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goes to those in places of power and prestige to feed their lavish lifestyles. More initiatives such as Transparency International are needed, as they have exhaustive tools to measure various levels of corruption worldwide. These tools are valuable because they can help us see where the problem lies, the severity of these issues and can help us come up with concrete solutions to advocate for political and practical change. These changes are essential and must begin at the national level where those in political power must adjust their personal agendas. Money that should be put into the economy is simply being used for selfish means. Countries such as Angola, Nigeria and Pakistan face this problem where corruption is widespread and something needs to be done about it. There is more than enough wealth to put back into the system and help citizens, however a great deal of people suffer due to a lack of resources, rights and knowledge about where to turn to for support. These very people are in dire need to have their basic needs fulfilled such as shelter, clothing and a warm meal to eat everyday. We take these things for granted, nonetheless, advocacy and activism are the key to abolish such unjust realities. The wealth in such countries must be diverted equally and should be put towards services and facilities for its citizens. Furthermore, funds need to be put into areas such as education and health care, in addition to building other things such as roads and creating sanitary amenities in order to better the lives of these nations. Over and over again I have heard the story where innocent victims are raped, murdered or beaten, yet the offenders simply hand over wads of cash to police officers or those in power. The outcome is always the same: the heinous crime did not even happen. I think that poverty puts people at a disadvantage because it is an issue due to an imbalanced allocation of wealth and rights. The money goes to those who are most greedy and taken away from the poor. You can buy innocence in this case. Money talks and makes people turn a blind eye. The most common equation plays itself out time and time again: money = power and respect. Another commonality I found amongst the most corrupt countries was each nation’s supposed effort to fight against corruption and do away with such crimes. Many countries give lip service and their attempts to monitor and catch the culprits are hopeless. How can this be done if the people “in-charge” are the cause of the problem in the first place? Endless examples of tightened laws and legislation to fight corruption are presented, watch dog groups and other harsh penalties for those who offend exist, but who will be there to enforce them? The ones who make these laws are the very same ones that break them. In Bangladesh, their attempts to battle against corruption have failed time and time again. There is a lack of initiative and effort on the part of the government and the citizens suffer as a result. Officials have not yet shown any signs of consistency or urgency to do away with this problem. Bangladesh has also failed to sign the United Nations Convention against corruption. The head of the state and many public officials reap the rewards of power and if they sign it, their ticket to wealth is lost. It is a complete different story in Myanmar. This country is run by a brutal military dictatorship who will acquire wealth or what they wish by any means necessary. The military wants to hold onto their power and there is no room for change in such a place. Even to have a telephone installed requires a bribe. The poor are stripped of their human rights. In certain parts of Somalia the country is lead by a bunch of power hungry military leaders and in order to get anything done, you must support the local thug. However, he should win if you are to get what you want. The head of each nation is at the head of the game. Even if there are some members in political office who wish to abolish corruption and create positive change, the numbers are so few that this type of change will not have a ripple effect to wipe out corruption completely. Just when you think it could not get any worse, we hear another scandalous story. Sometime a few years ago, the governor of Bayelsa, was caught in London’s Heathrow Airport and was put on house arrest. The police discovered $1 million pounds ($18 million US) in his apartment in London. However, the twist of the story is that he managed to escape back

to his homeland. How did he do this you ask? He dressed up as a woman. Money and brains, what a combination. The 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index reinforces the link between poverty and corruption. In terms of social stratification, the ones left at the bottom are the poor victims of these nations. Several nations face high levels of domestic corruption, while places such as Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago and even the United States are beginning to show a significant increase in corruption. The problem of corruption is escalating worldwide and almost three quarters of the countries rated by the CPI scored below 5, indicating that many world nations face some sort of corruption. Seventy-one countries (nearly half ) scored below 3, which tells us that corruption is increasing. Haiti had the lowest score at 1.8, while Iceland, Finland and New Zealand shared the top score of 9.6. The instigators of such corruption help those in power fill their wallets. Leaders get support with money laundering, storing their money and profiting in a big way. The facilitators are often the middlemen and lend a “helping hand” to keep the cash flow coming in. Perhaps we need to consider the governmental structure and legislation that countries such as Finland and New Zealand have adopted in order to see if there is anything that other nations can implement or incorporate into their own national structures. Corruption hits the poor the hardest. In spite of this, it is something that can be eradicated, but we must fight for it on a global level. It is a worldwide issue and requires a collaborative effort to achieve equity. Corruption eats away at a nations economy, people’s rights and more importantly, their futures. The ministers, presidents, political officials and others steal more than just wealth, they compromise the futures of the very places they are the leaders of. In the short term, it may seem beneficial and look “good” to profit because they become rich overnight, but no one has considered the long-term effects of such actions. It limits the opportunities and prospects for each country to flourish and grow on a global level. In terms of economics, it has affected businesses and the local economy to the point that no one will invest in such places. For example, in the Ivory Coast, Houphouet Boigny was the president and built the world’s largest cathedral that replicated St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. It has 7000 seats, but all of them are empty. Due to corruption, U.S. trade representatives strongly felt that corruption is a barrier to investment in such a place. Corruption has the greatest impact on judicial proceedings, contract awards, customs and tax issues.” These nations cannot build their futures until there is a “clean-up” of legal processes, legislation and investigating the nation’s leaders of wrongdoings.

bribery costs Kenyans about US $1 billion each year, yet more than half live on less than US $2 per day.” -Transparency International (2007). http:// According to the CPI, Haiti is the most perceived corrupt country (1.8). Followed by Myanmar, Iraq and Guinea all tied with a score of 1.9. -Transparency International (2007). http:// “In 2002, the African Union estimated that the continent was losing US $150 billion a year to corruption, and things haven’t improved much since.” - Andelman, D.A. (2007). Forbes Magazine: Most corrupt countries.

Regardless of anti-corruption laws and endless hard work to do away with corruption, the truth remains the same, not enough is being done. The United Nations Convention against Corruption, the OECD Anti-bribery Convention and other efforts have not been enough. We need to see significant improvements in this area and in the lives of the world’s poorest. Numerous countries have yet to approve the UN Convention. Every nation needs to come together to live in a world where what is fair is not just written in policy, but also carried out in practice. I think that corruption is a universal matter, it may be more overt in “Third World” nations and covert throughout North America and Europe, but it is still rampant. Those who have engaged in unlawful activities must be held accountable and the principles of honour, honesty and looking out for the good of the group should be the standard. All sectors of society must fight for this in order to put an end to poverty. A compromised future hurts everyone.

July 2008

The definition, level of corruption and corruption measures are based on information using the CPI scale in this article. It is vital to look at corruption on a global level to see one of the root causes of worldwide poverty. OTHER INFO: “One trillion US dollars are paid in bribes around the world each year, according to the World Bank Institute.” -Transparency International (2007). http:// “According to TI Kenya’s Kenya’s Bribery Index,

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June-July 2008 • Vol 1 • Issue 8-9



Protest for Prisoner In China Open to mothers registered in LINC or I-WORK this summer. “Using the power of the pen to facilitate smooth int...


Protest for Prisoner In China Open to mothers registered in LINC or I-WORK this summer. “Using the power of the pen to facilitate smooth int...