Aspiring billionaires should consider a move to Israel, according to a report released Monday by the UK’s Centre for Policy Studies. The new study examines where “super-entrepreneurs,” defined as billionaires who have appeared on Forbes’ lists of the world’s richest people who earned their fortunes instead of inheriting them, are able to develop and thrive. Israel is the second-best place in the world to “raise” a billionaire entrepreneur, behind Hong Kong.
Israel, according to the center’s “Super-Entrepreneurs: And How Your Country Can Get Them” report, has the right conditions for breeding billionaires, who are only the tip of the iceberg of a society that encourages enterprise, innovation, education and leaves entrepreneurs alone to come up with the innovations in advanced industries that create wealth.
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The survey of the 34 member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which served as the basis for the center’s report, shows that Israel has about two billionaires per million people. Third on the list was the United States, with about 1.4 billionaires per million people, followed by Switzerland (1.3), Singapore and Norway (1.2 each), and Ireland (less than one). Israel has a bigger population than any of the list’s top seven countries, besides the US.
Sixteen self-made billionaires out of a population of eight million may indicate nothing but good luck or nefarious activities, but the center was careful to weed out billionaires who may have appeared on the Forbes list but were not honest entrepreneurs and hadn’t made their money “the hard way.”
Russia would likely not have appeared on the list, the report said, though it has not yet been accepted as an OECD member. “The former Soviet Union is particularly characterized by billionaires who appear to have become rich by taking over previous government companies after the fall of communism. Corruption and political connections have played an important role in their wealth formation. Many Russian billionaires have, at best, taken assets from the public, rather than contributing to economic growth. Others appear to be a mix of creators and rent seekers.” Those are not the kind of people the center is talking about, the report said.
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Photo: 401(K) 2013