By Staff writer, SF
Transparency International is a non-governmental anti-corruption organization. It rates country’s governments and public services based on findings of experts and public opinion studies regarding perceived corruption.
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) uses a scale of 0 to 100 to rank countries, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is pure.
In 2018, The Corruption Perceptions Report shows that two-thirds of countries rank below 50 on the scale. Although a few countries have done better than in the past, there is little overall improvement compared to the previous year.
Iran’s score in 2017 was 30, but in 2018 it dropped to 28. Iran’s score has slightly improved since 2016, when it climbed from 27 to 29, and then 30 in 2017. However, this year it declined again.
According to Transparency International, the failure of most countries to control corruption “is contributing to a crisis of democracy around the world.” Patricia Moreira, Managing Director of Transparency International said, “With many democratic institutions under threat across the globe – often by leaders with authoritarian or populist tendencies – we need to do more to strengthen checks and balances and protect citizens’ rights.” She added, “Corruption chips away at democracy to produce a vicious cycle, where corruption undermines democratic institutions and, in turn, weak institutions are less able to control corruption.”
At the top of the index are Denmark and New Zealand, who scored 88 and 87 points, respectively. Somalia, South Sudan, and Syria are at the bottom of the index, with 10, 13, and 13 points, respectively.
Western Europe and the European Union were the highest scoring region, with an average score of 66. The lowest scoring regions are Sub-Saharan Africa, whose average score was 32, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, with an average score of 35.
Transparency International believes there is a link between corruption and the health of democracies, based on the data in the survey. “Full democracies score an average of 75 on the CPI; flawed democracies score an average of 49; hybrid regimes – which show elements of autocratic tendencies – score 35; autocratic regimes perform worst, with an average score of just 30 on the CPI.”
Shockingly, the United States has also dropped significantly in its ranking. It is no longer among the top twenty countries. Transparency International says, “The low score comes at a time when the U.S. is experiencing threats to its system of checks and balances as well as an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power.”