U.S., world continue to fall in economic freedom
And make no mistake . . . economic freedom isn’t separate from personal freedom. It’s ALL personal freedom.
When we talk about “economic freedom,” what do we mean—and why does it matter?
Economic freedom is the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labor and property. In an economically free society, individuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please, with that freedom both protected by the state and unconstrained by the state.
Since reaching a global peak in 2008, sadly, economic freedom around the world has continued to stagnate.
Today launches the 19th edition of the Index of Economic Freedom, produced by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. The 2013 Index was edited by Ambassador Terry Miller, director of Heritage’s Center for International Trade and Economics; Kim Holmes, Ph.D., Heritage’s Distinguished Fellow; and Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D., Heritage’s president.
What are the reasons for the worldwide sluggishness? As Ambassador Miller writes in The Wall Street Journal, “Particularly concerning are the rise of populist ‘democratic’ movements that use the coercive power of government to redistribute income and control economic activity.”
While “corrupt political and legal environments cause underdevelopment in poorer countries,” Miller writes, “unfortunately, economic favoritism and cronyism exist in advanced democracies, too.” Americans are well aware, and the overall U.S. score has been dropping since 2009. From 2009 to 2010, the U.S. declined from being a “free” economy to “mostly free.” This year, it ranks 10th in the world.
One reason for America’s lack of freedom is that its scores on regulatory efficiency—which include business freedom and labor freedom—have dropped. The editors point to the fact that “over 100 new major federal regulations have been imposed on business operations since early 2009 with annual costs of more than $46 billion.”