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Comparison and Contrast Between the Most Corrupt Countries and the Least Corrupt Countries in the World

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Running head: Corruption and Integrity

Comparison and Contrast between the Most Corrupt Countries and the Least Corrupt Countries in the World

Columbia Southern University

Amy Massaglia

Abstract

Corruption, according to the Transparency International is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. Countries are ranked according to the Corruption Perception Index, with those having most cases of corruption scoring the lowest, while the least corrupt score the highest. This paper compares and contrasts the most and the least corrupt countries in light of the CPI. It considers factors such as literacy rate, religion, culture, and stability as amongst the factors contributing or influencing the diversity in levels of corruption. Finally, it outlines the role of the United States in the fight against this vice.

Comparison and Contrast between the Most Corrupt Countries and the Least Corrupt Countries in the World

Introduction

According to Transparency International (TI) corruption is defined as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. This applies to cases of corruption in both public and private sector. Countries are ranked in the Corruption Perception Index according to the perception of corruption in the public sector. Being an aggregate indicator, CPI is based on different sources of information on corruption thus making it possible to draw a comparison between countries (Transparency International, 2010).

The year 2010 index contains ranking of 178 countries according to their perceived level of corruption in the public sector as determined by opinion survey and expert analysis. In the 2010 report Denmark and New Zealand top the list of the least corrupt countries with a score of 9.2. While Somalia and Myanmar (Burma) ranked among top 10 most corrupt countries with a score of 1.1 and 1.4 respectively. In this report, the United States was ranked 22 (Transparency International, 2010).

Trends in corruption for Denmark, New Zealand, Burma, and Somalia

Transparency International's 2008 CPI results indicated Somalia and Burma as the most corrupt countries in the entire globe. Denmark was listed as the least corrupt. Somalia scored 1.0, while Burma scored 1.3. On the other hand, Denmark and New Zealand scored 9.3 (Transparency International, 2009). The scores remained the same for Denmark (9.3); New Zealand scored 9.4 in 2009 and dropped a little to 9.3 in 2010. Somalia scored 1.4 in both 2009 and 2010 while Burma scored 1.1 in both years (Rogers, 2010).

Comparison and contrast of the most and least corrupt countries.

In comparing these countries, several key differentiation factors must be taken into consideration. These include Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, stability, literacy level, and cultural orientation.

Dividing its GDP by its total population arrives at the GDP per capita of a country. Earlier report by the Central Intelligence Agency (2009), indicated that the least corrupt countries had higher scores in GDP per capita as compared to their counterparts with ranked the most corrupt. For instance, in 2008 Denmark had a GDP per capita of $ 37,100, New Zealand had $28, 000 and Burma and Somalia had $1,200 $600 (all in US dollars). A strong correlation can therefore be drawn between GDP per capita and the level of a country's rate of corruption as suggested by Svensson (2005).

Secondly, literacy rate of country can also influence corruption. Literacy rate is defined as the percentage country's population that can read and write at a given age. The specific age for ascertaining this varies from country to country, but it is estimated at 15 or 16 years (Central Intelligence Agency, 2009). In comparison with the CPI results, New Zealand and Denmark both have a 99% literacy rate, while Burma and Somalia have 89.9% and 37.8% respectively (Central Intelligence Agency, 2009).

As suggested by Svensson (2005), corruption is inversely proportional to a county's level of human capital defined by its population's average year of education. This is confirmed by recent studies which advocate for the lowering of corruption level by promoting education of the majority, as indicated in low levels of corruption in people who have at least attained tertiary level of education (Cheung & Chan, 2008).

Thirdly, the least and most corrupt countries in the CPI result can be compared in terms of their stability. This is measured by the Failed State Index 2009, jointly assessed through The Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy. In this index a twelve indicators including social, political, economic, and military indicators are used to measure a country's stability. Currently, 177 countries are listed in this yearly index (Foreign Policy, 2009).

In line with the result of CPI, the countries rated the most corrupt like Somalia, ranked 1st and Burma ranked 13th, scored 114.7 and 101.5 respectively. Expectedly, their least corrupt counterparts like New Zealand, ranked 171st scored 23.3, while Denmark, ranked 172nd, scored 23.2 (Foreign Policy, 2009).

Major Differences between These Countries

1. Culture

Cultural orientation also plays an important role in shaping the business ethic of a country. As argued by Hooker (2007), "different ethical norm derive from different conceptions of human nature"; he therefore broadly categories culture into two, namely, the "rule-based" or "relationship-based" cultures (p.17). According to rule-based culture, a people are considered as rational beings with autonomy, authority, and equal in status. On the other hand, relationship-based culture holds that every person, though considered as simple unit, belongs to a larger unit, which may be a family, society, or tribe Hooker (2007).

Western cultures, which both Denmark and New Zealand are part of, are rule-based. As portrayed in the recent Danish history, the Danish are "an outward-looking people focused on trade, welfare, equality, and democracy, which in Danish means ''people's government' (folkestyre)" (Hog & Johannessen, n.d.). According to Wilson (n.d.), the this culture is also common in the New Zealanders since most of

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