Moving “forward”?

compiled & edited by Daniel Hagadorn

Politicians are selling the idea that our economy is improving, but is anyone buying?

SOURCE: William Stout

QUESTION: How does the United States economy compare to the rest of the world?

According to the Fraser Institute, who publishes the Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) index:

“The index published in ‘Economic Freedom of the World’ measures the degree to which the policies and institutions of countries are supportive of economic freedom. The cornerstones of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete, and security of privately owned property. Forty-two data points are used to construct a summary index and to measure the degree of economic freedom in five broad areas.”

1) Size of Government: Expenditures, Taxes, and Enterprises;

2) Legal Structure and Security of Property Rights;

3) Access to Sound Money;

4) Freedom to Trade Internationally;

5) Regulation of Credit, Labor, and Business.

  • In 2000, the United States ranked 4th behind (1) Hong Kong, (2) Singapore, and (3) New Zealand.
  • But by 2009, the United States ranked 6th behind (1) Hong Kong, (2) Singapore, (3) New Zealand, (4) Switzerland, and (5) Chile.[1]
  • In 2010, the United States again ranked 6th behind (1) Hong Kong, (2) Singapore, (3) New Zealand, (4) Switzerland, and (5) Chile.[2]
  • Then in 2011, the United States ranked 9th behind (1) Hong Kong, (2) Singapore, (3) New Zealand, (4) Switzerland, (5) Australia, (6) Canada, (7) Chile, (7) United Kingdom, and (8) Mauritius.[3]
  • In 2012, the United States now ranks 18th behind (1) Hong Kong, (2) Singapore, (3) New Zealand, (4) Switzerland, (5) Australia, (5) Canada, (6) Bahrain, (7) Mauritius, (8) Finland, (9) Chile, (12) United Kingdom, et. al.[4]

Is this what our politicians mean by moving America “forward”?


[1] James D. Gwartney, Robert Lawson, Joshua C. Hall, Herbert Grubel, Jakob de Haan, Jan-Egbert Sturm & Eelco Zandberg, “Economic Freedom of the World: 2009 Annual Report” (Economic Freedom Network, 2009).

[2] James D. Gwartney, Joshua C. Hall & Robert Lawson, “Economic Freedom of the World: 2010 Annual Report” (Fraser Institute, 2010).

[3] James Gwartney, Robert Lawson & Joshua Hall, “Economic Freedom of the World: 2011 Annual Report” (Fraser Institute, 2011).

[4] James Gwartney, Robert Lawson & Joshua Hall, “Economic Freedom of the World: 2012 Annual Report” (Fraser Institute, 2012).

Leave a Reply

Using Gravatars in the comments - get your own and be recognized!

XHTML: These are some of the tags you can use: <a href=""> <b> <blockquote> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>