The global economy loses $3.6 trillion to corruption each year, says U.N.

Secretary-General António Guterres said corruption is "an assault on the values of the United Nations."

The global economy loses $3.6 trillion to corruption each year, says U.N.
  • December 9 marked International Anti-Corruption Day.
  • The U.N. has mounted an international campaign to equip individuals, organizations, businesses and governments with tactics they can use to combat corruption in their countries.
  • In a 2017 survey, 25% of worldwide respondents said they had had to pay a bribe to access public services in the past 12 months.

The annual costs of international corruption amount to a staggering $3.6 trillion in the form of bribes and stolen money, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said on International Anti-Corruption Day, December 9.

Corruption can take many forms: bribery, embezzlement, money laundering, tax evasion and cronyism, to name a few. Whatever its shape, corruption always comes at someone's expense, and it often leads to weaker institutions, less prosperity, denial of basic services, less employment and more environmental disasters.

"Fighting corruption is a global concern because corruption is found in both rich and poor countries, and evidence shows that it hurts poor people disproportionately," the U.N. wrote on its website. "It contributes to instability, poverty and is a dominant factor driving fragile countries towards state failure."

The U.N. lists corruption "one of the biggest impediments" to achieving its 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, which include the elimination of poverty and hunger, as well as improved education, well-being and infrastructure. That's why the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime have spearheaded an international campaign to equip everyone, from politicians to trade unions, with tactics to combat corruption in their countries.

1 in 4 people worldwide have had to pay a bribe

A 2017 survey from Transparency International, which included responses from 162,136 adults, showed that 25 percent of people worldwide said they had had to pay a bribe to access public services in the past 12 months. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 57 percent of people said their government was doing "badly" at fighting corruption. The survey also found that police and elected officials were ranked as the most corrupt groups, based on global average.

The good news is that more than half of the people surveyed said they felt empowered to make a difference. That's a feeling the U.N. hopes to promote in the years to come.

"People often think that they are at the mercy of corruption and that it is just a "way of life"," the U.N. wrote. "However, every society, sector and citizen would benefit from getting united against corruption in their everyday life."

To check out what you or your organization can do to fight corruption, check out the U.N.'s Call to Action Matrix here.

.

U.S. Navy controls inventions that claim to change "fabric of reality"

Inventions with revolutionary potential made by a mysterious aerospace engineer for the U.S. Navy come to light.

U.S. Navy ships

Credit: Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • U.S. Navy holds patents for enigmatic inventions by aerospace engineer Dr. Salvatore Pais.
  • Pais came up with technology that can "engineer" reality, devising an ultrafast craft, a fusion reactor, and more.
  • While mostly theoretical at this point, the inventions could transform energy, space, and military sectors.
Keep reading Show less

The cost of world peace? It's much less than the price of war

The world's 10 most affected countries are spending up to 59% of their GDP on the effects of violence.

Mario Tama/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Conflict and violence cost the world more than $14 trillion a year.
  • That's the equivalent of $5 a day for every person on the planet.
  • Research shows that peace brings prosperity, lower inflation and more jobs.
  • Just a 2% reduction in conflict would free up as much money as the global aid budget.
  • Report urges governments to improve peacefulness, especially amid COVID-19.
Keep reading Show less

The evolution of modern rainforests began with the dinosaur-killing asteroid

The lush biodiversity of South America's rainforests is rooted in one of the most cataclysmic events that ever struck Earth.

Velociraptor Dinosaur in the Rainforest

meen_na via Adobe Stock
Surprising Science
  • One especially mysterious thing about the asteroid impact, which killed the dinosaurs, is how it transformed Earth's tropical rainforests.
  • A recent study analyzed ancient fossils collected in modern-day Colombia to determine how tropical rainforests changed after the bolide impact.
  • The results highlight how nature is able to recover from cataclysmic events, though it may take millions of years.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast