Acton Institute Powerblog

Corruption Is Getting Worse: Transparency International

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Transparency International has released its 2013 findings regarding global corruption and bribery. The implications of corruption and bribery are manifold: they decrease confidence in governments, make it difficult for the poor and disconnected to get out of poverty, and break down trust throughout society. In fact, Transparency International found that two institutions that should be the most trusted (police and the judiciary) are the ones most riddled with corruption, world-wide.

Here is one example:

Fifty-year old Carmela [name has been changed] was sleeping at home when she was woken by banging and shouting from the  apartment above, where her son lives. Rushing upstairs, she says she found the 27-year-old mechanic being beaten by police officers. Ignoring her cries, the officers dragged him from the apartment and took him to their local headquarters, where they demanded payment for his release. Carmela’s problem is not new in her community, a makeshift settlement where local people claim to suffer constant harassment from certain police officers who demand bribes in return for leaving them in peace. Fearing retaliation, people find a way to pay the officers, who reportedly ask for as much as several thousand US dollars. But for Carmela, a housekeeper with four children, one suffering from cancer, this was impossible. Acting on Carmela’s behalf, Transparency International Venezuela contacted senior government and police officials, calling on them to take action. As a result, when she went to the local police headquarters to pay the bribe, the state authorities were watching. As soon as the money changed hands, they moved in and arrested the officers involved. Her son was released without payment. The police officers were detained and now await trial, while a full investigation is underway.

The countries with the highest bribery rates are in sub-Saharan Africa, with Sierra Leone, Liberia, Yemen and Kenya topping the list. The study also looked at how political connections played a role in the ability to do business or conduct personal affairs in a country. 51 countries reported that political parties were the most corrupt institutions, and Greece topped that list.

While the majority of those surveyed believed that people could make a difference in their own country in helping to stop corruption and bribery, many said they never reported the crimes because they felt it would do no good. However, those surveyed also reported that they were willing to begin the process, by doing things like signing petitions and using social media to tackle the problem.

Transparency International also offers a set of interactive maps detailing country-by-country results of where corruption is the greatest, and which institutions most need reform. Transparency International now has 90 centers around the globe that offer free, confidential help to those who have witnessed or suffered from corruption. Getting corruption under control is one more important step in the fight against the alleviation of poverty, and the continuing struggle for liberty for all persons.


Elise Hilton Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.


  • If all the goods in the World were 100 apples and only 10 people were to
    live on this Planet, these 10 people would have 3 choices:

    1) Each one could share the 100 apples

    2) Everyone could compete (or fight) for those 100 apples so that some may have
    more than 10 apples and some will end up with none.

    3) All people could be guaranteed to have 10 apples and those who are willing
    and capable to produce from that starting point could have even more (for
    example planting the seeds of those apples). Their work would then become a
    reward besides those 10 apples which are guaranteed.

    Communism is choice number one.

    Capitalism is choice number two.

    Commutalism is choice number three.

    The difference between these 3 is that corruption could infect the first or the
    second choice but not the third one which has been built with a different

    Commutalism is a new concept of Democracy without politicians which is
    organized through the Internet to balance the needs of the Individual with the
    Respect for Equality.

    Commutalism is structured to provide the necessary goods for the survival of
    everyone and introduces at the same time a new transparent form of Capitalism
    to trade all those goods which are not necessary, like in a market open to the
    competition of all superfluous goods

    For the sake of transparency, this new type of Capitalism would rule that each
    single transaction must be reported on the Net to become visible like an
    invoice made public and taxable at the origin with one fix percentage applied
    for all.

    In such system, all private properties and their owners like also all money
    transactions and trades of private property must be publicly reported on the
    Net. This is to prevent unlawful transactions and root out corruption through
    the immediate confiscation of those goods that have not been reported.

    Moreover, to reduce Greed and restore the financial equilibrium worldwide, it
    will be enough to eliminate the concept of inheritance. The private property of
    the people will return to the State after the death of each person to be
    auctioned among all citizens. People could spend as much as they want to
    educate their children but inheritance and donations would not be allowed.

    Once the survival is guaranteed for everybody there will be no need to be as
    tolerant with crime as we are today when the crime is a consequence of our
    corrupted system.

    In Commutalism, the right to own must be protected and guaranteed also for
    those who want to work and trade their own Time to obtain more than just the
    basic necessities provided by the system.