The countries of the world have diverged sharply in their responses to the global recession. Some are unwavering in their pursuit of economic freedom, proven over the decades to be the surest way to increase wealth and fight poverty. Others have turned away, seeking economic security through government programmes or controls.
Which path is better? The early results are in. The 2010 Index of Economic Freedom finds that countries that have held true to the principles of economic freedom are recovering more quickly, forging ahead in the global quest for prosperity. For the others, their policies of government intervention and regulation have, so far at least, simply not worked.
And for the first time in the 16-year history of the Index, the United Kingdom has dropped out of the top-ten, falling from 10th to 11th since last year.
'These are deeply depressing numbers for those longing for a sustained economic recovery in the United Kingdom. Just when we need to set free and empower the private sector, Britain is moving in precisely the wrong direction. We need reduced taxation, less regulation and a smaller role for government. What we're getting is exactly the opposite' Mark Littlewood, IEA Director General.
The Index measures economic freedom within 10 specific categories: labour freedom, business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government spending, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights and freedom from corruption. Scores in these categories are averaged to create an overall score. The 2010 Index was edited by Ambassador Terry Miller, Director of Heritage’s Center for International Trade and Economics, and Dr. Kim Holmes, Heritage’s Vice President for foreign affairs.
2010, Published by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, ISBN 978 0 89195 281 7, 472pp, PB