A corruption verdict

We at PPT haven’t commented on Transparency International‘s rankings* for some time.

The big news today is that Thailand’s ranking has collapsed under the military regime. The Bangkok Post states: “Thailand’s corruption ranking has plummeted, from 76th in 2015 to 101st place of the 176 countries assessed in 2016.” Thailand ranks with Gabon, Niger, Peru, the Philippines, East Timor and Trinidad and Tobago.

On this precipitous decline, TI states:

Thailand dropped to 35 in its score this year, reinforcing the link between perceived corruption and political turmoil. Government repression, lack of independent oversight, and the deterioration of rights eroded public confidence in the country.

Thailand’s new constitution, while it places significant focus on addressing corruption, entrenches military power and unaccountable government, undermining eventual return to democratic civilian rule. Free debate on the constitution was impossible; campaigning in opposition was banned and dozens of people were detained. The military junta also prohibited monitoring of the referendum. There is a clear absence of independent oversight and rigorous debate.

We can hardly wait for the junta’s toadies to “explain” this.

____________

* TI’s Corruption Perception Index is sometimes criticized because it is about perceptions rather than actual corruption. In addition, because it ranks countries by the degree to which business people and country analysts perceive corruption among public officials and politicians, it leaves out all ideas regarding perception in business itself. The index also has some strengths. It brings together multiple data sources in a single index, so that erratic findings from one source can be balanced by other sources. This reduces the probability of misrepresenting a country. It also involves local and international business people and analysts.

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