The State of Economic Freedom
The great news for humanity: Economic freedom around the world is on the rise.
This means liberation for millions and billions of people. What a change from 20 years ago, when so many lived under despotism and socialist slavery.
These people are freer, and getting freer. More people avail themselves to the global division of labor than ever before. Poverty, hunger, and violence are falling. Technology is linking people as never before. The future is bright.
All of this information comes from one of my favorite ongoing projects :Economic Freedom of the World, an annual index that attempts to quantify what really matters in this world. It tries its best to assemble as much of the data available and keep the quantification methods consistent year by year, so we can gain a better picture of the trends.
This index lists countries by most to least free, using every available objective criterion. Are people free to make contracts, keep what they earn, use a sound currency, rely on some degree of legal stability, trade internationally, associate as they please toward their mutual well-being?
The more people can do this, the higher their countries rank on the scale. The more that government interferes with their lives, the lower on the scale they rank.
- ‘Nations in the top quartile of economic freedom had an average per capita GDP of $37,691 in 2010, compared to $5,188 for bottom quartile nations in 2010 current international dollars
- In the top quartile, the average income of the poorest 10% was $11,382, compared to $1,209 in the bottom in 2010 current international dollars
- Interestingly, the average income of the poorest 10% in the most economically free nations is more than twice the overall average income in the least free nations.
- Life expectancy is 79.5 years in the top quartile compared to 61.6 years in the bottom quartile
- Political and civil liberties are considerably higher in economically free nations than in unfree nations.’
What is the relationship between freedom and prosperity? They are directly related. If this index doesn’t prove it to a person’s satisfaction, nothing on this Earth will prove the point.
We think we live in the age of science. Maybe so. But ideology remains more powerful. Otherwise, we would see a gigantic rush the world over to free the market, and fast. It’s the path to prosperity, peace, and human flourishing.
Even if you don’t understand the logic, you can at least look at the numbers. You have to postulate an amazing number of coincidences to come up with any other explanation for why freedom is associated with prosperity and despotism is associated with poverty.
Contributing Writer, Money Morning
Publisher’s Note: This is an edited version of an article that first appeared in Laissez-Faire Today
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