Monday, December 11, 2006

Corruption Barometer


What with William Jefferson's being re-elected by a substantial majority and Republicans and Democrats all across the country coming under fire left and right for corruption and ethics issues, I thought a visit to Transparency International would bear a look see. From their website: "Transparency International is a global network including more than 90 locally established national chapters and chapters-in-formation. These bodies fight corruption in the national arena in a number of ways. They bring together relevant players from government, civil society, business and the media to promote transparency in elections, in public administration, in procurement and in business. TI’s global network of chapters and contacts also use advocacy campaigns to lobby governments to implement anti-corruption reforms."

Though many of us are prone to argue that a country's politics and economic structure is what makes it a good or bad place to live, in most cases it is the presence of corruption, in its many forms, that truly sorts the good from the bad. "Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It hurts everyone whose life, livelihood or happiness depends on the integrity of people in a position of authority." I certainly would expect that those countries with socialist regimes and economies, or theocratic dictatorships (as in Iran, for instance) would score very high on the corruption barometer, and it turns out, they do. Still, many countries with freely elected governments, with free economic environments score high, as well. What keeps these countries from making the lives of their citizens better is, quite simply, corruption.

Many of us have experienced corruption in our lives, here in the good old USA. When the cop in your hometown pulls people over just to pad his stats on Drunk Driving convictions (yeah, it happens here) or when the local election officials throw your vote away or assist in limiting others ability to vote or get out the vote, that's corruption. We could be much better off than we are, and we're doing great compared to most countries! Just imagine how prevalent and horrific these things are in, say, Turkey or Pakistan.

It is my belief that free economies (and ours is not nearly as free as it should be), rule of law (honestly and fairly enforced) and local control in most governmental matters, are the prerequisites for true freedom in any country. The more I read, the more I feel this way.

For a look at how the different participating countries did in the "corruption barometer" surveys at Transparency International, visit this site and click on "English Global Corruption Barometer 2006" under the segment entitled "Full Report".

13 comments:

Maggie said...

Cuz,
Since Bill Clinton is the first 'black' president,do you think William Jefferson is his real father.It is all beginning to come together and make sence.Hmmmm?

camojack said...

Yes...I just came back from vacation in a rather corrupt country:
Mexico.

If it weren't for the rampant corruption there, a lot of people would stay instead of coming a Los Estados Unidos...

Beerme said...

Cuz,

Get your terminology straight. The term is "baby daddy"...

camojack,

Yes, as you will see in the report, Mexico is indeed very corrupt. Especially in the arena of police behavior and bribe-paying.

Hawkeye® said...

Hmmm. Lot's of info to absorb in that report.

What gets me is how people can re-elect a guy that gets caught with $90,000 in marked bills in his freezer.... Maybe they thought they were gonna get some of that dough?? Which sorta reminds me of a movie: "Dumb and Dumber".

(:D) Regards...

Maggie said...

Cuzin Beerme,

My Bad.....I meant to say "baby daddy"if had thought of it... :>)

MargeinMI said...

From what I've read, corruption, and bribery specifically is such a way of doing business in the Middle East it's really hindering the progress in Iraq. Not to mention the herion trade in Afghanistan.

A certain amount of corruption in government is a given. Any group of people given that much power and money will have a few bad apples.

Isn't that one of the responsibilities of the 'free press' in this country? To expose the nefarious? Too bad they're so freaking biased about it!

MargeinMI said...

Oh, and 'baby daddy'? Cut back on the Montel, dude. (LOL)

Kajun said...

Everyday politics in Loosianner!

Beerme said...

MarginMI,

I guess I just want to see people elect a better brand of politician. Is that too much to ask???

Kajun,

Everyday politics almost everywhere, I'm afraid...

Kajun said...

We've got a [five term] Democrat ex-governor in prison for accepting bribes for casibo licenses. He was also known as a "High [not to be confused with Holy]-roller"

camojack said...

ELEVENTEEN!!!

You knew that was comin', right?

Beerme said...

camojack,

Yes, though a post with that many responses is rare, indeed!

camojack said...

Heh. If you wait long enough between posts, it'll get there eventually, I suspect.

Anyway, Mele Kalikimaka!!!