Monday, March 19, 2012

Chart Of The Year

I have always had the same chart, only instead of level of income, I had the level of development of each country. The less developed would see more corruption and so on. The chart below says the same thing but on matters that speaks clearer to us. You want to know how to get higher income per capital (i.e. the average annual income per person for that country)... yes, less corruption.

To be fair, there are a few discussion points to the above chart. Indonesia for example has an abnormally large number of islands and people living in secluded areas which may be difficult to reach or partake of the general business economic activity. They may be classified as self sustaining farmers at best, people really living off the land and sea. Hence when you average them out as well, Indonesia's real figure should be a lot higher. Same goes for China. 

To be fair, corruption exists in every country, its the level of pervasiveness and the relative amount of leakages. We know that Taiwan and Korea are not very clean as well, the ties between the triads and government officials in Taiwan is well known, the unusually cozy relationships between major corporate figures and the Korean government is also well documented.

We cannot be too optimistic that eradication of corruption can be done in 10 years or even 20. I mean HK took at least 20 years and Singapore needed a heavy handed treatment for a very long time. Hence even if we do effect a change in government in the next elections, safe to say its just baby steps, but at least we must move forward.

This makes Malaysia's position even more untenable. Except for HK, I believe Malaysia's per capita income was higher than Korea, Singapore, Taiwan some 35 years ago ... vellapan ... do we need to ask why, we all know why. That is why when I hear politicians championing how good Malaysia's growth had been  for the last 20 years ... we have actually been grossly underperforming.