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Thursday, December 11, 2003

A lot of folded U$D 20 bills

According to the latest World Bank figures, around 5 per cent of worldwide GDP is lost due to corruption.

Let's go beyond the natural half-hopeless, half-indignant response to this number. Still using data from the World Bank, global GDP in 2002 was around 32 trillion dollars. Using sophisticated mathematical calculations, that leads me to conclude that about 1.6 trillion dollars were "misplaced" due to corruption. That's more than the GDP of the UK. Almost half of Japan's.

To put it this way: if it were a country's GDP, it would be the fourth richest in the world.

After the BCCI, Enron, Halliburton and just plain living in Argentina for twenty four years, I thought I could no longer be shocked by reports about corruption. But the sheer magnitude of this World Bank report forces me to reconsider my mental model about how the world works.

It's the UK's entire GDP...

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