Bribery & Corruption Worsening Worldwide, Survey Shows:

The Global Corruption Barometer 2013 paints a bleak picture. One in every four people paid a bribe in the last 12 months when accessing public institutions and services, according to Transparency International's report.

This is a story I've seen getting some play for the last couple of days.  Here's how I know it's not a particularly good study: The Democratic Republic of Congo isn't on the map of corruption hotspots.

Unless the country's recently made a heck of a turnaround, I can attest bribery is rampant there.  Not a big deal -- you work for the government, someone needs your services, you're not well paid, and these crazy "Westerners" have enough cash to say stuff like, "the going rate for the director of religious affairs is a measly $163".

To US Americans (finally figured out why Miss South Carolina put that together -- "US Americans" as in "I'm overly PC and I don't mean all of the Americas when I say 'Merica"; maybe she's not quite as spacey as I thought), bribery seems strange, unconventional, and unfair.  To many parts of the world, it's just a slightly less equanimous (or maybe "less transparent" is more accurate) means of taxation.

Which leads us to ask who is behind this Global Corruption Barometer and who they represent.  Woodward and Bernstein might pass along a suggestion: Follow the money.