Graft most discussed problem and 2nd most serious - poll

by Olesya Dmitracova | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 9 December 2010 09:05 GMT

More than war, poverty and climate change, people are talking about corruption, a BBC World Service survey shows

LONDON (TrustLaw) - Corruption is the world's most talked about global problem and viewed as the second most serious, according to a survey released on Thursday.

The poll, conducted by GlobeScan for BBC World Service, showed that 21 percent of those polled had discussed corruption and greed with friends and family over the past month. This was closely followed by climate change, with 20 percent speaking about it, while 18 percent talked about extreme poverty and hunger.

In a separate question, extreme poverty very narrowly beat corruption to rank as the most serious global problem. When asked to rate the gravity of 14 issues, 69 percent of respondents said destitution was very serious versus 68 percent who said that about graft.

“Extreme poverty can seem like a bit of a distant problem for people and perhaps doesn’t engage people’s emotions in the same way as corruption,” GlobeScan Research Director Sam Mountford told TrustLaw.

“Certainly (for) people in the developed world, it doesn’t impinge on their lives in the same way. It’s not something that they talk about at the kitchen table, if you like,” he added.

Graft was a particular worry for Brazilians, Egyptians, Colombians, Filipinos and Kenyans. But it was also a concern in wealthier countries, including in the United States where two-thirds of respondents described it as a very serious global problem and in Italy where almost three-quarters saw it as such.

As far as conversations are concerned, almost two-thirds of Kenyan respondents, half of Nigerian and nearly half of Indonesian participants spoke about it in the past month. In rich nations, graft was talked about most by Italians, Spaniards and Canadians, with over a tenth in each country discussing it.

“We shouldn’t be surprised that people are venting their frustration about a problem that often stops governments getting to grips with the raft of other serious challenges that they are now seen to be facing,” Mountford said in a statement.

GlobeScan surveyed 13,353 adults in 26 countries between June and September, mainly face-to-face and by telephone.


Graph courtesy of GlobeScan

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