Public sector corruption remains a massive global problem, and the United States and other developed countries are not immune, according to Transparency International, which released its annual Corruption Perceptions Index on Wednesday.
The U.S. ranks 16th among the 168 countries monitored, in a tie with Austria, but well behind the Scandinavian trio of Denmark, Finland and Sweden, which historically have come in at or near the top, and are ranked 1-2-3 this year.
Near the bottom of the rankings are two countries where the U.S. has sacrificed thousands of soldiers’ lives and trillions of dollars in an effort to establish functioning democracies: Afghanistan, at 166, and Iraq, at 161.
Vladimir Putin’s Russian Federation remains one of the worst-ranked developed countries, coming in at 119 – worse than Tanzania, but just ahead of Gambia.
In North America, Canada was perceived as the cleanest country as far as corruption goes, coming in 9th globally, well ahead of the U.S. Mexico, by contrast, continues to face major corruption problems, and ranked 95th.
Two of the European Union’s sickest economies, Italy and Greece, continued to rank as significantly corrupt, though only 14 percent of all EU countries presented what Transparency International considers significant corruption problems.
“The 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index clearly shows that corruption remains a blight around the world. But 2015 was also a year when people again took to the streets to protest corruption. People across the globe sent a strong signal to those in power: it is time to tackle grand corruption," said José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International.
The top 10 countries in the list are:
4 New Zealand
10 United Kingdom
And here are the bottom 10 countries:
163 South Sudan
167 Korea (North)