Spoiler: Rule of law is weaker, and corruption is stronger in autocratic countries. This is not only detrimental for today’s generation but also for future generations. The reason is that stronger corruption and lower levels of social trust in autocracies distorts incentives and thereby savings and investments decisions. This makes innovation weaker in autocracies than in countries which are characterised by institutions rendering them rule of law and weak levels of corruption.
Spoiler: Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2020 shows little progress. Corruption declined 26 countries but increased in 22 countries. More than two thirds of the 180 countries that are covered, score below 50 on the index where 100 is the utopian score for a country without corruption.
There is as usual a clear difference between autocracies and democracies. Transformations of countries from autocracies to democracies normally brings about less corruption. And corruption normally grows stronger in countries which turn autocratic as the Hungarian example shows. Poland seems however to be an excemption. Even though its government has reduced the media’s freedom and the judiciary’s independence, the members of the government do not seem to have taken advantage of these opportunities to enrich themselves.
Spoiler: The Brexit-deal is finally done. A hard Brexit was fortunately avoided. The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement is perhaps the freest trade agreement concluded so far. Yet it raises barriers to trade compared to when the UK was part of the EU. The agreed zero tariffs and quotas are a fantastic achievement. But that only applies for trade in goods. Trade in services restricted. And services constitute 70% of UK GDP.
Spoiler: Technological progress is making green energy cheaper. This is bad news for Putin. He became president when oil prices started to rise again. Putin has done nothing to reform the economy, so the Russian is still heavily dependent on fossil fuel prices. Energy related revenues constitute more than a third of Russian budget revenues.
World market demand for fossil fuels falls as countries strive to attain zero carbon emission targets. This will translate into low future growth for the Russian economy and make it difficult for Putin to fulfil his promises about higher living standards for the Russian people. Russian foreign policy will also have fewer instrument. The Kremlin won’t be able to use gas or oil to weaponize foreign policy when other economies become less dependent on fossil fuel.