September 21, 2011

Who in the World is Freest of All?

   The long-awaited annual edition of the Economic Freedom of the World has been released by the CATO Institute, American public policy think tank. The CATO team of researchers, led by Dr. James Gwartney (Florida State University), Dr. Robert Lawson (Southern Methodist University), and Dr. Joshua Hall (Beloit College), measure a degree of economic freedom with respect to five areas of economic activity: size of government, rule of law, monetary system, international openness, and government regulation.
  Hong Kong still remains the freest economy of the world, followed by Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Chile, Australia, Canada, Chile, the U.K, Mauritius, and the U.S. This is basically the top 10 of the Economic Freedom of the World report. 
    Zimbabwe is the least free economy of the world, representing the poverty-stricken region of Sub-Saharan Africa. The bottom 10 of the economic freedom rankings also includes Myanmar, Venezuela, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Chad. Let us hope that the new Miss of the Universe from Angola, Leila Lopez, can attract more international attention as well as foreign investors to her country.
    Where is Ukraine? Ukraine with the level of economic freedom measured at 5.7 out of 10 is actually in the bottom 20 economies. While the economic freedom grew during the Yushchenko presidency, Ukraine could not catch up with Russia. The CATO Institute ranks economic freedom in Russia (6.55 out of 10) much higher than in Ukraine by placing the former in the top 80 economies. Due to obvious political reason, Belarus is not in the rankings. If the Yanukovych administration does not stop a self-destructive public policy, Ukraine may stop showing up in the Economic Freedom of the World rankings as well.
    Overall, the CATO Institute points out that economic freedom of the world fell for the second consecutive year: “The average economic freedom score rose from 5.53 (out of 10) in 1980 to 6.74 in 2007, but fell back to 6.64 in 2009, the most recent year for which data are available.”

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