For 20 years, Transparency International has kept us informed about corruption around the world.
"Corruption is the abuse of power for private gain," says the organization. "It hurts everyone who depends on the integrity of people in a position of authority."
The harms of corruption are widespread. It can limit people's access to food, water, medicine, and education. It can lead to crumbling infrastructure and poor sanitation. It privileges the few at the expense of the many.
Every year, the group quantifies these harms in its Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which ranks nations and territories and assigns each a corruption score. This year's CPI found that 69 percent of the world's countries are seriously corrupt or worse. Regionally, Eastern Europe and Central Asia ranked the worst, Western Europe and the EU the best.
Here are the winners and losers from the CPI 2013:
These countries are leading the anti-corruption pack. Here they are, from the absolute best to the very slightly less best. (Rank and score from 2012 appear in parenthesis. Note the ties for 1st, 3rd, and 5th.)
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt at the European Union leaders summit on June 28, 2013 (Getty Images)
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key during in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (Getty Images)
Prime Minister of Finland Jyrki Tapani Katainen at the World Economic Forum in 2012. (Getty Images)
Sweden's Prime Minister Frederik Reinfeldt at a European summit on Oct. 24, 2013 in Brussels. (Getty Images)
Newly appointed Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg in Oslo on Oct. 16, 2013. (Getty Images)
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO summit on Oct. 6, 2013. (Getty Images)
Following on the heels of these winners are the rest of the top 15: Switzerland, Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Luxembourg, Germany, Iceland, United Kingdom, and Barbados.
The worst of the worst, from the totally corrupt to the even more totally corrupt. (Note the three-way tie for last place, which is rank number 175. Also, South Sudan and Sudan were listed as a single country for the CPI 2012.)
Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan accounces restart of oil exports on Oct. 30, 2013. (Getty Images)
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir attends a one-day summit on oil on Sept. 3, 2013 in Khartoum (Getty Images)
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir speaks at the second Economic Forum in Khartoum on Nov. 23, 2013. (Getty Images)
Afghan President Hamid Karzai addresses the Afghan loya jirga on Nov. 24, 2013. (Getty Images)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un marks 60th anniversary of Korean war armistice in Pyongyang on July 27, 2013. (Getty Images)
Prime Minister David Cameron (L) listens as Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (C) speaks in London. (Getty Images)
At risk of falling this far are the remaining 15 most corrupt nations, beginning with the worst: Iraq, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Syria, Yemen, Haiti, Guinea-Bissau, and Equatorial Guinea.
THE REGIONAL WINNERS AND LOSERS
The CPI found that 69 percent of the world's nations received a corruption score below 50, meaning they are seriously corrupt. Here's how things look regionally.
Seriously corrupt: 66 percent
Seriously corrupt: 64 percent
Best: New Zealand
Worst: Afghanistan, North Korea
Eastern Europe and Central Asia
Seriously corrupt: 95 percent
Worst: Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
EU and Western Europe
Seriously corrupt: 23 percent
Middle East and North Africa
Seriously corrupt: 84 percent
Best: United Arab Emirates
Seriously corrupt: 90 percent