þriðjudagur, október 25, 2005


According to an annual survey by Transparency International, Iceland is the least corrupt country on the planet, displacing Finland this year for the top spot. Britain comes in 11th, with the United States at 17th. It pays to know someone over at Transparency, I guess...


Anonymous Nafnlaus said...

Hmm...that survery was a load of Bullshit. Iceland is far - very far, from being incorruptable:

1) The reluctance of political parties to reveal their sources of financing, with the ruling Independence Party still adamantly against opening their books.
2) The sale of Búnaðarbanki and Landsbanki, which Prime Minister Halldór Ásgrímsson and his family profitted from.
3) Friends of former PM Davíð Oddsson appointed to the Supreme Court, in particular naming Ólafur Börkur Þorvaldsson, who University of Iceland law professor Sigurður Líndal said was one of the least qualified candidates for the position.
4) The connection between members of the ruling coalition and players in the oil price-fixing scandal, naming Kristinn Björnsson, the former CEO of Skeljungur (Shell), who is the husband of parliamentary president and Independence Party member Sólveig Pétursdóttir, who was also Minister of Justice at the time of the scandal´s investigation. Björnsson is today the vice chairman of Árvakur, the company that publishes Morgunblaðið.
5) The Baugur case, where an investigation lasting three years and costing millions of krónur yielded 40 charges of economic crimes (only eight of which have made it to the Supreme Court), but is considered by many to be a politically motivated attack from key Independence Party players against corporate giant Baugur Group.

Blogger JB said...

Good points all. Iceland is not "incorruptible" as I said in my chest-thumping headline. But I can't help thinking that many of the things you complain about are also "business as usual" in other Western democracies. Regarding #2, didn't Dick Cheney profit directly from the Iraq war through his stock options in Halliburton? And #3 sounds an awful lot like Harriet Miers. I'm not saying these things are right, just that they're not extraordinary.

The survey, after all, was about the perception of corruption. Perhaps corruption is perceived to be lower here because the small size of the government and society at large leads to a feeling of accessibility. Whereas I always fear that what I hear on the news about America is only the tip of the broken-government iceberg, here at least I feel like the shady business is out in the open.


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