Corporate corruption means the act of stealing money from private businesses. It includes white-collar crimes such as fraud, bribery, fraudulent investment operation, insider trading, embezzlement, computer crime, copyright violation, money laundering, identity theft, and forgery.1
In 2011, the Philippines had a gross domestic product or GDP of PhP10 trillion (US$216.1 billion)2 and a national budget of PhP1.645 trillion (US$32 billion).3 GDP is the market value of all the goods and services produced in a country in one year, while national budget refers to the total expenditures of a national government during a fiscal period.
In the United States, white-collar crime is estimated to be between US$300 to $660 billion annually.4
In the United Kingdom, fraud and money laundering each year cost around £73 billion (US$110 billion) and £48 billion (US$72 billion),5 respectively, or for a total of £121 billion (US$182 billion).
In 2009, mafia crime syndicates in Italy earned €135 billion (US$189 billion) in revenues and €78 billion (US$109 billion) in profits. Of those revenues, 26 billion came from investments; 25 billion came from public contracts, gambling, forgeries, and supplying illegal labour; another 25 billion came from extortion and loan sharking; and 19.5 billion came from money laundering. The mafia had to grease corrupt public officials with 2.75 billion to perpetuate their illegal activities.6
In Switzerland, white-collar crime amounts to around SFr8 billion (US$9.4 billion) a year.7
Each year in Germany, white-collar crime affects about half of all German companies, and those companies lose more than €6 billion (US$8.6 billion) to corruption, embezzlement, and fraud.8
The annual GDP or national budget of the Philippines is much smaller than those figures of corruption in some rich countries. Even if all of that GDP or budget were stolen, it would still be too small when compared with those corruption figures. The corruption figures of other countries are about a fourth, a third, or a half of the Philippine national budget.
Yet, when it comes to the rankings of the most corrupt countries in the world, different matters turn up. The rich countries which have much bigger figures of corruption are considered more honest and less corrupt, and are usually given lower rankings. While the poorer countries which have much smaller figures of corruption are considered less honest and more corrupt, and are usually given higher rankings.
Why is this so?
It is so because it is really easy to give the poor a black eye, isn’t it?
And many people still praise those who administer on them a black eye. That’s just too saddening, really.
4 Friedrichs, David O. (2009), Trusted Criminals: White Collar Crime In Contemporary Society, (4 ed.), Wadsworth Publishing, p. 50, citing Kane and Wall, 2006, p. 5; cited in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-collar crime.
5 The National Fraud Authority, Annual Fraud Indicator (AFI) Report (2012); Money Laundering Bulletin, June 2011, cited in http://www.transparency.org.uk/corruption/statistics-and-quotes/uk-corruption.
7 Matthew Allen, “White collar crime ‘certain to rise,’” June 16, 2011, http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/business/White_collar_crime_certain_to_rise.html?cid=30470372.