For over a decade, The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation, Washington's preeminent think tank, have tracked the march of economic freedom around the world with the influential Index of Economic Freedom. Since 1995, the Index has brought Smith's theories about liberty, prosperity and economic freedom to life by creating 10 benchmarks that gauge the economic success of 184 countries around the world. With its user-friendly format, readers can see how 18th century theories on prosperity and economic freedom are realities in the 21st century.
The Index covers 10 freedoms – from property rights to entrepreneurship – in 184 countries.
The Top 10 Countries on the Index of Economic Freedom are:
- Hong Kong 89.9
- Singapore 87.5
- Australia 83.1
- New Zealand 82.1
- Switzerland 81.1
- Canada 79.9
- Chile 78.3
- Mauritius 77.0
- Ireland 76.9
- United States 76.3
The Wall Street Journal notes that this year's index reflects a step backwards for economic freedoms around the world in 2012 - with countries in North America and Europe leading the global decline thanks to excessive government regulations and government stimulus spending.
As for the least economically free countries on the Index? They include:
North Korea, the least economically free country had a score of 1.0
The next least free were Zimbabwe (26.3), Cuba (28.3), Libya (35.9), Eritrea (36.2), Venezuela (38.1), Burma (38.7), Democratic Republic of Congo (41.1), and Iran (42.3).
Chile is in the top 10 - Venezuela is in the bottom 10 - how does that effect the people?