. slips to historic low in global corruption index (Reuters)

Corruption index 2010 from Transparency International: find out how each country compares (The Guardian (UK))

Surveys and Indices (Transparency International)

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About ThinkWingRadio

Mike Honig is originally from Brooklyn, New York. He moved to Houston in September of 1977 and has been there ever since. Mike's interests are politics, history, science, science fiction (and reading generally), technology, and almost anything else. Mike has knowledge and experience in many diverse fields, sometimes from having worked in them, and sometimes from extensive reading or discussion about them. Mike's general knowledge makes him a favorite partner in Trivial Pursuit. He likes to say that about most things, he knows enough to be dangerous. Humility is a work-in-progress.

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