Economic Freedom key factor in strengthening social and political freedom
Economic freedom matters; it helps strengthen other freedoms and is related to a higher standard of living. The Cato Institute recently released the Economic Freedom of the World index and their report makes it very clear that economic freedom is just as important as other kinds of freedom. By indexing 42 pieces of objectively-measured data, the authors reduce four different areas of economic freedom into a single score.
The Cato Institute finds that the economically freest 25 percent of nations have average incomes 11 times greater than the least free 25 percent of nations. Those same nations are not only richer but they are getting richer almost seven times faster than the least free. Living in one of the economically freest nations also adds about 20 years to one's life, on average.
For those most concerned with civil liberties and the environment, it turns out economic freedom is key. Economically free nations score much better on measures of civil liberty than do economically repressed nations. And, the average environmental score for economically free nations was 22 points higher than for the least free.
Too often, regulations are imposed and economic freedom is restricted in the name of enhancing other freedoms. But reducing economic freedom will eventually have long-term implications on social and political freedom. Policymakers should keep economic freedom at the top of their priority list.
Byron Schlomach, Ph.D. is the new director of the Goldwater Institute Center for Economic Prosperity.
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