freedom and economic prosperity. I was pleased to see that Ian Vásquez of the Cato Institute and Tanja Porčnik of the Visio Institute have put together The Human Freedom Index. Here are some of the findings:
"The Human Freedom Index... presents a broad measure of human freedom, understood as the absence of coercive constraint. It uses 76 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom... The HFI covers 152 countries for 2012, the most recent year for which sufficient data is available. ...The United States is ranked in 20th place. Other countries rank as follows: Germany (12), Chile (18), Japan (28), France (33), Singapore (43), South Africa (70), India (75), Brazil (82), Russia (111), China (132), Nigeria (139), Saudi Arabia (141), Venezuela (144), Zimbabwe (149), and Iran (152)."
At 116 pages it's a hefty read - and one that I've only skim-read - but all the evidence is that there is a strong correlation between freedom and prosperity. One interesting exception is Singapore, which ranks 2nd for economic freedom, but only 75 for personal freedom, suggesting that it is one of the few countries that has thrived economically while curtailing many of the personal freedoms more liberated countries enjoy. The other stand out fact is that only two countries made the top 10 for both economic freedom and personal freedom - and they are Switzerland and Finland. Well worth a look if you get a few minutes.