18th folks. The mighty United States of America, land of the free and home of the brave, ranks 18th in the world in terms of economic freedom.
In the attached column Richard Rahn rightly declares that such a ranking should be a wake-up call for America. How could we let this happen?
A decade of trampling all over the Constitution since September 11th 2001 has something to do with it. The drug war, which gives police the power to seize property even without a conviction among other things also has something to do with it. There are the Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank laws which have piled massive regulation onto the shoulders of businesses. And of course there is the steady rise in the number of government/business “partnerships,” i.e. crony capitalism.
(From the Washington Times)
“A few facts will help illustrate why economic freedom is so important. The freest quartile of countries had an average per capita income of $37,691, while the least free quartile had a per capita income of just $5,188 in 2010. The freest quartile grew at an average annual rate of 3.6 percent 1990-2010, while the quartile that was least free only grew at an average rate of 1.6 percent over the same period. Life expectancy in the freest quartile was 79.5 years in 2010, as contrasted with 61.6 years in the least free quartile. Those people who are more concerned about the poor than economic growth should take note that the poorest 10 percent in the least-free quartile only had a per capita income of $1,209 in 2010, as contrasted with a per capita income of $11,382 for the poorest 10 percent in the freest quartile. Greater economic freedom is also associated with more political and civil liberties. In sum, by almost any measure of human well-being, a person is far better off being in a country with a high degree of economic freedom than in one with restricted economic freedoms.”