"Corruption" is relative, but I will compare Taiwan to the USA. I think that the USA is more corrupt. When I say that, most people fall out of their seat. I maintain that it is true. Let us just take a few examples:
1) Bailouts. Specifically, bailouts of rich people. Companies like AIT and Goldman-Sachs. Supposed liberal left-leaning anti-business Obama has thrown literally trillions of dollars of bailouts at Wall Street banks that by any reasonable should have been allowed to fail. When you add in the "secret bailouts," the amount given away technically exceeds the size of the US economy, and the USA is only allowed to get away with it thanks to the fact that the US dollar is world's reserve currency. If Greece, Spain or Taiwan tried to pull such a trick, they'd be bankrupt. I do genuinely believe that if you had banksters in Taiwan who were as corrupt as they are in America, those banksters would be in jail, the banks in question would be taken over by the government.
sott.net/article/250592-Audi ... t-Bailouts
2) Lobbying of the US Congress. Basically, lobbyists in Washington, DC and the state capitals write legislation and get their bribed legislators to pass it. Ever since the "Citizens United" decision by the US Supreme Court, corporations are free to bribe with no dollar limits and no need to report publicly how much they are "donating" to politicians' campaigns. This is so blatent, and yet barely anyone in the USA even notices. While such things may go on in Taiwan, it would provoke a shitstorm if anything so obvious as what goes on in the USA was attempted here.
3) The revolving door. Once upon a time, the head of the EPA or SEC or FDA would take his/her job seriously. Nowadays, they resign and the next day go to work for the same companies that they were supposedly regulating, for a big fat salary in the millions of US dollars to do essentially nothing but "consulting," otherwise known as "picking lint out of your bellybutton." It's also a common practice to hand out plumb jobs to relatives of politicians - I couldn't stop laughing when "liberal" Bill Clinton deregulated Wall Street (look up repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act) and then daughter Chelsea went to work for a Wall Street hedge fund. Of course, Republicans don't even try to hide it - meet Senator Phil Gramms' wife, Wendy:
nytimes.com/2002/01/17/opini ... ramms.html
motherjones.com/politics/200 ... osure-phil
4) Speaking circuit. Practically every politician retires and pursues a lucrative career giving speeches. I remember when Ronald Reagan got paid US$2 million for a single 8-day speaking tour in Japan shortly after he retired (after opening up the US market to nearly tariff-free Japanese imports). Nice work if you can get it. Who (but a grateful corporation) would pay even $1 to hear babble from a retired Bill Clinton or George Bush? You'd have to pay me to attend.
people.com/people/archive/ar ... 79,00.html
news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/geor ... 57129.html
5) Civil forfeiture. So outrageous that even in banana republics like Guatemala or Bangladesh (where it might cost you $10), you have far less to fear from a police stop than you do in the USA:
6) Privatized prisons. I can remember a time when the USA routinely complained about how Chinese prisoners were being used to manufacture the goods in Wal-Mart. Like the USA is in a position to complain:
salon.com/2013/09/23/6_shock ... y_partner/
There are more people in prison in the USA than in China, by both actual numbers and percentage of the population. And this gulag (larger than Stalin's) is in the self-proclaimed "land of the free." Could you imagine such a prison society in Taiwan? I can't.
news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/u ... 2page1.stm
7) Retaliation against whistleblowers. I guess you've all heard of the NSA by now. Less publicized is how much of the secret data they collect is used to retaliate against whistleblowers:
pogo.org/blog/2014/02/fda-su ... owers.html
huffingtonpost.com/jason-dit ... 88818.html
Americans don't seem to notice the corruption that plagues their society. What they do notice is that their standard of living is dropping. Out-of-control corruption eventually erodes a nation's economy, and it's not a coincidence that the poorest nations in the world are among the most corrupt. In what is supposed to be the richest country in the world, many former members of the middle class in the USA wind up homeless, living in a car, saddled with insane medical bills for minor illnesses, or sent to prison for trivial offenses. And then in desperation, they come to Taiwan to look for work (as an English teacher - sounds familiar?), all the while denouncing this "horrible place" because it's so corrupt.