August 18th, 2011
08:45 AM GMT
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(CNN) – With people in the streets of India in support of graft-buster Anna Hazare, where does India rank among the world’s major economies in terms of corruption?

Moreover, is there a correlation between strong economies and good transparency?

Depends where you look. Comparing the world’s 10 largest economies against their rankings in the 2010 Transparency International corruption perceptions index, here’s how they stack up:

1)      U.S. – 22 (out of 178 nations)

2)      China – 78

3)      Japan – 17

4)      Germany – 15

5)      France –25

6)      UK –   20

7)      Brazil – 69

8)      Italy –  67

9)      Canada – 6

10)   India – 87

Only Canada, the ninth largest economy, ranks in the top 10 in terms of transparency among 178 nations listed on the corruption perceptions index, with an 8.9 score on a scale of 10 (very clean) to 0 (highly corrupt). Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore tied for the top spot with a 9.3 score.

At the basement for global transparency are Somalia, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The index measures nations based on perceptions of public sector corruption. As Transparency International explains, corruption “is to a great extent a hidden activity that is difficult to measure.”

India registered among countries reporting the highest petty bribery levels, according to the 2010 Global Corruption Barometer also released by Transparency International, with 54% of respondents reporting paying bribes to a service provider in the last year.

The barometer surveyed more than 91,500 people in 86 countries and territories and found that, worldwide, political parties are judged to be the sector most affected by corruption. Such is the case with all 10 of the world’s largest economies except Communist-ruled China, where business and the private sector ranked as the most corrupt sector, according to the barometer.

According to the World Bank, corruption poses among the greatest obstacles to economic and social development, weakening laws and institutions, with the poor bearing the brunt of the consequences. Trace International, a non-profit group that helps companies fight bribery, says the cost of corruption extends beyond money, noting consequences from water shortages and unsafe medicines to exploitative work conditions and poor construction.

But if estimates are correct, the world’s top 10 economies will soon have a new best worst nation: Russia is expected to overtake India and Canada to become the ninth largest economy this year and ranks 154th of 178 nations on the corruption perception index – alongside Cambodia, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo-Brazzaville, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Laos, Papua New Guinea and Tajikistan. Only 15 nations rank worse.

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soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Prakash Mehta

    Corruption is defined differently in developing and underdeveloping countries and developed contries. In dedveloping and under developed countries corruption is open and wide spread. Common people are affected. In the developed countries corruption is hidden. In US most politician are lined to lobby. Budgetory process involves very high lobby efforts. Pentagone budget cannot be touched. It is protected by all defence contractors. This hidden corruption cost tax payer very heavily most tax payers do not realized. This hidden corruption is very large

    August 18, 2011 at 9:38 am |
  2. Frank

    I am not surprised that Russia or China is so corrupt, who would want to live in such evil places? Yes, evil compared to the United States, where one is free to speak one's mind and you don't have to pay off some slob to get rid of a parking ticket.

    August 18, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  3. Yue Li

    You did not mention that the Singapore regime expressively said that they pay themselves the highest public service salaries in the world TO DETER THEMSELVES FROM GETTING CORRUPT.

    The PM of Singapore is paid nearly ten times as much as President Obama. So are everyone in the Cabinet paid nearly ten times as much as those of the US cabinet.

    Even top Civil Servants are paid nearly ten time as as much.

    August 18, 2011 at 11:01 am |
  4. Marc

    The US government General Services Administration which hands out federal contracts... yeah like cheeseburgers in Iraq on paper plates for USD 60 bucks... has robbed trillions in the last 30-40 years... they then become contract procurement officers at private firms when they retire that deal with GSA. We also made political bribery legal... "political donations" to House and Senate. America is solid broke from corruption at every corner of government and power. We simply use nice words and play semantics... like "political donation" and "no-bid contract". We have no money because of corruption... just like Argentina and no different.

    August 18, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  5. Marc

    DC bureaucrats live in million dollar McMansions and no one asks questions? Why is America broke? CORRUPTION. We give billions in aid to foreign countries a year so the aid can be used as leverage for US businesses to gain access – spending more than that access returns in taxes... of course its tax payer money... so who cares! Meanwhile there are tent cities in Detroit and people get angry when someone feeds a homeless person.Oh hey... no money in the budget they say.. Americans should tough it up and take care of themselves. I want the tax money I pay for to take care of my own country and not be used for BS. Americans probably get the least returns in terms of services for the amount of income taxes that they have paid. And now we are not even guaranteed those services. So... hey DC.. where did the money go? Oh.. military contracts... USAID 3rd world bribery... please tell me?

    August 18, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  6. Chowdhury

    "....54% of respondents reporting paying bribes to a service provider in the last year."...and in Bangladesh, that would be 100%

    August 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  7. MamaBoats

    Marc, you are so right. The only reason that the United States is not rated higher is that we have laws allowing them to be corrupt. They don't need to go undercover, they do it right out in the open...deregulation, bailouts...oh yeah....

    August 18, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  8. yay

    Canada wins again!

    August 18, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  9. AP

    Corruption is rampant all over the globe. Overlooking neglect is a form of corruption. It happens every day on every street in every city in the world. White collar crime costs about 300% more than street crime globally. It receives about 1/20 of the media coverage, too. I think it is far to say that human nature is corrupt. We live in a sad, sad world.

    August 18, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  10. Bill

    If you are looking for a correlation between 'strong economies' and less corruption you should consider per-capita income. The largest economies aren't necessarily the strongest or healthiest ones, population size is also a big factor. In general the wealthiest countries per capita tend to have the lowest corruption indices.

    August 18, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  11. James

    I strongly believe that the next generation government should be Small in size, enough only to conduct basic administrative requirements, the remaining authority should be given to the people. Big government causes corruption and produces the sheeple

    August 18, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  12. Paul Johnston, PhD Economics

    The world & EU is in a mess because of GREEK PROBLEM and it is taking the whole world & Euro Zone down with them. Get rid of the Greek Problem and expel them from the EU immediately or you're all doomed!

    August 18, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  13. Oxana Dubovik

    Sorry to hear my country (Russia) is so corrupt.

    August 18, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  14. Oxana Dubovik


    Your not very clever.

    August 18, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  15. Dustan Jones

    The top economies are legally corrupt and the best at disguising it, this metric shows old 19th century corruption, modern corruption is far more systemic and terrifying.

    August 18, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  16. usapanda

    Transparency International, what a joke in itself.

    August 18, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  17. Havildar

    Corruption in the USA takes different forms. Example the Jails are filled with the poor and the rich thanks to the corruption of the legal system manage to get off very lightly and get pardoned with the right amount of cash to right wing. The Political system is corrupted by the amount of money spent openly with no limits thanks to 5 corrupt Supreme Court Judges.etc.etc. So in short the US is no different than Russia, China Iraq, Afghanistan or any of the developing countries. Business in the US have the Freedom to be corrupt (legally) and underpay their overworked Staff while all the Perks and overpayment goes to their upper management CEO's etc. Slave labor is alive in the USA.

    August 18, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  18. Andrew

    where the issue gets sticky is when the line between corruption and transparency blur. For example, the ruling a few years ago that corporations in America have the same rights as people, and therefore can basically donate unlimited funds to politicians. If it's legal, it's technically transparent, but I would argue it is no less corrupt.

    August 18, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  19. Kyle H. Davis

    Gotta' cry foul on this one. Chinese corruption dwarfs anything in the US, to the nth degree. The only difference is that, in China, many of the things that the west considers corruption, is widely accepted. It is a commonly accepted part of the culture to pay for, and accept money, for everything from where you go to school, where you live, where you work... it is just commonplace here.

    I can say, after spending a decade in China, that if their perceptions of corruption were the same as the west, China would rank 100 times higher than the US.

    August 18, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  20. coder

    is there a lobbyist for the corruption board?
    I mean is there a group out there licensed to buy votes for transparency?
    To my knowledge – the united states of corporate america doesnt give a hoot about its slave labor tax force
    While I pay 36% in tax and barely able to feed, house and fuel myself for the next daily taxing
    I'm waiting on a tax for breathing and still wondering if the rich will ever pay an equal percentage as I do
    I know politicians will never have concern for me – because they work for the 'job creators'
    I know the president is not concerned for me – because he's too busy fighting congress, to keep them from destroying this country

    So I pay tax to be born – I pay tax to live everyday – I pay tax just to be allowed to die, when 'they' say its okay for me to die -- Why exactly am i here – seems to me that the government thinks I'm only here to pay taxes so that they can spend it on themselves

    August 18, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  21. Andy

    Interesting list... though raises some questions. Is the rating adjusted by the population of the country and number of bureaucratic bodies or number of government employees. It is not surprising that countries like Singapore and New Zealand top the list. Their entire population would be smaller than the number of people employed by central and state governments in India or China. Fewer people lesser corruption – kinda sounds logical. Ideally a list like this would need have a weightage for the population, size and scale of governance and therefore also people employed by the govt.

    August 18, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  22. Marc

    US law allows US companies operating overseas to bribe foreign customs officers.... the call it "expediting fee". Then we send anti-corruption specialists... from a private consulting firm on USAID contract – inflated of course in cost by probably 60% to tell that same country how to be less corrupt. I love the semantics regarding corrupt practices made legal in America. The US congress is a sewer and 70% or more of Americans agree.

    August 18, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  23. kevin3g

    The US simply legalized bribery and calls it lobbying, campaign contributions and corporate personhood. No other country in the world has its legislators and judges blatently up for sale to the highest bidder like the US has. The US is SO corrupt, in fact, that its legislators have been paid off to legalize it, much to their delight as the fatten themselves on corporate money while drawing a salary from the public purse. All the time, they have industry write the laws and exempt corporations from taxation. Disgusting.

    August 18, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
  24. Ravian

    Corruption, it must be the most acute expression of our Ego out of all crimes!
    The willingness to take bribes from people who have nothing, when you are a person who is supposed to be respected, and in a position of trust, must be amongst the dirtiest deeds one can perform.

    This report is a very clear indicator that countries that are supposed to have the most "free" and civilized societies on the planet including America, Germany and the UK, are amongst the worst when it comes to corruption, proving that we cannot measure civility by the traditional yardstick, and Freedom is definitely not what we are lead to believe it to be.

    What is Freedom? Against what can we truly measure a society's standing?

    If we have been lead to believe that our prime examples of a Free society are ones like America and Europe, then what are we, as a Humanity, aiming for? Are we completely off the mark in our social goals? Where are we going?

    I feel that we can only measure the success of a society by the level of unification of all the individuals within that society. The more united a group of people, the less crime, less hatred and less corruption you will find within that society.

    How do we achieve this "unity"?

    Well, first we need to look at our own Ego's and see how we, as individual's treat the people around us, and not just our family, friends, college's, but the strangers, the people on the bus next to me, the people on the street walking past. Do I feel connected to them? I not, what can I do to become connected to them, to feel unified with them?

    Only when we start truly worrying about the unity and connection between all of us, can our society really start evolving.

    August 19, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  25. Naomi

    Business flourish only on transparency and fairness. Corruption increases regression and the number of slaves. Where are the Puritan Americans now?

    August 20, 2011 at 5:16 am |
  26. Naomi

    Testing again. USA needs true Americans now.

    August 20, 2011 at 5:16 am |
  27. Naomi

    What was good for increasing the wealth? More corruption, more human slavery and more pollution of the entire planet. It was better for the creation world when this pest-like mankind had no wealth.

    August 20, 2011 at 5:19 am |
  28. Naomi

    At this rate, global economy will end up making mankind eat its own garbages. Where are the fresh water and fresh ingredients? The planet must be able to recover from this mankind's damage. The reason there is the Judgment Day. The financial collapse has been prophesied in the Bible as well. If we were not that greedy and clever, we could all have grown our own wheat and eat it and live peacefully. An impossible dream with the present mankind.

    August 20, 2011 at 5:23 am |
  29. Carl van Zijll de Jong

    Whether you steal a billion (inflation), or 1 cent... you are still a thief. The same principle applies to being corrupt.
    In order to make corruption regarding our money activities is by changing the monetary system.
    Please read the blog below for your information:

    August 22, 2011 at 2:37 am |
  30. Henrique

    We should create the International Day Against Corruption.

    August 25, 2011 at 2:43 pm |

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