“Bribery Makes The World Go Round”

December 15th, 2010

The inverse relationship between the rule of law and government corruption is unmistakable when one looks at the countries where people need bribery to function in society.

The title of this post from Freakonomics., is of course a play on the classic Cabaret song, Money Makes the World Go Round:

While corruption is traditionally difficult to measure, the BBC reports that at least the perception of corruption worldwide is rising. The report combines results from Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, which surveyed 90,000 people in 86 countries, and a BBC poll of 13,000 people in 26 countries. Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore top the list as the least corrupt countries, while Somalia was ranked most corrupt. Perhaps the most startling finding is that 1 in 4 people surveyed by Transparency International admitted to paying a bribe in the past year — some to the police, some to permit officials and even some to the judiciary. Top reasons for bribery were divided by region: to avoid trouble with authorities in Sub-Saharan Africa, to “speed things up” in the Arab world and Latin America, while most in North America and the E.U. answered that they “could not remember.”