Monday, September 29, 2008

The Other CPI

China likes to release its monthly consumer price index (CPI), constantly referred to in many business stories.

The country's provinces also have CPIs which seems excessive. But then again China is a big country and perhaps it's a somewhat way to measure provincial economy.

But there's another CPI -- the Corruption Perceptions Index.

Transparency International (TI) recently released its 2008 report, and the anti-corruption watchdog said donor countries should address the problem by carefully targeting aid.

The index ranks 180 countries and territories according to perceived levels of public sector corruption.

The CPI scores countries on a zero to 10 scale, with zero indicating high levels of corruption, and 10, low levels.

Sharing top spot are Denmark, Sweden and New Zealand at 9.3, followed by Singapore (9.2).

The United States is ranked 18 and Canada shares 9th spot with Australia with 8.7.

Hong Kong is 12th with Austria (8.1).

And China? It's 72nd out of 180 countries with 3.6, sharing the spot with such countries as Bulgaria, Swaziland, Mexico and Trinidad.

The worst countries are Iraq and Myanmar at 1.3, and Somalia 1.0, respectively.

TI says regardless whether the country is developed or developing, the challenge of reigning in corruption requires functioning society and governmental institutions. "Poorer countries are often plagued by corrupt judiciaries and ineffective parliamentary oversight," says the press release.

"Stemming corruption requires strong oversight through parliaments, law enforcement, independent media and a vibrant civil society," said TI chair Huguette Labelle.

"When these institutions are weak, corruption spirals out of control with horrendous consequences for ordinary people, and for justice and equality in societies more broadly."

The Berlin-based watchdog estimates that unchecked levels of corruption would add $50 billion, or nearly half of annual global aid outlays, to the cost of achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals on combating poverty.

The current milk scandal in China is an excellent example of why it is ranked where it is; the lack of transparency has not only hit companies on their bottom lines, but has also devastated families with babies who have died, or the tens of thousands whose young children, their only child, with possible permanent damage after drinking melamine-contaminated milk.

When Premier Wen Jiabao says the government is not covering up anything in the milk scare, then how does he explain why all Chinese media outlets are only using Xinhua stories and parents who tried to speak out were silenced?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Again like the rest of the 3 rd world countries China will need to have many great leaps forwrord to improve her cpi.