Wednesday, September 24, 2008
A Corrupting Influence
Somalia is 180th out of 180. Iraq is second from bottom. Haiti fourth from bottom. And Afghanistan lies in 176th place.
No, it’s not the FIFA world rankings- but the 2008 Corruption Perception Index, published by the Berlin-based Transparency International.All the countries above have one thing in common: they’ve all experienced ‘interventions’ in one way or another, in recent years by the US. Surely something for supporters of US interventions in the affairs of other sovereign states to ponder.
The other revealing thing about the survey is the countries at the top. Among the top fifteen least corrupt nations in the world are Norway, Austria, Canada, New Zealand and Sweden- and- at number one- Denmark. All are countries with a relatively small gap between rich and poor- in fact Denmark and Norway are among the most egalitarian societies on this planet. The message is clear: if you operate a mixed economy with progressive taxation and a welfare state you are much less likely to have a corrupt society.
As to Britain- well - turbo-capitalism is taking its toll. We’ve fallen four places in the ratings, to 16th, with Transparency International reporting “The weakening performance of some wealthy countries… casts a further critical light on government commitment to rein in the questionable methods of their companies in acquiring and managing overseas business”. The more openly capitalistic Britain has become, the more corrupt we have become too. If we do want to climb in the top ten, and reduce corruption, then have to return to the sort of progressive economic policies we followed back in the 1960s and 70s.