This week Transparency International published the 2017 edition of its Corruption Perceptions Index–an annual report that measures the perceived levels of corruption in the public sector on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
The good news? There is no good news.
According to the Berlin-based non-governmental organization–which has been measuring and fighting global corruption since 1993–there has been little or no improvement from last year.
The map shows 180 countries and territories ranked using data gathered from surveys of local experts in public administration and businesspeople. The index, which defines corruption as using political power for the benefit of private individuals or corporations, puts New Zealand (with a score of 89) and Denmark (88) as the least corrupt countries on Earth, no doubt thanks to the good nature of hobbits and mermaids. At the bottom, wartorn countries like Syria, Sudan, and the very worst, Somalia, which has a score of 9. In those countries, the nonprofit organization says that denouncing political corruption can end with your bones in jail or a bullet in your skull.
Some of the most corrupt regions in the world include Sub-Saharan Africa (with an average score of 32), Eastern Europe (34) and Central Asia (34). South America looks pretty bad too, with the Chavista gangsters making that country sink to 18, the lowest in the continent. But across the board, things look bad.
In fact, Transparency International’s data shows that “more than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of 43,” which is quite grim at this stage of global civilization. Stateside, the first year of the Trump Family and their dubious business affairs haven’t put the United States in that group yet (somehow). The U.S. is doing sort of good with a score of 75. It’s a lot less than Denmark, true, but more than countries like Italy (50) or my home country, Spain (54), where the major political parties are little more than semi-organized gangs of thieves.