are there countries where rampant corruption has been stamped out?

Major corruption seems to be a way of life in many countries. It scares me a bit because I have a gut feeling that once corruption takes root in a society or nation, it’s just about impossible to eliminate it and return to a situation where respect for laws, regulations, ethics and fairness is the norm.

Is my gut feeling right? Or are there countries out there where rampant corruption once existed but has since been eliminated?

You might want to add the caveat “other than in war time or during natural disasters/famines”. I have no doubt that when war and other calamities are involved that you have temporary Governments being set up and resources are scarce such that it invites more corruption than might otherwise occur, what with people needing to cross borders, get limited medical aid or food, etc.

Presumably in those circumstances, corruption can emerge and disappear almost as fast

Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index.

Hong Kong

Singapore did it. It used to have corruption typical of countries in its area (Southeast Asia), but the government enacted reforms (and more importantly, enforced them), resulting in one of the least corrupt countries in the world. It came with a cost - the government of Singapore is often criticized for being rigid, controlling and repressive.


To lower my perceived corruption index, I’d just bribe all the citizens and independent observers to say my country is awesome.

No way. The “country” is embroiled in a prostitution scandal and sexual coercion.

ETA: this part has the biggest changes since last year, although we’d probably also want longer term data.

Didn’t South Korea have a fairly corrupt government in the 50’s and 60’s? The link above indicates it’s about average now.

Botswana seems to do well for itself, and I believe has successfully targeted and reduced corruption over the years.

IMO, the answer is “any country in which rampant corruption is not currently present”

It seems to me that, historically speaking, corruption was the norm in most societies. I’d struggle to think of a country where a certain amount of corruption and nepotism - more than would be tolerated in most Western countries today - wasn’t the norm before democracy took root.

How quickly this transition can be made to take place is another matter entirely…

Back in the day, you could bribe the secret police to not kill you if the leader commanded it. Now they just kill you.

Botswana has a huge AIDS problem, but it is one of the success stories of Africa otherwise, by economy, safety, and governmental intrusion standards.

Well, it depends on what the definition of ‘stamp out’ is.

But Georgia has definitely been moving in that direction for some time. About a decade ago it was a ridiculously corrupt country. Then, in came a new prime minister determined to fight corruption, and willing to sack pretty much ever member of the country’s police forces in order to make it happen. When my Georgian friend told me about this I couldn’t believe it, but after fact-checking it does seem to be true.

I wouldn’t say that Georgia has fully stamped out corruption, but it’s certainly been moving in the right direction for the last few years. On of the inherent problems being, of course, that measuring corruption is nearly impossible and we therefore have no objective measurements

South Korea.

Rwanda. They are approximately the same color as the US on that Transparency International map, but I think if you saw the map from 10 or 15 years ago, that would not be the case.

:smack: Yeah…