The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the simple fact there is a correlation between democracy and human freedom. Ian Vasquez (Cato Institute) and Tanja Porchnik (Visio Institute) have put together The Human Freedom Index. The authors gave equal weight to personal freedom and economic freedom and explained how they built their index.
“One of the biggest challenges in constructing any index is the organization and weighting of the variables. Our guiding principle is that the structure should be simple and transparent. … The economic freedom index receives half the weight in the overall index, while safety and security and other personal freedoms that make up our personal freedom index receive the remaining weight.”
The authors described the Index and gave some key findings: “The Human Freedom Index … presents a broad measure of human freedom, understood as the absence of coercive constraint. It uses 76 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom … The HFI covers 152 countries for 2012, the most recent year for which sufficient data is available. … The United States is ranked in 20th place. Other countries rank as follows: Germany (12), Chile (18), Japan (28), France (33), Singapore (43), South Africa (70), India (75), Brazil (82), Russia (111), China (132), Nigeria (139), Saudi Arabia (141), Venezuela (144), Zimbabwe (149), and Iran (152)….
“Countries in the top quartile of freedom enjoy a significantly higher per capita income ($30,006) than those in other quartiles; the per capita income in the least-free quartile is $2,615. The HFI finds a strong correlation between human freedom and democracy. Hong Kong is an outlier in this regard. The findings in the HFI suggest that freedom plays an important role in human well-being.”