Looking at the top-ranked countries show that it's pretty obvious that if corruption (or its lack) isn't the best measurement of a successful social order, it will do until something demonstrates that it is better.
CORRUPTION PERCEPTIONS INDEX 2012GOVERNMENTS MUST PRIORITISE THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION
Looking at the Corruption Perceptions Index 2012, it's clear that corruption is a major threat facing humanity. Corruption destroys lives and communities, and undermines countries and institutions. It generates popular anger that threatens to further destabilise societies and exacerbate violent conflicts.
The Corruption Perceptions Index scores countries on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). While no country has a perfect score, two-thirds of countries score below 50, indicating a serious corruption problem.
Corruption translates into human suffering, with poor families being extorted for bribes to see doctors or to get access to clean drinking water. It leads to failure in the delivery of basic services like education or healthcare. It derails the building of essential infrastructure, as corrupt leaders skim funds.
Corruption amounts to a dirty tax, and the poor and most vulnerable are its primary victims.
So, how do we counter the effects of public sector corruption?
Governments need to integrate anti-corruption actions into all aspects of decision-making. They must prioritise better rules on lobbying and political financing, make public spending and contracting more transparent, and make public bodies more accountable.
After a year with a global focus on corruption, we expected more governments to take a tougher stance against the abuse of power. The Corruption Perceptions Index results demonstrate that there are still many societies and governments that need to give a much higher priority to this issue.
FULL TABLE AND RANKINGS
The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. A country or territory’s score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 - 100, where 0 means that a country is perceived as highly corrupt and 100 means it is perceived as very clean. A country's rank indicates its position relative to the other countries and territories included in the index. This year's index includes 176 countries and territories. more
1 New Zealand
14 Hong Kong
17 United Kingdom
19 United States