Corruption Across the Globe

Given the recent high profile cases of fraud and corruption in the United States and India (i.e. Bernard Madoff, Rod Blagojevich and Satyam Computer Services), a 2008 study by Transparency International is particularly enlightening (see illustration below).  In the study, the United States ranked 18th on a list of 180 countries.  Denmark, New Zealand and Sweden top the list as the least corrupt countries, with Somalia, Iraq, Myanmar and Haiti at the bottom of the list.  The authors of the study noted the following:

Whether in high or low-income countries, the challenge of reigning in corruption requires functioning societal and governmental institutions. Poorer countries are often plagued by corrupt judiciaries and ineffective parliamentary oversight. Wealthy countries, on the other hand, show evidence of insufficient regulation of the private sector, in terms of addressing overseas bribery by their countries, and weak oversight of financial institutions and transactions.

It remains to be seen what the 2009 study results will say about the United States and others.  Right now, it looks like a race to the bottom of the list.  Let’s hope for improvements in corporate governance, internal controls and risk management in 2009.


About Wheelhouse Advisors
Wheelhouse Advisors LLC is the publisher of The ERM Current™, an online publication and blog dedicated to providing the latest updates on current trends in Enterprise Risk Management & Control. Wheelhouse Advisors provides cost-effective Enterprise Risk Management & Control solutions to both large and mid-size corporations. To learn more about Wheelhouse Advisors, please visit our web site at

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