Developing economies account for 43% of global GDP but 65% of crony wealth, according to a new index of crony capitalism. Of the big countries Russia still scores worst, reflecting its corruption and dependence on natural resources, The Economist notes:
Both its crony wealth and GDP have fallen in dollar terms in the past two years, reflecting the rouble’s collapse. Their ratio is not much changed since 2014. Ukraine and Malaysia continue to score badly on the index, too. In both cases cronyism has led to political instability. Try to pay a backhander to an official in Singapore and you are likely to get arrested. But the city state scores poorly because of its role as an entrepot for racier neighbours, and its property and banking clans…..
In absolute terms China (including Hong Kong) now has the biggest concentration of crony wealth in the world, at $360 billion. President Xi’s censorious attitude to gambling has hit Macau’s gambling tycoons hard. Li Hejun, an energy mogul, has seen most of his wealth evaporate. But new billionaires in rent-rich industries have risen from obscurity, including Wang Jianlin, of Dalian Wanda, a real-estate firm, who claims he is richer than Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong’s leading business figure.