Global Ethics and Corruption Measurement Issues in Latin America: The Cases of Colombia and Honduras

Carmen R. Apaza

Abstract


Current international organizations focus more on measuring corruption rather than ethics, integrity or transparency in government. Even Transparency International (TI) does not actually measure “transparency” but corruption itself. More critical, those measurements may not be considering government efforts to prevent public corruption at the national and local level. For instance, according to TI’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), during the last decade the phenomenon of corruption in Latin America and the Caribbean countries has remained low-moderate, reaching ratings between 4 and 5 within the CPI rating scale, which includes values between 1 (more corruption) and 10 (less corruption). However, CPI scores may be ignoring specific data from the situation at the local government level. Moreover, CPI scores may have been seriously ignoring socio-political factors that affect corruption perceptions in society, as in the case of Colombia, or extreme poverty, such as in the case of Honduras. In order to escape a trap in which transparency efforts enhance the image of more affluent democracies while only appearing to confirm negative perceptions of societies in a developing stage, the author proposes the creation or improvement of “active transparency” practices at the local government level. This will transform citizens into key actors instead of just receptors of laws and anticorruption programs designed by government. Hence, this paper first discusses the problem with corruption and transparency measurement in the Latin.

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