Truth in the Time of the Signs


Political corruption is, today, a major problem confronting people around the world.  While most of us think of corruption as primarily impacting the hundreds of millions who live in the underdeveloped and developing parts of the globe, it also touches those of us fortunate enough to live in the industrially developed Western democracies.  

In fact the World Bank Group considers corruption a major challenge to its twin goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity for the poorest 40 percent of people in developing countries.  In addition, reducing corruption is at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals and achieving the ambitious targets set for Financing for Development.[1]

The Berlin-based non-profit organization, Transparency International (TI), annually surveys various forms of corruption around the world by various measures and types and produces the following representation in which a score of 100 means the absence of any political corruption and a score approaching zero suggests a society in which little happens or gets done without layers of governmentally corrupt processes for people to get through in their daily lives.

As part of their annual survey on global corruption a few years ago, TI also asked people the frequency with which they had to pay bribes of one type or another in attempts to get by in their daily lives.

Political Bribery

  • The worst European country was Greece, where 27 percent said they had paid bribes during the preceding year. 
  • Africa, as a continent, suffers from political bribery the most, with 42 percent of all those in the countries surveyed saying they had paid bribes. 
  • The most extreme case was Cameroon, where 79 percent—almost four out of every five people—admitted paying bribes.
  • In Asia the highest rates were found in Cambodia (72 percent), Pakistan (44 percent), the Philippines (32 percent), Indonesia (31 percent), India (25 per- cent), and Vietnam (14 percent).

Police Bribery

  • In Africa, 47 percent of the respondents said they bribed the police;
  • In Asia, 33 percent; 
  • In Latin America, 23 percent; 
  • In Eastern Europe, almost 20 percent.
  • Worldwide, about 17 percent of the people in the survey paid bribes to the members of law enforcement.[2]

United Kingdom

Consider recent events which show we suffer from high levels of different kinds of corruption to the TI measures (which are based principally around bribery):

  • Pensions mis-selling.
  • Endowment mortgage fraud.
  • Payment protection insurance scam.
  • LIBOR rate rigging.
  • Insider trading.
  • Phone hacking.
  • Cover-up of institutional child abuse.
  • No senior figure has been held criminally liable or has even been disqualified for the practices that helped to trigger the financial crisis.
  • A former minister was in the government-run HSBC while it engaged in systematic tax evasion, money laundering for drugs gangs and the provision of services to Saudi and Bangladeshi banks linked to the financing of terrorists.  Instead of prosecuting the bank, the head of the UK’s tax office went to work for it when he retired.
  • The City of London, operating with the help of British overseas territories and crown dependencies, is the world’s leading tax haven, controlling 24% of all offshore financial services.  It offers global capital an elaborate secrecy regime, assisting not just tax evaders but also smugglers, sanctions-bustersand money-launderers. 

As the French investigating magistrate Eva Joly has complained, the City (of London) “has never transmitted even the smallest piece of usable evidence to a foreign magistrate”.  The UK, Switzerland, Singapore, Luxembourg and Germany are all ranked by Transparency International as among the least corrupt nations in the world, however, they are also listed by the Tax Justice Network as among the worst secrecy regimes and tax havens.[3]  Corrupt, just in different ways.

What does this mean?

2,000 years ago Luke recorded Jesus’ words about the future when conditions on Earth would be as bad as they had been in Noah’s day, like today, full of corruption. The result then was the Flood Judgement, what awaits us?

Luke 17:26 – Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man.

The Days of Noah – Genesis 6: 11 – 13 – Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.”

What else does the Bible tell us?– The Future

What does that mean for you?– Good News

[1]The World Bank Group – 4thOctober 2018

[2]Explore Freedom – 24thJuly 2017

[3]The Guardian – 18thMarch 2015


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