Thursday, December 6, 2012

CORRUPTION: Tale of Two Corruptos: Brazil and Mexico on Different Transparency Paths

There is an increasingly heated debate today about Latin America’s two titans: Does Brazil receive too many kudos and does Mexico receive too much criticism? For all the ugly press Mexico’s murderous drug war gets, Brazil’s homicide rate is actually higher. Global media fawn over Brazil’s economic boom, but the World Bank finds Mexico a much easier place to do business; it earns more in manufacturing exports and is enrolling a higher number of engineering students.

But Transparency International this week offers another potential reminder of why Brazil has realized more development, and two times more average economic growth, than Mexico has so far in the so-called Century of the Americas. Bottom line: business and bureaucracy might be easier in Mexico, but in Brazil they’re actually cleaner. Transparency, the Berlin-based corruption watchdog, issued its annual Corruption Perceptions Index this week—and despite Brazil’s long reputation for sleaze, it places 9th among the 26 Latin American and Caribbean countries on the 176-nation Index (the lower ranking being the less corrupt) compared to Mexico’s 16th-place finish. Among all nations, Brazil is No. 69; Mexico is No. 105.

(MORE: TIME’s exclusive interview with the new Mexican President.)

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