Americans getting worse, we better! - Views on News from Equitymaster

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Americans getting worse, we better!

Apr 16, 2007

Sounds unusual, right? Read further. According to the annual survey by the Berlin-based organization Transparency International, Finland, Iceland, and New Zealand are perceived to be the world's least corrupt countries, and Haiti is perceived to be the most corrupt.

The index defines corruption as "the abuse of public office for private gain and measures the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among a country's public officials and politicians." Ask us!

Only 163 of the world's 193 countries are included in the survey, due to an absence of reliable data from the remaining countries (heights of corruption!). The scores range from ten (squeaky clean) to zero (highly corrupt). A score of "5" is the number Transparency International considers the borderline figure distinguishing countries that do and do not have a serious corruption problem.

Now read the unusual! India is one of the countries that have significantly improved their rating since the 2005 index. The other improvers are Algeria, Czech Republic, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Mauritius, Paraguay, Slovenia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uruguay.

By the way, India is ranked 74 out of 163. Not bad!

However, the world's richest democracy, the US, alongwith Brazil, Cuba, Israel, Jordan, Laos, Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago and Tunisia have a significantly worse rating since 2005.

Important statistic - total number of politicians in India, including the ones out of power, is around 2 lacs. Add the bureaucrats (the ubiquitous babu), who are in a ratio of around 5:1, i.e., 5 babus for each neta, and the Indian population most close to corruption is around 12 lacs. That's still 0.1% of our pupolation, or 1 per 900 people (If population was an industry (it still is), there would have been a huge potential to grow!).

Wonder if there's a correlation between the levels of corruption in a country and its economic growth. If there's one, you need to watch out for India's ranking on the Transparency International's corruption chart and not growth in services, agriculture and industry to ascertain where we are heading in the future! (Read our reports on the Indian economy)

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