by F.

Transparency International recently asked people how corrupt their governments were. Now, a priori, would you think Europeans and North Americans would rate their governments lower than Africans would theirs? I wouldn’t. But guess what?

European and North American governments are seento be more corrupt than their African counterparts….

…one in five people in the US and Canada and almost as many in western Europe said their leaders were encouraging corruption rather than fighting it.

The same proportion across the eight African countries surveyed said their governments’ anti-graft policies were “very effective”, a sentiment shared by only 2 per cent of North Americans and 4 per cent of western Europeans.

Almost half of the western Europeans and North Americans questioned considered their governments’ efforts to tackle corruption ineffectual, compared with only one-quarter of Africans.

Of course, perceptions of corruption are not necessarily indicative of corruption. The Transparency International research was based on Gallup research done during “a period when the rich world was awash with corruption scandals”—from Ken Lay to Jack Abramoff.

But still—that’s a pretty sad commentary on the rich world. The FT has more.

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