Economic freedom is… less poverty, higher literacy, lower infant mortality, longer life expectancy, better protected property rights, higher incomes, less corruption, and cleaner environments.

It is… movie theaters, texting, electricity, eBay, my dinner cooking in the microwave, electric razors, washing machines, air conditioning, airplanes, and dishwashers (something my current apartment is lacking and very much wish I had).

… all of which lead to a better quality of life.  But why?

According to the Frasier Institute’s 2011 Economic Freedom of the World Report, which analyzes 141 countries with data back to 1980, ‘Economic Freedom’ is:

  • personal choice,
  • voluntary exchange coordinated by markets,
  • freedom to enter and compete in markets, and
  • protection of persons and their property from aggression by others.

This means individuals are free to choose for themselves and engage in voluntary exchange as long as they are not harming persons or the property of others.  Individuals are able to compete, trade, and cooperate with others as they wish as long as violence, fraud, and theft are not used.

Discovered in the study is the strong correlation between economic freedom and a higher quality of life.  The most economically free countries, such as Canada, Australia, Japan, and the United States, earn on average over 8 times more than people living in the least free countries, like Zimbabwe, Egypt, Republic of the Congo, and Iran.  The most free countries live nearly 20 years longer, have less than 1% of children (ages 10-14) in the labor force, have better protected political rights & civil liberties, significantly lower infant mortality rates, lower unemployment rates, and cleaner environments.

If you were coming to Earth for the first time and were looking for a place for you and your mother to live, which set of countries listed above – the economically free or the least free – would you choose?

Here is a great 60 second video on Economic Freedom.

Write to Greg George at gmg@gregmgeorge.com.


This post can also be found at the Hillsdale Daily News and The Daily Reporter.