What a Rotten World It Can Be: Report Says Three-Fourths of World Is Corrupt

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Protesters throw stones and firecrackers during violent overnight protests against the opening of a new waste dump in Terzigno, outside Naples

There’s good news if you are fortunate enough to live in places like Denmark, Finland, Canada and the Netherlands: they rank among the least corrupt nations in the world, according to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2010.

But the bad news is that if you live in three-quarters of the nations on the annual list, you probably make your home in some seedy places, meaning much of the world is pretty darn corrupt.

The data for the list comes from a variety of assessments and business opinion surveys that are compiled and measured by several institutions. The CPI defines corruption as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain” in both the public and private sectors. On the list’s scale, a 10 is considered very clean, while 0 is considered highly corrupt.

The organization, which calls itself a “global civil society organization” crusades against corruption throughout the world and believes that around the world it traps people in poverty, fosters unrest throughout nations, and ultimately undermines democracy and rule of law. The group insists in the report that transparency and accountability is key to ending global corruption.

Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore all tied for first place, scoring 9.3 with Sweden and Finland coming behind them at 9.2 with Canada, the Netherlands and Australia all in the high 8’s. However, Iraq, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Somalia have some serious mopping to do, at the very least, with each of them scoring 1.5 or below.

As for the United States, well, it seems the pesky ghost of Watergate just won’t go away because the Land of the Free scored 22 at 7.1, tying with Belgium and falling in behind Japan, Qatar, the United Kingdom and Chile. At least we’re doing better than Uruguay and France.