While the rest of us were busy wondering about the world of responsible work, finishing education in order that we might secure gainful employment and thus support ourselves, in some areas of the Western world, some people decided that it would be a better use of their time to collect pointless statistics with the aid of a microscope, and then try to apply their ‘findings’ to the rest of the globe.
Anyway, today we’re looking at some numbers which mean nothing. No, seriously, this is a piss-take, it has to be. How, in the name of all things holy can you be so infernally stupid to think that you can compare two countries, Bhutan and Hungary, and not render yourself a laughing stock? Well this is what Transparency International have attempted to do. They’ve got a corruption perception index up and running which seeks to make possible the comparison of levels of corruption between countries!
All right, let’s attempt to look at this with some sort of objectivity.
No, fuck that, that’s an impossible task!
Oh well, what the Hell, let’s have a bash at some sort of comparison...
All right, Bhutan is a landlocked country...and so is Hungary! Blimey! They’re as alike as two peas in a pod, and we’ve only just begun! All right, now we’re cooking with gas! So...what other ties can we find between our two protagonists? Well, let’s see...well, after that, I have to admit that it gets a bit...well, odd. I had a butcher’s at the constitution of Bhutan, and by point 3 I was dizzy:
“3. The international territorial boundary of Bhutan is inviolable and any alteration of areas and boundaries thereof shall be done only with the consent of not less than three-fourths of the total number of members of Parliament.”
One word there stands out like a sore thumb, doesn’t it? Yes. No, I’m not talking about the idea of three-fourths, I’m talking about ‘inviolable’. Meaning never to be broken, infringed or dishonoured. Fine, that’s something that the Hungarians lost when the Western world rode roughshod over our borders in the name of ‘peace’ at the Treaty of Trianon. So much for inviolable borders, eh? But here, in their own constitution, the Bhutanese have stated in their constitution that if they have the support of three-fourths (I’m assuming they mean three quarters, but what do I know?) of parliament, then they can alter the inviolable. Is that legally sound?
But, skipping over point 4 of the constitution which, once again, brings to the fore the magical idea of three-fourths being required, this time to alter the boundaries of Dzongkhags and Geowgs. Thromdes, you’ll no doubt be surprised to learn, don’t fit into the same category...they can be altered practically at will, it appears.
(Obviously a hotbed of corruption...their sashes are the same colour!)
All right, all joking aside. This is chalk and cheese at its best. You cannot compare, at least you cannot compare with any level of acumen, a democratic constitutional monarchy (Bhutan), with Hungary, which is a republic.
Although globalisation has, inevitably, effectively reduced the size of the globe with international travel opportunities, and rendered differences in shopping smaller and smaller with every passing year, we’re no closer, in real terms to being able to easily compare two countries from a single continent, let alone compare Hungary to Bhutan. That’s just a stupid idea.
And so we discover, via the Transparency International website, that, Bhutan scored 68 and that means it’s in 24th place. Moving on, Hungary, by comparison scored 44, which means that it’s in 69th place. Bugger. The Bhutanese are ahead of us, and not just by a nose. So, according to TI, we are more corrupt than the Bhutanese. Not only that, but their system is less open to corruption than ours. But how is that even possible? As we can see from the Bhutanese constitution no less, their inviolable borders can be altered, changed, and fiddled with, as long as you manage to secure the support of six eighths of parliament. Well, surely that’s open to the possibility of corruption, isn’t it? I mean, it states in the constitution that the borders, inviolable though they may be in name, can be changed legally. All we have to do is push enough folding money into the pockets of the parliamentarians and we can carve a small piece out of the country for ourselves. Try that in Hungary, and you’ll be subject to more than just a slap on the wrist. And yet, TI seem to think that the Bhutanese are light years ahead of us in terms of being less able to be corrupted.
Well, I’m sure that none of you will be surprised to learn that it’s all subjective. Transparency International’s ‘corruption perception index’, including the word ‘perception’ tells us all we need to know, straight off the bat. Perception. With unwitting subjectivity, of course. But wait, it gets better. TI’s index is based on:
“...perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople...”
For God’s sake, when was the last time we heard of a less-than-squeaky-clean businessperson?!
Well, apart perhaps from Robert Maxwell, who robbed his employees of their pensions,
and then there’s always Bernie Madoff, who defrauded investors of $50 billion!
But, enough of the patently stupid idea that businesspeople are neither subjective, prejudiced, nor corruptible. This whole thing is an exercise in pointlessness. You might as well try to compare bananas to porridge. That’s not what’s happening here, however. What’s happening is that Transparency International, with the assistance of the extravagantly-biased Freedom House, are pushing the standard Leftwaffe idea of Hungary being corrupt. And they’re doing it in such a way as to imply that only the government is corrupt, forgetting that a government cannot be corrupt on its own; it needs corrupt businesspeople to work with in a corrupt manner. So, according to their incredibly subjective views, Hungary is more corrupt than Bhutan, whatever that might mean.
(I’ve got my suspicions about that bloke at the back, for one. He’s a bit shifty, don’t you think?)
Forget these fools. And never forget that businesspeople, with no ties to anything other than greed are far more likely to be the ones promoting corruption. If a piece of Bhutan gets carved out of the very rock that is the Kingdom, passed with a 13 and a half twenty-sevenths majority of parliament rubberstamping the deal and passing round the Dzongkhags, Gewogs and Thromdes, I’d suggest we shine the spotlight both on the parliamentarians and on the businesspeople who bought their votes.