The United States is perceived to be more corrupt than at any time since 2011.
Transparency International’s global Corruption Perceptions Index 2018, claims the U.S. is now seen as the 22nd most honest country in the world – a fall of six places since 2017.
It adds that the U.S. is also a “country to watch and monitor”, due in part to President Trump’s suppression of the media, weakening checks and balances, and increasing conflicts of interest. The report adds that growing nativism and populism, political polarisation, and a rise in hate crimes are exacerbating a loss of trust in the U.S. government’s institutions.
“The low score comes at a time when the U.S. is experiencing threats to its system of checks and balances as well as an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power,” says TI.
The report comes as a new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows six in 10 Americans disapprove of Trump’s performance, including his trustworthiness and ability to make political deals.
Transparency International ranks 180 countries around the world on a 100-point scale, with zero being “highly corrupt” and 100 being “very clean”. The scores are based on 13 surveys and expert assessments from 12 institutions measuring perceptions of corruption over the past two years.
The U.S. scored 71 for 2018. That’s just one point higher than Uruguay and the United Arab Emirates, which both received a score of 70. The Corruption Perceptions Index looks at the fairness of elections, but researchers emphasise that healthy democracies must also include “political participation, civil rights and a robust system of checks and balances.”
The U.S. isn’t the only country showing a downward trend in democracy. Transparency International says the past two decades have seen a decline in democracy across the globe.