Austrian satirist Karl Kraus said, "Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual, the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country". The World Bank considers this menace the main impediment to economic and social development.
A new poll conducted by Gallup shows that nearly two in three adults worldwide believe corruption is widespread in the businesses in their countries. The percentage of people who consider corruption common within businesses is 60% in countries like the U.S. and Canada while the number is as high as 76% in developing nations, such as sub-Saharan Africa.
The results are based on surveys conducted in about 1,000 adults in each of the 140 countries studied in 2011.
Though corruption in business is an issue for both developed and developing countries, it is the developing nations that may suffer more because corruption can stymie financial development and foreign investments and foster income inequality, demonstrates the Gallup's data.
The link between corruption and doing business seems obvious from the fact that many developing countries are ranked lower on the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index. But in developed countries with higher GDPs, high perceived corruption does not always translate into lower Ease of Doing Business Index rankings. On the contrary, higher perceptions of corruption in some wealthier countries may reflect greater transparency and therefore greater awareness among the population of corrupt practices, notes the Gallup's report.
The U.S., where 60% of people believe that corruption is widespread in their country's businesses, is ranked 4 on the Ease of Doing Business Index. Israel, where 85% say corruption is widespread in their country's businesses, comes in at 34 on the Index. The country which is ranked first on the Index is Singapore, where only 13% of residents perceive corruption as widespread.
Strong leadership, policies, laws, and greater transparency are needed to fight the scourge of corruption, according to the researchers.
The complete list of countries that participated in the survey can be found on Gallup's website.
by RTT Staff Writer
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