5 December 2012

Corruption index

I just read, via BBC, the existence of an indicator of a country's corruption, called corruption perceptions index, created by an organization called Transparency International (TI). Now, although I don't like single numbers for quality control, and although I have no opinion about this organization's methods and ethos, some of the numbers in their report seem to correspond to common sense:
Worldwide, Denmark, Finland [, New Zealand] and Sweden were seen as the least corrupt nations, while Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia were perceived to be the most corrupt.
No surprises here. Also,
Greece [is the] 'most corrupt' EU country.
Again, this is not a surprise.

What I found rather surprising is the relatively good ranking of Bhutan, Uruguay, Chile and Botswana. Uruguay has a very interesting character as president, José Mujica, who is the world's poorest president, living a very simple life in a farm. In the case of Botswana, perhaps in the character of Precious Ramotswe we see a reflection of reality.

Another thing that is worth asking is this: the perception that Greek governments were corrupt is not new. In fact, I have a hunch that EU did know that Greece was corrupt all along and that the surprise they showed when it was revealed that Greece was faking its balance sheets was not honest. It was, simply, mutually convenient for corrupt Greek fovernment to fake its balance sheets (with the help of Wall Street companies) and for EU to accept them at face value. Convenient, as long as the shit hadn't hit the fan yet.

Also, it is nice to know that I live in the number 4, according to the report, least corrupt country (and hope they clean the roads soon, because the snow doesn't seem to stop falling).

Finally, and rather obviously,
TI believes there are strong correlations between poverty, conflict and perceived levels of corruption.

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What measure theory is about

It's about counting, but when things get too large.
Put otherwise, it's about addition of positive numbers, but when these numbers are far too many.

The principle of dynamic programming

max_{x,y} [f(x) + g(x,y)] = max_x [f(x) + max_y g(x,y)]

The bottom line

Nuestras horas son minutos cuando esperamos saber y siglos cuando sabemos lo que se puede aprender.
(Our hours are minutes when we wait to learn and centuries when we know what is to be learnt.) --António Machado

Αγεωμέτρητος μηδείς εισίτω.
(Those who do not know geometry may not enter.) --Plato

Sapere Aude! Habe Muth, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen!
(Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!) --Kant