The Corner

Corruption Perceived

Transparency International has brought out its Corruption Perceptions Index for 2010. Top five least corrupt nations: Denmark, New Zealand, Singapore, Finland, Sweden. Bottom five most corrupt, from the bottom up: Somalia, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Iraq, Uzbekistan. Good to know we’re only currently occupying two of that latter five.

The U.S.A. is at number 22, between Belgium and Uruguay (Yessss!) That’s a new low for us. Our rankings for the twelve years 1998–2009 were:  17, 18, 14, 16, 16, 18, 17, 17, 20, 20, 18, 19. Since presumably corruption increases as social capital declines, the trend here may correspond to a continuation of the weakening of social capital documented by Robert Putnam and covered at length in Chapter 2 of that indispensible book We Are Doomed, now available in an irresistible paperback edition.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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