Corruption and inequality feed off each other, creating a vicious circle between corruption, unequal distribution of power in society, and unequal distribution of wealth. As the Panama Papers showed, it is still far too easy for the rich and powerful to exploit the opaqueness of the global financial system to enrich themselves at the expense of the public good.
Based on expert opinion from around the world, the Corruption Perceptions Index measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption worldwide. The findings are less than encouraging. Not a single country comes close to top marks, while over 120 countries score below 50 on the scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). This means less than a third of countries are even above the midpoint.
Corruption hurts all countries. In our index’s lower-scoring countries, people frequently face situations of bribery and extortion, rely on basic services that have been undermined by the misappropriation of funds, and confront official indifference when seeking redress from authorities that are on the take. In higher-scoring countries the situation may seem less obvious in the daily lives of citizens, but closed-door deals, illicit finance, and patchy law enforcement exacerbate many forms of corruption at home and abroad. “We do not have the luxury of time,” says Ugaz. “Corruption needs to be fought with urgency, so that the lives of people across the world improve”.