Perception of PAYING bribes — some countries are consistent. Some are not.

Transparency International has their latest list out of bribe-paying countries.  (BRIBE PAYERS INDEX REPORT 2011) And, as always, it is illuminating.

The United States was ranked in 10th place — despite  Foreign Corrupt Practices Act — as a country whose businesses are most likely to pay a bribe OVERSEAS to secure a deal.

Seen as less corrupt (in bribe paying) were the Netherlands and Switrzerland (tied for #1 position of least corruptable), Belgium (#3), Germany and Japan (tied for #4 slot), Australia and Canada (tied for #6) and then Singapore and the United Kingdom at #8 before the United States.

At the bottom are Russia (#28), China (#27) and Mexico (#26).

Now here, comes the fun part…

Hong Kong, which is seen as a great place because of the lack of corruption within its borders (#13 of 178 on the squeaky clean scale) is #15 of 28 in the most likely to PAY bribes.

That means Hong Kong businesses internally are cleaner than Brazil (#13 versus #69 on the corruption scale) but more likely to pay bribes outside their borders (#15 versus #14 in the payment of bribes scale).

Hong Kong prides itself each year in winning the Heritage Foundation Economic Freedom award. And it prides itself on cleaning up internal corruption. But it really needs to work on the idea of PAYING bribes outside its own borders.

As for China and Russia being the most corrupt in terms of PAYING bribes. Come on. Is that really a surprise?

China was ranked #78 of 178 and Russia #154 of 178. At least these two countries are consistent.

Oh, the US? It was #22 on the corruption scale, tied with Belgium. And remember this is out of 178 countries surveyed.

And lastly, the bribe paying index is something U.S. media should watch.

  • If for no other reason, they could look at WHY, with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act the U.S. is not closer to the top of the “clean” countries.
  • They could also look at the cost of corruption in terms of lost U.S. sales abroad. (And of course that translates into lost jobs in the U.S.)
  • And they can look at  LOCAL alleged/confirmed corrupt practices — the history and current status. I would bet the Transparency International website has some interesting tips about what to look for.)
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