China fact of the day

by on March 7, 2013 at 2:46 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

Ninety members of the National People’s Congress are on a list of China’s 1,000 richest people published by the Shanghai- based Hurun Report, up from 75 last year, according to a review of the data by Bloomberg News. Everyone on the Hurun list had a fortune of at least 1.8 billion yuan ($289.4 million), more than former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Here is more, via a retweet from Yana.

1 Brian Donohue March 7, 2013 at 3:07 pm

…two legs better!

2 Todd March 7, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Romney would love China. The one-party-electoral-cronyism totally takes the 47% out of the democratic process.

3 Thor March 7, 2013 at 7:04 pm

C’mon. In China, as a politician you can safely ignore 97% of the population.

4 anon March 7, 2013 at 8:05 pm

The one-party-electoral-cronyism totally takes the 47% out of the democratic process.

You’re kidding, right?

Crony capitalism has all kinds of buddies in all kinds of places: the White House, Capitol Hill, Wall Street, the “academy,” journalism, union leaders, big business (hello GE!), the “Sage” of Omaha, Export-Import Bank, etc., etc. Ds and Rs.

Seems like a lot less than 53%, but then I never was good with math.

5 Todd March 7, 2013 at 9:09 pm

I don’t know what point you were trying to make; but I’m satisfied that, whatever it is, it is a point that you could not make freely and/or publicly in China without a real threat of degradation of some sort to your life.

6 So Much For Subtlety March 8, 2013 at 4:43 am

I am willing to bet there is not a single comment made here that could not be said in China. Which is meant to be a statement of fact, not an endorsement of the Chinese government. Especially if it was made in English.

But then why does your vacuous comment not surprise me? Oh yes.

7 TallDave March 9, 2013 at 10:37 pm

You do realize they have a Nobel Peace Prize winner who is under house arrest for criticizing the government? Sheesh.

8 So Much For Subtlety March 8, 2013 at 4:41 am

There is a lot to be said for the Singaporean/Chinese model. And yes, they do take corrupt special interests out of the equation – at least they do if the ruling authority chooses to ignore them. There is probably a reason why the richest societies on the planet until the Industrial Revolution were Autocracies and not democracies. However it is absord to say China is exempt from cronyism.

It is even more absurd to say Romney would approve of it. Given his life long committment to freedom and the democratic process. But then your comment tells us a lot more about you and why no one should ever take anything you have to say on any subject seriously than it does about Romney.

9 affenkopf March 8, 2013 at 6:16 am

The Chinese model and the Singaporean model are very much not the same.

10 Todd March 8, 2013 at 8:00 am

Hurray the Chinese model! Hurray Romney, the champion of all efforts to eradicate voter suppression!

11 So Much for Subtlety March 8, 2013 at 10:49 pm

So we are back with why no one should take you seriously – you are equating the corrupt and fraudulent Chinese elections not with corrupt and fraudulent elections in the US – which would be absurd enough as it stands – but with law-based efforts to stamp out corrupt and fraudulent elections?

Oh, well done.

12 TallDave March 9, 2013 at 10:44 pm

Typically what happens in China is that state-owned corporations use the state to ensure competitors face arrest, expropriation, occasionally murder. Their growth will probably end when it starts to require creative destruction. That’s why they’re doing odd things like building ghost cities and high-speed rail — whether this makes economic sense is less important than the fact it doesn’t step on anyone’s toes.

There were no liberal democracies before the Industrial Revolution, which was itself the result of Britain moving toward a more inclusive institutions, esp after 1688. You should read Acemoglu and Robinson on the topic, generally speaking only inclusive political systems allow creative destruction.

13 Rich Berger March 7, 2013 at 3:16 pm

What a sap that Mitt Romney is. He actually worked for his money. The Chicoms know how to do it. Dingy Harry Reid knows how to do it.

14 kvm March 7, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Anyone know which came first–the wealth or congress membership?

15 Tummler March 7, 2013 at 3:38 pm

I wish I was an oligarch 🙁

16 Thor March 7, 2013 at 7:23 pm

You just have to invent something, or work hard, or both.

Unless you are in China, in which case … join the Party.

17 Effem March 7, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Or run a bank that ends up needing a government bailout.

18 Rich Berger March 7, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Why is Romney the benchmark? Oh, this is Bloomberg and Al Hunt still draws breath.

19 Bradley Gardner March 7, 2013 at 6:58 pm

One-third of the delegates in the National People’s Congress are from parties other than the Communist Party. Roughly 15% are minorities.

And 2% are on the rich list.

I’ve never understood this story. The NPC isn’t a legislature, its a networking club with some weird ceremonial functions.

20 Chip March 7, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Surely, Romney is the counterpoint to this story.

He didn’t come from wealth, earned his money in the private sector with govt influence, gave 10% of it away every year and THEN went into politics.

A better example of wealth earned through politics would be Harry Reid.

21 dan1111 March 8, 2013 at 3:33 am

I think you are trying to find too much meaning in the comparison. Romney is a recent candidate for office who was known as being wealthy…many Chinese political leaders are even wealthier. Therefore those Chinese political leaders are very rich.

That’s about it, I think.

22 Chip March 8, 2013 at 7:56 am

Actually, was responding to the comments.

It’s absurd to equate a successful businessman in the US who didn’t use govt influence with the crooks in the Politburo.

23 Shane M March 7, 2013 at 10:52 pm

It’s unfortunate the article referred to Romney as it seems to have derailed the potential of this thread. Closer to the theme of the article is whether “interests of ordinary Chinese” can be represented by a party dominated by the richest in the country? At least that is the stated concern of China’s new leader Xi Jinping.

24 TallDave March 8, 2013 at 12:00 am

A classic test case for Acemoglu and Robinson. If they’re right, growth will stop when the elites are threatened by creative destruction.

25 Alan March 8, 2013 at 6:56 am

American billionaires hire politicians. Chinese billionaires cut out the middle man.

26 superdestroyer March 8, 2013 at 8:11 am

A few years ago the U.S. was headed along the same path when all of the millionaires from Jon Corzine to Mark Dayton were running for office. However, I think many of the uber-rich have found politics boring and do not like people yellling at them all of the time.

27 kiwi dave March 8, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Possibly a side-effect of Citizens United — strict campaign finance rules gave, at least potentially, a large advantage to candidates who could self-fund their campaigns (e.g. Steve Forbes)

28 Chris Wegener March 8, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Does anyone seriously doubt that the percentage of wealthy individuals in our Congress is significantly higher than the Chinese Legislature?

I am deeply amused by all the indignant comments about how the wealthy in America earned their “wealth” without either corruption or government assistance.

Romney as a poster child for wealth is a bad example. Buying companies, loading them with debt, withdrawing the cash from the debt and then cutting the indebted companies loose to sink or swim is hardly a moral way to wealth. If he had started a company other than an investment firm with other peoples money I would say he valuable and admirable, but as he did he is neither.


29 Careless March 8, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Does anyone seriously doubt that the percentage of wealthy individuals in our Congress is significantly higher than the Chinese Legislature?

Erm… yes? Even if there are zero people in the Chinese legislature who are wealthy but aren’t on that list, that’s 9% with almost $300 million. The 90th wealthiest person in the Chinese legislature has almost as much money as the wealthiest member of Congress. The bottom of the top 9% of Congress is worth about $10 million.

30 TallDave March 8, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Buying companies, loading them with debt, withdrawing the cash from the debt and then cutting the indebted companies loose to sink or swim

That’s certainly an amusing fantasy, but of course in the real world you can’t actually make money that way. You don’t “cut loose” a company, you have to find someone to buy it. If you destroy a company’s value, investors won’t pay for it.

Romney bought companies that were foundering and made them profitable. His work is entirely admirable.

31 IMissedSomething March 8, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Romney was a self-made man? In China’s political parlance he is a “princeling.” Several generations of governorships and congressional positions, millions of family assets, and a early career into the Boston elite without any record? Really, if you have ever written that he is a self-made man you need to get out of whatever internet echo chamber generates such memes.

32 CC March 8, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Does their congress even yield any real power? I was under the impression that it was all the Politburo and the congress was just for show.

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