Freedom Isn't Free

FEE takes a look at this year’s Economic Freedom of the World report (now celebrating almost 30 years of hard data collection and analysis!) and says:

The report seeks measures of five key indicators of economic freedom: security of property rights, soundness of money, size of government, freedom to trade globally, and the extent of regulation. All their measures are transparent and heavily scrutinized by experts on an ongoing basis. If you question how a certain measure was arrived at, you are free to do so. It’s all there, even the fantastically detailed data sets, free for the download.

The report examines 157 countries with data available for 100 countries back to 1980. A total of 42 distinct variables are used in the index.

The big takeaway from this report: freer economies vastly outperform unfree economies by every measure of wellbeing.

That might not be entirely true, since there are two measures by which freer economies do tend to underperform.

• Businesses and individuals with established markets and fortunes are more susceptible to disruptive innovators with their fancy new products and services which probably shouldn’t even be legal anyway.

• Politicians and regulators are afforded fewer opportunities for graft, vote-buying, and the simple pleasures of bossing people around.

By those measures then, surely free economies aren’t nearly all they’re cracked up to be, requiring the Smartest People in the Room to “save capitalism from itself.”