TONY LEON: When the millionaires flee your country, be afraid
'A 2016 survey by the same outfit noted that in 2015 South Africa lost 950 millionaires to emigration'
Other than the boisterous media space here, it is easy to see how we have slid ever further down the totem pole of attractive places to be for the well-heeled, the very demographic who have the ease of mobility not given so easily to less wealthy citizens. Since the report, further tax hikes have been given to the top bracket of payers, the debate on expropriation without compensation has been cranked up to fever pitch, and government intervention has increased.
And in the same period the growth percentage has been outpaced by population increase. Of course the arrival of Cyril Rampahosa has changed the negative optics somewhat. But as a mergers and acquisition lawyer at Norton Rose Fulbright, Kevin Cron, told the Sunday Times, “investor interest is still quite cautious”.
Writing about the super-rich in South Africa is hardly the formula to win plaudits from the politically correct or the army of virtue-signalling trolls who inhabit the Twittersphere and blogosphere which is laughingly mislabelled “social media”. Antisocial media, given the outpourings of bile and hate often spewed on these platforms, might be a more accurate label. However, Ruchir Sharma – author of the excellent study The Rise and Fall of Nations: Forces of Change in the Post-Crisis World – hardly fears the denizens of democratic outrage. Perhaps his day job as global strategist at Morgan Stanley Investment Management inoculates him from such concern; but his expertise and research is more focused on developing than mature markets.This past weekend, in the pages of the New York Times, Sharma penned an interesting article headlined: “The Millionaires are Fleeing. Maybe You Should, Too”. He notes: “When a country begins to fall into economic and political difficulty, wealthy people a...