Well, it’s here – and I daresay you, like me, had a sleepless night waiting for it. Did you set your alarm for 0500 today, to watch it go live? No, nor me. Well, maybe just a little. It’s the Corruption Perceptions Index 2012, in all its glory. Although we all hope for exciting headlines, in reality not much changes: the dirty stay dirty, and the clean stay clean. And this is despite the best efforts of social reformers. As the Index’s press release confirms: “Many of the countries where citizens challenged their leaders to stop corruption – from the Middle East to Asia to Europe – have seen their positions in the index stagnate or worsen.”
So, taking top honours jointly are Denmark, Finland and New Zealand, followed closely by Sweden, Singapore and Switzerland. At the bottom of the index – ranked the most corrupt in the world – are Somalia, North Korea and Afghanistan. Also languishing in the sin bin are Sudan, Myanmar, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iraq. Again quoting the press release: “According to the press release: “Corruption continues to ravage societies around the world. Two thirds of the 176 countries ranked in the 2012 index score below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean), showing that public institutions need to be more transparent, and powerful officials more accountable… Underperformers also include the Eurozone countries most affected by the financial and economic crisis.”
One thing I did notice is that the size of the index has shrunk: last year we had 183 countries, but this year just 176. According to Transparency International (which assembles the index): “For a country/territory to be included in the ranking, it must be included in a minimum of three of the CPI’s data sources. If a country is not featured in the ranking, then this is solely because of insufficient survey information and not an indication that corruption does not exist in the country.” This explains why Guernsey, Jersey, the Isle of Man and Gibraltar are all missing from the index – but it does call into question the whole idea of transparency, if we now know less about the state of anti-corruption play in the world than we did last year.