Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Land of the Free ... but Not Transparent

The United States may be a beacon of freedom and capitalism -- the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, and all that -- but it ranks as only #17 on an index of the least corrupt countries. That means only 16 countries are considered less corrupt than the USA: #1 on the index (Finland) is least corrupt, while #146 needs some serious intervention by their governed. The ranking was released last October, but it was only recently reported in some US magazines such as Family Circle (thanks Tina!):
Finland, New Zealand and Denmark are the least corrupt countries, according to Transparency International, a Berlin-based non-profit that monitors and exposes corruption around the world. Its annual Corruption Perception Index found rampant corruption in 60 of 146 countries surveyed. Of the three mentioned above, Finland has ranked as the least corrupt nation for the past five years. Why? This Scandinavian country -- along with Sweden, Norway and Iceland -- has an admirable and long-standing tradition of honesty and integrity in government and private business (most state documents are required to be made public, for example). So where did the U.S. rank amond the 146 countries surveyed? The United States ranked 17 (Canada is #12), tied with Belgium and Ireland.
Good news for US citizens: The US has improved it's ranking from #18 in 2003 to #17 for 2004. The bad news: The US slipped from a rank of #14 to #18 between 2000 and 2003. Yeah, that drop occured under Mr. Bush's watch. Anyone surprised?

No comments: