November 3rd, 2011
06:10 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Have you ever been shaken down for a red envelope in China or hit up for a deal "sweetener" in Russia?

Companies from these countries are most likely to engage in bribery, according to a survey released on Wednesday by corruption watchdog Transparency International.

The two countries received the lowest scores on the 2011 Bribe Payers Index, which ranked the top 28 largest economies according to the likelihood of companies headquartered in these countries practicing bribery.  The scores were based on a survey of the perceptions of 3,016 business executives across 30 countries who had business dealings in those top 28 economies.

China and Russia were the only companies that scored below 7 on a scale of 10, with scores of 6.5 and 6.1, respectively. Companies based in the Netherlands and Switzerland tied for first place with scores of 8.8, with Belgium, Germany, and Japan rounding out the top five.

Rank                Country                        Score

Top 5

1 (tie)               Netherlands                  8.8

1 (tie)               Switzerland                   8.8

3                      Belgium                        8.7

4 (tie)               Germany                      8.6

4 (tie)               Japan                           8.6

Bottom 5

23 (tie)             Argentina                      7.3

23 (tie)             UAE                            7.3

25                    Indonesia                      7.1

26                    Mexico                         7.0

27                    China                           6.5

28                    Russia                          6.1

The report said Russia’s poor score was “not of any surprise since Russia in general is still struggling to find the proper way to confront systemic corruption.  It would be strange to expect business to do better than public office does.”  At the same time, it expressed hope for the strict enforcement of national anti-corruption legislation passed in May that criminalized foreign bribery and introduced monetary sanctions for companies and individuals.

Similarly for China, the report said there were “tremendous challenges ahead and bottlenecks that need to be cleared,” but noted an amendment of the Chinese penal code in May that criminalized bribery of foreign government officials and authorized detention of implicated companies and individuals.

Corruption is the biggest threat to developing economies

The survey also ranked the business sectors in which bribery was perceived most likely to be used.  Public works and construction were reported to be the rifest with bribery, whereas agricultural and light manufacturing were the sectors perceived as the cleanest.

The report noted that “there is no country among the 28 major economics whose companies are perceived to be wholly clean and do not engage in bribery. ” As well, the scores on average have not significantly improved since the last Bribe Payers Index, which was compiled in 2008.  Of the 28 countries ranked this year, 22 were also ranked in the 2008 edition.  The average score of these 22 countries increased only 0.1 points to 7.9 in the latest edition.

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Filed under: Business

soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. lolrates

    notice how America is neither on there nor mentioned in this article... hmmm, I wonder why?

    November 3, 2011 at 6:47 am |
  2. HZ

    it's hard to believe that china is more corrupt than mexico.....
    business in china at least doesn't need to concern about their daily lives, no worry to beheaded or hang on the bridge...
    also for Indonesia, isn't it the country that commits genocide every few years?

    November 3, 2011 at 7:12 am |
  3. Crater

    lolrates - It is not in the top or bottom 5, but it is certainly on the full list (ranked #10 out of the 28 countries surveyed). Are you still wondering why?

    November 3, 2011 at 7:17 am |
  4. dsfjh

    saujn lfedfpo asdufiou aOSEUUF ['PWOEUT ' rpo

    November 3, 2011 at 7:23 am |
  5. Chukwudi muogbo

    I need to do business with china

    November 3, 2011 at 7:38 am |
  6. cozcoz0


    I'm Indonesian and I'm seriously offended by what you're saying. You really paints a bad picture of stereotypical ignorant redneck. Please think before you write next time and try to be more informed.

    November 3, 2011 at 7:42 am |
  7. jerry

    a good research should be done in the african countries too. too much corruption down here and its done to poor people.

    November 3, 2011 at 7:47 am |
  8. PraveenIndia

    How come India is not on the list?

    November 3, 2011 at 7:48 am |
  9. Abu Bakr Sadeeq Muhammad Abbah

    hmmmmmmm..... Weda Netherlands o Russia al w knw s Honesty is d bes policy n 4eba it shal b.......!

    November 3, 2011 at 7:49 am |
  10. krg

    @lolrates- 10 out of 28.

    November 3, 2011 at 7:56 am |
  11. rick

    Imagine a country run like the Sopranos, and that is Russia. It is a mafia state.

    November 3, 2011 at 7:57 am |
  12. srn

    India should be there on the list. Maybe not the top but in top 5 (corrupt) for sure.

    November 3, 2011 at 8:01 am |
  13. Jamy

    India is honestly corrupted and the best policy is corruption but not shortlisted. Why?

    November 3, 2011 at 8:06 am |
  14. PraveenIndia

    I guess India and Pakistan were not assessed.

    November 3, 2011 at 8:27 am |
  15. inside news

    Just pay Bribe Payers Index to not list your countries....

    November 3, 2011 at 8:34 am |
  16. inside news

    the list is very outdated. I don't believe hong kong is on 15 with the rest of 15 countries. If you see history hong kong have clean up real nice. It is big crime in hong kong to bribe nowasday

    November 3, 2011 at 8:36 am |
  17. Will

    multinational cooparations especially those in mining, construction, exploration industry bribe to seek favours on contract project in most africa and developing countries

    November 3, 2011 at 8:57 am |
  18. Transparency International.

    This is not the corruption index. This is just for bribery. CNN is very misleading. They also survey white businessmen with many biases, so the index is only an opinion. This is also only a list for 28 economies. The complete corruption index lists more than a hundred countries. The 2010 corruption index says Singapore is the least corrupt, and you have to consider population into the picture. Small countries are easy to manage, whereas large countries like China are difficult to manage.

    November 3, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  19. Robert G

    As long as the Russian people don't stand up against the ruling autocratic, corrupt, olicharchic clan lead by Putin, nothing will change there.
    So it's time for a Russian spring

    November 3, 2011 at 9:11 am |
  20. Francis Ero

    I realize that Transparency International looked at, "..the top 28 largest economies according to the likelihood of companies headquartered in these countries practicing bribery. The scores were based on a survey of the perceptions of 3,016 business executives across 30 countries who had business dealings in those top 28 economies."

    How did Switzerland score high? What a convenient definition of corruption. My perspective is that when the biggest thieves who double as heads of states in developing economies stash away their stolen wealth in Switzerland's banks, that must be corruption. In my part of the world that is a definition of an accomplice; one who facilitates and is complicit in the committing of a crime. People still get thrown in jail for possession of stolen property!

    November 3, 2011 at 9:21 am |
  21. dan

    how comes Nigeria n India r not here

    November 3, 2011 at 9:48 am |
  22. rec angelo

    For me the most corrupt countries are USA,Britain,switzerland.
    They aid the leaders developing economies to loot their people n stash it away in their banks, getting this monies back is also a hecculian tax.

    November 3, 2011 at 10:05 am |
  23. gliese42

    I wonder what is the position of America in the world of corruption

    November 3, 2011 at 10:13 am |
  24. ahoy

    Maybe some countries are not listed because they bribed themselves out of research being done? lol

    November 3, 2011 at 10:23 am |
  25. Okwy Omenye

    Nigeria must have paid the equivelent of our annual budget to escape the worst place this time. Corruption is an indigine of Nigeria,

    November 3, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  26. daniel

    china remain the best country in the world to do bussiness.

    November 3, 2011 at 10:32 am |
  27. Julian

    This is why everybody should do business with the Dutch!

    November 3, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  28. Hiru_KSA

    The Transparency International is itself being bribed not to include the countries like America, India..etc etc..a pack of lies being read by a pack of donkeys and red-necks..

    November 3, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  29. Michael Brooks

    I am an American living in Denmark, which is always at the top of Transparency International's list of clean countries, and I speak from personal experience...."It Ain't True!"..This country, Denmark, has to be one of the most corrupt in the world. Police who deal narcotics and protect narcotics dealers for bribes, Politicians who make bogus police cases against their political enemies, National work contracts awarded exclusively to friends of the ruling regime, dissenters and whistle blowers are persecuted by all levels of the all pervasive governemnt. Yeah...don't believe the hype...the best are as good as we think, and the worse aren't as bad as we think.

    November 3, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  30. ase

    what about sri lanka ????? correption from the top to the bottem, most are the ministers and the other politicos, who cares even euro countries offer open bribery to get contracts eg. siemens, so where to start and where to end ????

    November 3, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  31. christy ohams

    God help we the lesprivilage

    November 3, 2011 at 11:23 am |
  32. Joyce Nyakato

    Not that i dnt love ma i am surprised that Uganda is nt there

    November 3, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  33. Lucke

    Corruption exists because of greed, wealthy unbalance and ignorance (lack of appropriate education). Corruption usually benefits those who have more than those who have less. The worst corruption case is the one done “at high level” – among governments: it is much cheaper to conquer a country by corruption than by war, though this last option sometimes happens. That’s why govs do no like to publish wrongdoing from his local companies. Have done so, like wikileaks did, many heads would fall down… So, if things go morally bad on the top, same going down should be easy.

    Politicians like their voters as meek and as ignorant as possible. It simple keeps the “status quo” hopping his “favorable” situation last as long as possible. If someone is to start complaining it should be aware of the option something can be different. So, that’s why I stick with education. Of course education to me is not the same as to teach Bible, Koran or else… Education should span horizons, not narrow mental states...

    November 3, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  34. Tiger2

    How the heck did the US not make the list? Oh, I know, we legalized our corruption and gave it a pretty name like Lobbying or Advocacy on behalf of my client.

    November 3, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  35. Uncle Lim

    Only 28 countries in the list ? I don't know how represented the list were.
    There’re many corrupted governments are friends of the West and always get rid of thanks to the nice PR and the media preference.

    November 3, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  36. graciebrown

    U.S ranks 10th in Foreign Bribery Index among 28 big economies

    November 3, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  37. EastPark

    Wall Street calls it capitalism.

    November 3, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
  38. tutuvabene

    So, why no mention of the US?

    November 3, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
  39. mr774

    China and Russia, both contry has and had history ruled by communist party.

    November 3, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  40. read

    did anyone asking about countries other than the top and bottom 5 actually read the article or click on the link to see the list? what happened to reading comprehension?

    November 3, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  41. Lauro Silva Brazil

    Unreliable list leaving out the champion Brazil, paradise of corruption and impunity.

    November 3, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  42. ignaciozz

    The report has pretty much no relationship with CNN's coverage. Here goes the first paragraph: "This report presents the fifth Transparency International Bribe Payers Index. The index ranks 28 of the world’s largest economies according to the perceived likelihood of ***companies from these countries to pay bribes abroad***."

    November 3, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  43. t3 the third

    Indonesians don't commit genocide every few years. Although our government is extremely corrupt and you can just pay a policeman a dollar (Rp. 10 000) to let you off the hook, so it's no surprise that Indonesia's at the bottom (also most businesses in Indonesia are founded or run by Chinese people.

    November 3, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  44. Oghenovo

    I would be suprised if Nigeria was on that list and I'm truly suprised by those that think it should be there or have bribed their way out. For crying out loud, you cant judge a someone, organization or country because of a handfull of few individuals...

    November 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  45. mazer

    I also like how America isnt mentioned. Also know people who were born, lived, and visited China and they've told me that its customary to give envelopes of money when doing a whole slew of activities. They equated it to a gratuity.

    November 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm |

    I believe Alexis Lai got it totally need to come to Africa with countries like Nigeria etc should be ranked as the most corrupt nation in the world

    November 3, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  47. Pinoy

    Why my country is not on the list? – philippines.....

    November 3, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  48. Jake Mathers

    Name some NAMES. Its shady not to print the names of the corrupt cnn. A very detailed follow up story with the names of the corrupt offices and officials would make a great website. We'er going to shine some light on all of you and make you all famous. There is no room in the world for this anymore. List of the corrupt COMING SOON! Be sure to look for yourself!

    November 3, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  49. victor

    where is italy???...this list is fake....

    November 3, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  50. Jim456

    This is BS

    November 3, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  51. moses

    Dis is nonsens come to nigeria where corruption has weir shoes politician are corrupt.

    November 3, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  52. Kevin McNulty

    Folks, ALL countries are listed. Follow the link '2011 Bribe Payers Index'. The US places 10th, below Australia, Canada, Singapore, UK and above France, Spain, S. Korea. A respectable showing.

    November 3, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  53. Kyle H. Davis

    Finally, a survey in which OUTSIDE perspective is used. Far too often we see these types of "corruption surveys" that rely on internal statistics. When ranking, globally, based on internal statistics and on internal perceptions of what is corrupt or not... the results are ALWAYS skewed. This is how you constantly end up with places like China ranking as less corrupt than the US, UK or Canada.

    People in those countries (US/UK/Canada) might rank themselves based on how often they see corruption used in daily life. However, what do they consider being corrupt? Bribing for a job position? Bribing for what school you will be accepted to? Bribing for where you want your home to be? Bribing for better health care?

    When those bribes are commonly accepted in places like China, their perceptions of what is corrupt are not the same.

    November 3, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  54. Kevin McNulty

    Sorry, I meant ALL 28 countries mentioned in the article.

    November 3, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  55. Ajay

    I wonder why India is not on the list. I have lived in 7 countries across 4 continents and I honestly feel India is indeed the most corrupt nation of them all.

    November 3, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  56. Peter Briody

    Transparency's results are notoriously unreliable because it bases its assessments on remote derivatives. And it does so at the wrong level. Most of the damage occurs at lower level where corruption and nepotism are strongest.

    Transparency International is a German invention. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that Germany should end up in the top five. The founder was awarded a prestigious "gong" for his work, by the German Government in recent years.. Does anybody seriously think that this honor would have been bestowed on anyone who has "fouled the nest" with a deservedly critical assessment. Come again folks. You might just as well have asked Lucky Luciano to head the Anti-Narcotics Commission.

    November 3, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  57. Aluta Principal

    People say "Nigeria is a corrupt Nation" and most of the international countries claim that NIGERIANS are corrupted. the truth of the matter is hat, American, economically frustrated us and African are paying them back. we are all corupted

    November 3, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  58. messup

    In china, if one can get connections (as close to central committee as possible)chances are any project will have a better than 70% rate of approval...of course, necessary "fees" will have to be distributed.It was this way in Shenzen and Chongquing. Guanzhou was chaotic...rife with four-flushers and charlatans.

    Brazil: 60% of judges are corrupt. Corrupt lawyers, doctors, engineers. Entertainers worst of all. Payouts for any building project has to include expenses for "extras,"i.e., graft and corruption. Then there is extortion of any business by government bureaucrats able to suspend or shut down any business any time. Don't know how people manage in such a negative environment. Truly amazing place.

    Argentina, Geeez! Guianas (all of them)! And Colombia? Cocaine capital! Paraguay is Latin America's host country for every falsified consumer product on this earth. The list is incomplete, alas!

    November 3, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
  59. animesh goswami

    Here's how it shook down.
    Our business office in India promised cash and a plush Cancun' vacation to this survey's lead if India's name were to struck off the top 5. The Russians didn't do that as they didn't see a payoff.

    November 3, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
  60. Eduardo Gonzalez

    Remember the USSR, prior to the 1991 suicide knockout, you know were it stood in the most corruptible countries list

    November 3, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
  61. Jan

    If surveys like these are to be taken academically serious, the researchers should have abilities to count the top 28 economies and dare to evaluate states like India and USA (if not the US debt makes the latter insolvent)

    November 4, 2011 at 12:20 am |
  62. Ovwodorume omo

    Nearly every nation of the world are corrupt

    November 4, 2011 at 1:43 am |
  63. peter osayande

    "The meek shall inherit the Earth"... We should all strive to be honest, or we will self destruct and lose our inheritance which are living forever, love, peace, no hunger, sickness or poverty. God has given us the free will so the power is our hands. Say no to corruption in every aspect of our personal lives guarrantee"s us participation in God's kingdom time. Innocence and honesty. Ask God to guide you to be honest, do what is right "b4 God" in your relationship with every Man, Woman and Child. "If I see one who is righteous to fill the gap I will heal your land and you shall eat of the fruit of the land"...

    November 4, 2011 at 7:28 am |

    Many people are not getting what the article is measuring here or what it says, it simply measuring top 28 best countries that are safe for business. Thank you

    November 4, 2011 at 8:06 am |
  65. Bulli Singh

    Corruption ! Corruption ! Corruption ! Corruption ! Corruption! Today on this planet each and every country is corrupted, some on Low Level and Some on High Level. MY name is Bulli and you now I am not corrupted

    November 4, 2011 at 10:26 am |
  66. Roland

    Shouldn't the headline be more like all countries are corrupt but some a little bit more then others? The top two scoring 8.8 out of a possible 10 is not a good score at all.It means that in 22% of your business dealings you will be confronted with some corrupt official wanting some cash on the side.While in Russia it happens in 39% of your business dealings which is worse but not all that much worse.

    November 4, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  67. Roland

    errr...i mean in 12%...of your business dealings...but anyway ppl get the point.No country is corruption free.

    November 4, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  68. Bulli Singh

    I am completely OK with ROLAND !!!!

    November 4, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  69. Ryan

    I would like to see a definition of bribery for this study. What one country considers bribery, another country might consider charitable contributions to politically motivated organizations. Is this a study about who is most corrupt or who is better at hiding corruption?

    November 4, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  70. Ed

    If you bothered to glance at the report, the US is listed 10th.

    November 6, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  71. marcus

    They forgot New Mexico!

    November 9, 2011 at 1:16 am |
  72. Paltam

    This cant be right. India should be given this accolade. I am Indian and know what corruption is; in the legal system, judiciary, police, corporate circles and most of all our politicians. Bill Gates is a poor man compared to some of our politicians.

    November 9, 2011 at 5:27 am |
  73. Sigmoid: Fraud

    For those wondering (sneeringly) why the US isn't there (they were #10 out of 28, as stated above) and Mexico or Indonesia either, I'd like to point out a sentence from the above article:

    The two countries received the lowest scores on the 2011 Bribe Payers Index, which ranked the top 28 largest economies according to the likelihood of companies headquartered in these countries practicing bribery.

    What are the chances that Mexico, Indonesia, parts of Africa, Mongolia, Macedonia, Leichtenstein, Uzbekistan, or any number of other countries aren't on that list because they're not in the top 28 economies in the world?

    My guess would be "slightly better than average" (for those who have a taste for sardonic understatement).

    November 9, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  74. US Bribes China by Handing Them Assets

    You don't have to bribe people in China to enter their marketplace. You just have to sell them an asset at a mere 1.5x multiple to skirt U.S. Foreign Bribery laws... like IBM did with PC COMPANY (Lenovo). Notice the U.S. Justice department did nothing about this bribe... and they never will... so U.S. should top the #1 spot.

    November 10, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  75. observer215

    I'd put Adams County, Colorado near the bottom of the list if local governments could be included. Want a contract? Contact anyone on their leadership team and make an offer.

    November 11, 2011 at 12:04 am |
  76. 308man

    America is the best country on earth. Also doing the majority of economic transactions. The Netherlands would have an ebay score of 8

    November 11, 2011 at 9:18 am |
  77. Lib and Proud

    The USA ranked 10th with a score of 8.1.

    November 11, 2011 at 11:06 am |
  78. Chris

    As Ryan said above, it's a matter of definition and perspective. I can't see the distinction between bribery and a large
    campaign contribution, myself. Maybe I should ask someone in the U.S. Congress...? :)

    November 11, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  79. Guest

    Guys, please don't be naiive. While Russia and China did place last, they're in actuality not too much less corrupt than many if not most western countries. The only difference is you don't see that kind of behaviour there, but believe me, like Michael Brooke (above) wrote, it's there and there is A LOT of it. It actually might in some cases be worse than in Russia and China.

    Also, if this was ranking most of the countries on planet earth, in terms of open corruption, Ukraine would be near the very bottom with Zimbabwe likely dead last. The reason why I mention Ukraine is because it's one of the poorest, if not the most corrupt country in Europe where the difference between the standard of living in say Germany which is less than the distance of Chicago to Philadelphia away, is day and night. Gangs and political factions own that country and aren't afraid to show it, and there are few in that country that don't know it.

    November 12, 2011 at 11:26 am |
  80. Claudio (Italy)

    It's interesting to read how many describe their own country as the "worst". May be we see our defects with a closer detail

    November 13, 2011 at 7:41 am |
  81. anaci paulina

    Indonesia should be in first list,, (i,am Indonesian) .. Yes, The goverment should do fact they are the most corrupt people on earth.LOL

    November 13, 2011 at 7:58 am |
  82. Former russian citizen

    There is russian saying that fish rotes from it's head. The current regime could not care less as long as they stay in power & continue to enrich themselves.

    November 16, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  83. Just Saying

    It would help if the article explained what the score really is. The article says one thing and the tables says another.

    November 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  84. Jake

    How can certain countries in Africa be left off this list? It's mildly racist to simply ignore an entire continent where corruption is extremely rampant. Does Africa not count on your list of "most corrupt places to do business" because you wouldn't do business there in the first place?

    November 18, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  85. jubilirao

    As long as countries compete for business there will be corruption and is more prevalent in communist and dictator countries than capitalist economies

    November 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
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    November 21, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  87. Guest

    This seems totally misinformed by merely addressing the alleged "28 largest economies." Have you any idea what ALL FOREIGN business located in sub saharan Africa requires in bribery terms of paying "dash" to do business? It is a huge unavoidable side business engaged in by the corrupt locals and the also corrupt Fortune 100. The locals make millions and the Fortune 100 claim to the US IRS they are paying insane tax rates of which they actually pay only a small percentage of dash to reap $billions of oil money. Now what company begins with EX..?

    November 28, 2011 at 1:10 am |
  88. Vadim

    I know that in Russia do not exist place for resolving disputes, court.
    So small part of people of Russia have unlimited rights.
    Everybody can be arrested, killed etc.
    "Pseudo" country.

    November 29, 2011 at 8:36 am |
  89. Dwayne

    Evidently Afghanistan wasn't considered in this study. It blows every country out of the water when it comes to bribes.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  90. The Netherlands is super corrupt, they just disguise it well

    As a foreigner living in the Netherlands for several years I have personally discovered corruption operating at icompanies, insurance companies, lawyers, doctors and even medical commissions set up to adjudicate corruption of doctors! There is simply a Dutch tradition of smiling with a straight face and pretending nothing 'bad' has happened which foreigners repeatedly fall for until they have lived here for a number of years. But what even exceeds the corruption here is EXTORTION... all kinds of fake invoices from companies (energy, insurance, lawyers, hospitals) etc accompanied by repeated and colourful threats as to what will happen to you if you do not pay their fake invoices.

    December 1, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  91. Peter

    I find the approach of these assessments inadequate and limiting the scope to "in-group morality" i.e. the ancient and barbaric (although labelled civilized) practice of keeping things clean for the locals with limited concern for outsider groups. Tax havens like Switzerland, Cayman Islands, Liechtenstein and other "private banking" economies are criminal if they consciously support systems that allow storage and transit of corrupt funds in secret (by creating coercions i.e. laws that allow anonymity of sources, prevention of public disclosure, prolonged due process for investigations but rapid acceptance of fund inflow etc.). It's also interesting when a society is built on benefiting from corruption in other societies: the society is naturally corrupt at the core. Thieves will be nice amongst themselves to keep things in "order".

    October 25, 2012 at 9:22 am |

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