Living with corruption in your everyday life
Our hero approaches the driving school manager and hands him money. It’s a whole by-weekly salary for him.
It’s not a payment, it’s bribery. The manager will hand-over that money to the examiner (of course after retaining a percentage of it). It’s nothing unusual around there. Everybody does that.
But this time the manager seems to be unexpectedly reluctant. After hesitating for a second he says: “I’m sorry, but I know your father is a policeman. It’s too dangerous. I will take nothing from you.”
That day our hero was the only one to fail road test.
A month later he eventually managed to convince another employee of the driving school to take the money. Road test went smoothly this time.
This is a true story that took place in Eastern Europe.
Having to burn a half-month salary to being granted a right you should be naturally entitled to isn’t only grossly unfair, it’s also something that has an economic impact–especially in countries where these kind of problems are faced almost every day, not only when you learn to drive. Imagine how it feels like, for instance, to have to bribe someone to receive due medical treatment.
Corruption and becoming an expat
That’s why I believe that when choosing to relocate to another country in order to seek a better life, we should taking into account how well – or bad – that country does with corruption.
Amazingly, most corrupted countries often somehow reject immigrants in a “natural” way.
In fact, corruption hampers economy, making countries poorer. Some other corruption-correlated factors are massive bureaucracy and black economy, including unreported jobs. These are all aspects that, when present, don’t make a country particularly attractive to expats.
Where can I find the lowest corruption levels in the world?
Let’s take a look at which are the most and the least corrupted countries in the world.
Transparency international draws up a yearly list on corruption around the world, the Corruption Perception Index.
The United States ranked 19th less-corrupted country in the world in 2012 with a score of 73 points (the higher the score, the less is corruption). The UK ranks 17th, scoring 74 points.
Highest score was 90, given to Denmark, Finland, and New Zealand. Those are at the moment the least-corrupted countries in the world.
Other non corrupted countries are Norway, Sweden, The Netherlands, and Switzerland.
Therefore, Northern Europe is at the top in institutions’ cleanliness, along with New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, and Australia.
Southern Europe does considerably worse, while Eastern Europe does even worse.
Corruption apparently skyrockets in all emerging economies, like Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (the so-called BRICS).
The only “clean” country in South America appears to be Chile, while in Asia it is Japan.
The most corrupted countries in the world are Afghanistan, North Korea, and Somalia, all countries experiencing endemic problems with human rights and poverty.
Your personal feeling and experience with corruption
What is your feeling about corruption in your country? Did you notice differences in other countries? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
My personal feeling about corruption in my native country – Italy – is that it not directly seen, as none ever asked me or my acquaintances to bribe them. However, it must be an extensive plague at higher levels, as you can notice its indirect effects, like high prices, low services-to-taxes ratio, and overall inefficiency.
My perception with my country of residence, Switzerland, is that it is indeed very low in the public sector, with some existing corruption pockets in the private sector.
It feels sooo good to be an expat.
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