Worldwide economic freedom retreated for the first time in decades, according to a report published today by the Fraser Institute in association with the Institute of Economic Affairs. Fraser’s oft-cited annual
Economic Freedom of the World
survey has gauged the degree to which various nations interfere with, or fail to secure, their citizens’ rights to property, personal choice, and ability to engage in voluntary market transaction. The report observed that, despite the role of government distortions in the development of the recent financial crisis, governments around the world responded to the crisis with further interference and precipitated the first retreat of global freedom in twenty-five years. Of the countries measured, 88 (71.5%) registered decreases in economic freedom while only 35 (28.5%) saw increases.