Economic Freedom in the World Today
As a Trustee of the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think tank, I'd like to share with you a new study they recently released. This new report,Economic Freedom of the World: 2011 Annual Report, measures the degree to which policies and institutions of countries are supportive of economic freedom.
The annual peer-reviewed report uses 42 different measures to create an index ranking of 141 countries around the world based on policies that encourage economic freedom. The cornerstones of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete, and security of private property. Economic freedom is measured in five different areas: (1) size of government, (2) legal structure and security of property rights, (3) access to sound money, (4) freedom to trade internationally, and (5) regulation of credit, labour, and business.
Canada scores higher than the United States in this current report, but Canada now scores lower than it did a year ago. Many European countries also scored lower, reflecting the results of regulatory responses to global debt crises. These scores are important because measures of economic freedom year to year show the immediate and long-term consequences of regulations on the health of a nation's economy. Economic freedom is of critical importance for a number of reasons. It leads to greater investment, higher per-capita incomes and growth rates; it leads to less poverty and fosters improvements in the general living conditions of a society; it encourages cooperation, tolerance, and peaceful relations; and it leads to entrepreneurial business activity, which is the opposite of political allocation and crony capitalism.
I trust you will find this report of interest and I hope that you will share it with others who are concerned about the state of economic freedom at home and abroad. The Fraser Institute provides a useful public service: reporting objective information about the economic and social effects of current public policies, and offering evidence-based research and education about policy options that can improve the quality of life for all Canadians. The Institute is a non-profit organization and relies on charitable donations and research grants. You can find additional research from the Institute on a wide range of topics at www.fraserinstitute.org.