Transparency International recently released its annual Corruption Perceptions Index, a measure of the degree of public concerns with corruption, covering 180 countries.
The Index is quite revealing. Not a single large economy is represented in the top 10 countries in terms of low perceptions of corruption. Worse, for a whole range of the much ‘talked about’ tax havens and tax optimising states, corruption seems to be not a problem. Switzerland ranks 3rd in the world in public perceptions of corruption, Luxembourg ranks 8th, along with the Netherlands, and the world’s leading ‘financial secrecy’ jurisdictions, the UK. Hong Kong is ranked 13th. Ireland is in a relatively poor spot at 19th place.
American exceptionalism, meanwhile, continues to shine. The U.S. occupies a mediocre (for its anti-corruption rhetoric and the chest-thumping pursuits of corrupt regimes around the world) 16th place in the Corruption Perception Index, just one place above Ireland, and in the same place as Belgium and Austria (the former being a well-known centre for business corruption, while the latter sports highly secretive and creative, when it comes to attracting foreign cash, financial system). UAE (21st), Uruguay (23rd), Barbados (25th), Bhutan (26th) and more, are within the statistical confidence interval of the U.S. score.
And consider Europe. While most of the Nordic and ‘Germanic’ Europe, plus the UK and Ireland, are in top 20, the rest of the EU rank below the U.S. All non-EU Western European countries, meanwhile, are in the top 15.
Now, in terms of dynamics, using TI’s data that traces comparable indices back to 2012:
- The U.S. performance in terms of corruption remains effectively poor. The country scored 73 on CPI in 2012-2013, and since then, the score roughy remained bounded between 74 and 75. Ireland, however, managed to improve significantly, relative to the past. In 2012, Irish CPI score was 69. Since then, it rose to a peak of 75 in 2015 and is currently standing at 74. So in terms of both 2012 to peak, and peak to 2017 dynamics, Ireland is doing reasonably well, even though we are still suffering from the low starting base.
Hey, anyone heard of any corruption convictions at the Four Courts recently?