The 2012 Index of Economic Freedom has been released. Its opening page states: "When institutions protect the liberty of individuals, greater prosperity results for all. Economist Adam Smith formed this theory in his influential work, The Wealth of Nations, in 1776. In 2012, his theory is measured - and proven - in the Index of Economic Freedom….
"For over a decade, The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation,
's preeminent think tank, have tracked the march of economic freedom around the world with the influential Index of Economic Freedom. Since 1995, the Index has brought Smith's theories about liberty, prosperity and economic freedom to life by creating 10 benchmarks that gauge the economic success of 184 countries around the world. With its user-friendly format, readers can see how 18th century theories on prosperity and economic freedom are realities in the 21st century." Washington
The Index has the
dropping from ninth place in 2011 to tenth place in 2012. "Sharp increases in government spending and more costly regulations contributed to another decline in the United States ' ranking in the annual Index…." The top ten nations in economic freedom are as follows: 1) Hong Kong, 2) Singapore, 3) Australia, 4) New Zealand, 5) Switzerland, 6) Canada, 7) Chile, 8) Mauritius, 9) Ireland, and 10) United States. The top five nations are considered to be "free" economies while the next five are considered to be "mostly free." United States
The ten freedoms included in the Index are: 1) Business Freedom, 2) Trade Freedom, 3) Fiscal Freedom, 4) Government Spending, 5) Monetary Freedom, 6) Investment Freedom, 7) Financial Freedom, 8) Property Rights, 9) Freedom from Corruption, and 10) Labor Freedom.
A Press Release stated: "Economic freedom declined worldwide in 2011 as many countries attempted - without success - to spend their way out of recess….
"The average economic freedom score for the 2012 Index stands at 59.5 (on a scale in which 100 represents the ideal), down two-tenths of a point from 2011.
"`The mounting burden of reckless government spending has overwhelmed gains in economic freedom in other policy areas,' write the Index editors. `Tension between government control and the free market has heightened around the world, particularly in developed countries.'"
The Index site includes an excellent video entitled "The Role of Economic Freedom." I recommend that you take the time to watch the video.