Transparency International (TI), the world’s leading anti-graft watchdog, has ranked Singapore the fifth least corrupt country in the world in its latest Corruption Perceptions Index. Our position was unchanged from the 2012 index. The countries found to be most corrupt were Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia. As usual, Singapore was ranked the least corrupt country in Asia and ahead of the US, UK, France, Germany and Australia. However, we trailed Denmark, New Zealand, Finland and Sweden.
It is important for GP students to reflect on the true causes of poverty and other problems in this world instead of mindlessly regurgitating points from school readings, cliched ideas or social studies textbooks. Many students do not realise that corruption is one of the chief causes of poverty and also a key component in the poverty trap.The comments of lead TI researcher Finn Heinrich are worth noting and reflecting on:
Corruption hurts the poor most. That’s what you see when you look at the countries at the bottom. Within those countries, it’s also poor people who get hurt the most. These countries will never get out of the poverty trap if they don’t tackle corruption.
To train your critical thinking, also consider how reliable the Corruption Perceptions Index is. As one of my more astute students once said, “The worst corruption is that which you never find out about.” Is it possible to measure corruption with any objectivity?
The AFP article reads:
The group says that because corruption is illegal and secretive, it cannot be meaningfully measured. Instead Transparency collates expert views on the problem from bodies such as the World Bank, African Development Bank, Economist Intelligence Unit, Bertelsmann Foundation, Freedom House and other groups. It then ranks countries on a scale of 0-100, where 0 means a country’s public sector is considered highly corrupt and 100 means its is regarded as very clean.
It does seem contradictory that TI says corruption cannot be measured, yet publishes an annual corruption ranking of countries. Do you think their expert sources are reliable and have the ability to provide an accurate assessment of corruption?
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