Information sourced from Transparency International, a world-leading NGO.
Known as the abuse of power for private gain, corruption amplifies inequality in society while juxtaposing democracy. Social conflict is consequently exacerbated within a global superstructure, obscuring humanity’s ability to reduce it. Whether monetary or otherwise, actions by civil servants, politicians and corporate tycoons swiftly undermine the wellbeing of all, especially when occurrent at all levels. Which, when citizens become directly involved, makes the shadowy underworld opaquer to those attempting to glean insight, whether with the utilisation of shell companies or client-attorney privilege.
Corruption, then, takes various forms dependent on extraneous variables, but fundamentally ends with similar costs, whether political, economic, social or environmental. Globally, this is comparable with the annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), formed from expert assessments and public opinion to rank 180 countries on a scale of 0-100, with those closer to 100 considered ‘clean’ and just. This mirrors the global West – South disparity to an extent. No wonder given the intensity of turmoil suffered from colonialism. Impacts of which continue to be felt today, several centuries on, as archaic, externally-imposed regulations continue to live on.
Somewhat understandably, imperialism and its effects reflect significantly on scoring. Of the nine nations that scored 80 or above in 2020, only two (New Zealand and Singapore) lie outside Europe. A large contrast to the rest of the globe, then, as the average score internationally is 43. Within Western Europe, Scandinavia dominated the scale with Denmark, Finland and Sweden in the top four. The UK, similarly, sits comfortably in position eleven where it steadily rose to since 2012, Belgium fifteenth and Iceland seventeenth.
Drifting in the opposite direction, America has slipped to position twenty-five, though given the current political climate, it is expected. In the middle of the pack are the new economic powerhouses of India and China (86 and 78 respectively), and in the bottom third of countries globally, Russia, featuring dictator Vladimir Putin (129).
Further down though are Iran (149), Chad (160), North Korea (170) and Somalia (179), countries faced with dictatorship, the effects of colonialism and/or civil wars. Which, following COVID-19, has only amplified issues as access to healthcare is persistently scarce for those outside of the elite. Issues that protests and campaigns have done little to change over the past decade, albeit, public optimism to ‘making a difference’ still remains high.
Transparency International continue to recommend oversight institutions, transparent contracting and free access to information, but a lack of practical action makes it just words as countries stay stagnant despite a few notable exceptions (Greece and Myanmar being the most-improved nations since 2012). Therefore, there is a long way to go in instigating steadfast change.