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Transparency International Spells It Out: Politicians Are The Most Corrupt
Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2013/07/09/transparency-international-spells-it-out-politicians-are-the-most-corrupt/
Source Date: Tuesday, July 09, 2013
Focus: Public Administration Schools, Thematic Website, Institution and HR Management
Country: Global
Created: Jul 11, 2013

Political parties are considered the most corrupt institutions in the world, followed by police, the judiciary, congress or parliament and the appointed public officials that serve them. Or, rather, that serve private interests.

Overwhelmingly, people believe their governments are run by lobbyists and corrupt to the core.

According to Transparency International‘s latest survey on global corruption, an impressive one in four people paid a bribe in to politicians or political appointees in the past year.

“Bribe paying levels remain very high worldwide, but people believe they have the power to stop corruption and the number of those willing to combat the abuse of power, secret dealings and bribery is significant, “ said Huguette Labelle, the Chair of Transparency International (TI).

TI’s Global Corruption Barometer 2013 survey also found that in many countries the institutions people rely on to fight corruption and other crime are themselves not trusted. Thirty-six countries view their national police force as the most corrupt, and in those countries an average of 53% of people had been asked to pay a bribe to the police to avoid a fine or jail. Another 20 countries view the judiciary as the most corrupt, and in those countries an average of 30% of the people surveyed said they had been asked to pay under-the-table to avoid harsh penalties.

Of course, this is not the world of the local riff-raff.  Bribery is mainly the world of the wealthy and influential.  In India, for example, Walmart is under investigation for bribing local officials.  The same goes with Walmart in Mexico.  The middle classes throughout the world have had enough of it. They’re taking to the streets of Manhattan under the Occupy Wall Street banner, and most recently the streets of São Paulo calling for government accountability.

Some governments respond to change from grass roots. Others do not.  Brazil has responded to protest demands.  The U.S. by and large has not responded to Occupy Wall Street’s demand for financial reform.

“Governments need to take this cry against corruption from their citizenry seriously and respond with concrete action to elevate transparency and accountability,” Labelle said.  “Strong leadership is needed from the G20 governments in particular.”

In the 17 countries surveyed in the G20, 59% of respondents said their government is not doing a good job at fighting corruption. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve has done more to keep the economy afloat than Congress, which prefers once-a-year political side-shows over the debt ceiling to score guest appearances on cable news shows.

In Europe, people from the southern countries have taken to the streets to protest austerity and massive cuts to their standard of living. For some, the choices are harsh and necessary. But when people on the ground see their leaders not making similar sacrifices, society starts to lose patience and mass protest can happen quickly.

Transparency International says that politicians have a lot of work to do to regain trust. The Global Corruption Barometer shows a worldwide crisis of confidence in political leaders and real concern about the capacity of government institutions to respond to societal needs, be it for security or in a safety net capacity.

In 51 countries, political parties are seen as the most corrupt institution. Fifty five per cent of respondents think their government is run by lobbyists. The only reason the number is lower is because northern Europe skews the averages.  In Switzerland, for example, just 38% of respondents say political corruption has increased a little to a lot. That’s around half of what Americans think about their own government.

To remedy the situation, Transparency International recommends politicians try leading by example. (Go ahead and laugh out loud now. Then continue reading.)

Political parties and individual candidates are recommended to disclose the special interest groups and SuperPACs funding their campaigns in order to reveal the true conflicts of interest between them, their “investors” and the bulk of their voters who elected them.

Appraisal of political leaders’ efforts to stop corruption is worse than it was before the financial crisis in 2008, when 31% of survey respondents told TI that their government’s efforts to fight corruption were actually effective. This year, that number fell considerably… to only 22%.

Ironically, or not, this has occurred at a time when governments promised more accountability of financial systems to avoid the heavy boot of the market on people’s necks.  Judging by the man on the street, the government is not here, and if they were, they are not here to help you.  They see that the government has done little to avoid future financial crashes that brought Europe and the U.S. economies to a screeching halt.

In the United States, 60% of respondents said that political corruption has either increased a lot or increased a little. Just 3% said it’s gone down.  Another 64% said that the government was run by lobby firms representing special interests.  Only 2% said special interests had no impact on U.S. government institutions.

It gets worse for the U.S.  A whopping 82% say the government is either basically doing nothing to remedy the situation, or is either ineffective or very ineffective at reform, according to TI.

We the People…

In some of the big emerging markets, perception of corruption, while high, is lower than it is in the United States.  Brazilians, for example, are less inclined to say corruption has increased in their country than their counterparts here in the States.

Brazil

•47% said political corruption has either increased a little or increased a lot.
•88% said corruption in public institutions was either a problem or a serious problem.
•66% said special interests either had somewhat to full control of the reins of government.
•77% said the government was neither here nor there on fighting corruption, ineffective, or very ineffective.
Russia

•50% said political corruption has either increased a little or increased a lot.
•92% said corruption in public institutions was either a problem or a serious problem.
•97% said special interests either had somewhat to full control of the reins of government.
•95% said the government was neither here nor there on fighting corruption, ineffective, or very ineffective.
India

•71% said political corruption has either increased a little or increased a lot.
•80% said corruption in public institutions was either a problem or a serious problem.
•87% said special interests either had somewhat to full control of the reins of government.
•91% said the government was neither here nor there on fighting corruption, ineffective, or very ineffective.
Mexico

•71% said political corruption has either increased a little or increased a lot.
•93% said corruption in public institutions was either a problem or a serious problem.
•87% said special interests either had somewhat to full control of the reins of government.
•90% said the government was neither here nor there on fighting corruption, ineffective, or very ineffective.
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