vampire state
n. A country out of which a dictator or ruling elite sucks money and resources.

Example Citation:
"Africa is littered with Big Men who fell hard. ... Some have presided over systems so corrupt that they've given rise to new political terms — like 'kleptocracy' and 'vampire state.' They plunder the continent's natural resources and leave little in their wake but ruin."
—Jeffrey Bartholet, "A Big Man in Africa," Newsweek, May 14, 2001

Earliest Citation:
"Corruption has been rampant. ... It even involves lowest rank officials in villages," said Loekman Soetrisno, a professor at the Gajah Mada university in central Java. 'We hope that this nation will not tend to be a vampire state, where bureaucrats completely suck the state's wealth' and common people await any opportunity to rob the wealthy, he said Thursday.
Associated Press, January 5, 1996

Let me first note that, contrary to what the above Newsweek citation asserts, kleptocracy — government by thieves — is not a "new political term." Not even close: the Oxford English Dictionary has a citation from 1819. However, vampire state is quite new, as shown by the earliest citation.

Note, too, that a different sense — a play on New York state's official nickname: the Empire State — is a bit older:

Both Rinfret and London have said at the conventions that designated them for governor that they do not want to wage negative campaigns. Each says he wants to debate the issues, the foremost concerning the state's economy. To date, honors for the sharpest quip (is this negative campaigning, Mario?) go to London for this crack: "They used to call it the Empire State. Now it's known as the Vampire State. They're sucking the blood out of the working class with their taxes."
—Dick Zander, "Race for Governor Bound to Be Loud," Newsday, June 4, 1990

Related Words: