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Matt Rosenberg

Most and Least Corrupt Countries of 2012

By December 11, 2012

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New Zealand FlagThe organization Transparency International has issued their annual listing of the least and most corrupt countries on Earth. From their report, "corruption is a major threat facing humanity. Corruption destroys lives and communities, and undermines countries and institutions. It generates popular anger that threatens to further destabilize societies and exacerbate violent conflicts." Their ranking includes only 176 of the world's 196 countries, leaving most small Pacific Ocean island countries off the list.  Their ranking of the five least corrupt countries are:

1) Denmark
1) Finland
1) New Zealand
4) Sweden
5) Singapore

The following five countries are the most corrupt, according to the ranking of Transparency International:

174) North Korea
174) Somalia
174) Afghanistan
173) Sudan
171) Myanmar


December 17, 2012 at 7:27 am
(1) wasim says:

No country from europe in the list of most corrupted & three from the same continent as the least corrupted , an exemplary continent.

December 17, 2012 at 11:16 am
(2) Gene Modin says:

Would this be a good guideline for politicians to qualify. I am speaking for the United States. As long as the United States remains in the top five, any politician can be reelected. If the United States falls below, any politician up for reelection is eliminated.

December 23, 2012 at 12:49 am
(3) GVK Unnithan says:

I think it is a very sensible analysis. In case of India and some other countries where I have personnel experience, it seems to be a very accurate estimate. in India, i dont think the Military is that corrupt as Indicated. It is true that the political parties are the worst.

February 20, 2013 at 11:08 pm
(4) P Smith says:

The 30 least corrupt counties have at least three of these traits:

(1) secular, religion is NOT dominant in society
(2) a democracy
(3) a small or sparse population
(4) a geographically small country

When there is little or no religion to rationalize crime and there is a system of accountability for one’s actions, crime is much harder to commit. And when it is easier to notice crime, a criminal less able to hide in the crowd so to speak, noticing and reporting it is easier.

The 70 most corrupt counties have at least three of these traits:

(1) VERY religious or ideologically driven
(2) weak democracy or dictatorship
(3) a dense population
(4) a geographically large country

I don’t care whether or not people are “offended” by mention of religion as a cause of corruption, it’s relevant to the discussion. The religiosity of countries near perfectly matches the rankings of least and most corrupt.

Those tempted to say “North Korea!” need to learn that religion is as much an ideology as communism. Their goals and arguments are the same, the acquisition of power and wealth. When one can rationalize one’s actions no matter how deplorable (e.g. “I can pray and be forgiven!”) corruption becomes much easier.

March 22, 2013 at 5:21 am
(5) Joker says:

Singapore isn’t known as Switzerland of Asia for no reason .. corruption, democracy, justice, meritocracy .. all just a play of words .. wake up and smell the roses ..

May 3, 2013 at 11:07 am
(6) A Gongopadhyay says:

Thank God India is not there in either list.
Good to know the most and the least corrupt countries in the world.

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