By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | DECEMBER 5, 2012
The European Union countries most affected by the global economic and financial collapse are also some of the most corrupt. But the highest levels of immorality and corruption are not seen at the national level, but on the international stage.
A recent publication by Transparency International which assesses the perception of corruption through a well established index, calls the results “disappointing” in the sense that countries, especially those hit the hardest by the current financial collapse, are corrupt at heart, indeed.
The Index 2012 Corruption Perceptions from Transparency International shows that Greece obtained the worst result of all the European Union with a score of 36 out of 100, in 94th place out of 174 countries in the table. The Hellenic country is below Bulgaria and Romania.
Among the members of the European Union, Spain is in 13th place, after Denmark, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium, UK, France, Austria, Ireland and Cyprus. The report from TI shows the stagnation of Spain, the second country in Europe on its way down the cliff. Spain shares the 30th position with Botswana in the latest report of the corruption index.
“Among the countries hardest hit by the crisis are Italy and Greece — both join Spain on their way to total collapse — as corruption in the public sector is a major problem,” said Corbus de Swardt, spokesman for the NGO. He then added that “the fight against corruption is one of the keys so that Greece can emerge from the crisis. True point, although the type of corruption that pulled Greece down to the abyss, did not necessarily originate inside the country. As it happens in most nations, the bureaucrats who manage the destiny of countries and their people are front men and women whose work is to be ‘YES MEN’ and who represent the interests of the European oligarchy; where the highest levels of corruption emanate from.
In Germany and France, De Swardt believes that “one of the main problems is the relationship between politics and business.” The report reveals the existence of interest groups and a culture of secrecy. He is particularly concerned about the funding of political parties in Germany. Interest groups of course are not limited to women’s rights groups or unions, but to large conglomerates of companies that operate locally and outside the countries and who dictate the policies that the governments follow.
At a press conference Wednesday in Madrid, the President of Transparency International Spain, Jesús Lizcano, innocently advocated for giving good training to staff. He also called for issuing punishments to institutions that do not comply with transparency.
In this context, Antonio Garrigues Walker, executive committee member of IT, reminded people that in the past 18 years, corruption has increased gradually but forcefully mainly because, he said, that most countries do not have transparency laws in place. But reality shows otherwise. Countries with significant rules and regulations about transparency also suffer the consequences of corruption mainly because the rules on transparency are written for the people, not for the corrupt politicians in government and the corporations, who always manage to find back doors and legal windows to get away with cheating the system. Therefore, the crisis is not one of corruption, but of morality. Corruption is just the direct result of a society whose morality has been removed.
“Transparency is an absolute obligation of institutions and an absolute right of citizenship,” said the lawyer, who also lamented that countries like Spain have a civil society that is “weak and dependent.” In his opinion, corruption is “a true leukemia” especially in the economic system and transparency is the instrument to combat it.”
The agreement among most of the attendees is the “truly alarming” intensification of corruption worldwide. The highest levels of corruption speakers said have been seen during the current global financial collapse caused by the corrupt financial system upon which the world functions and which is managed by a few powerful elites.
Since the first Corruption Perceptions Index was published in 1995, both Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian countries remain at the top of the corruption ladder, even though the index does not always shows it. That is not a surprise as many of the oligopolies that are the source of corruption are established there. Outside Europe, countries such as Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia are three of the most corrupt in the world.
Although the Transparency International Index is just a main stream kind of thermometer which superficially gauges the levels of corruption around the world, it is a good starting point. Its results however contrasts with the reality of corruption and transparency. It is important to remember that in the case of the TI Index, it only reports the “perception” of corruption and not the real, factual levels in a country. That is why in its 2012 edition, countries like the United States, Uruguay and Germany hold distinctive positions, despite the fact these countries are submerged deeply into a sea of corruption. Another caveat is that the TI Index only includes the perception of corruption in the public sector and leaves out its twin out-of-control unregulated corporations.
Do we need a global index to know how bad corruption is in a determined country? Not likely. A more faithful gauge would be an honest look around the city and country where we live.
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