Why Has State Capture in South Africa not Led To Growth and Development As It Did In China?


Putting aside our moral and political disgust, it turns out that the evidence from China and elsewhere is that corruption of a certain kind sometimes facilitates development, even if over the long-term it weakens institutions. Yet in South Africa, with similar patterns of corruption to those in China, this has not been the experience. The difference seems to reside in the autonomy and merit of China and South Africa’s respective civil services. In China, unlike in South Africa, public administrations are sufficiently capable and merit-based that they can successfully implement projects, even when they are the products of corruption.

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