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U.S. 18th in economic freedom

By Dian Vujovich

Oh my. If you’re a believer in studies then what’s in the Economic Freedom of the World Report of 2012 from the CATO Institute might be surprising.


America’s status in the world as a hub for economic freedoms isn’t exactly anything to crow about. In fact, according to the latest Economic Freedom of the World Report, the U.S. ranked 18th out of 144 nations for 2010, the year most recent data is available. In 2000 we ranked second.


Each month, I get a Hong Kong Digest email from Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office. In their August-September issue, a headline about how Hong Kong continued to be the world’s freest economy caught my eye. So I clicked in the appropriate spot to learn more.


In this 16th edition of Economic Freedom of the World Report (EFW), 42 variables are considered and then scored to create a country’s ranking. The variables fall under five broad headings and include things like the size of government, how sound their currency is, how much freedom there is in the country for competition, personal choice and the security of private property.


The picture this report paints of the U.S. shows America’s changing economy in an ever-changing world.


From the report: “From 1980 to 2000, the U.S. was generally rated the third freest economy in the world, ranking behind only Hong Kong and Singapore. After increasing steadily during the period from 1980 to 2000, the chain-linked EFW rating of the U.S. fell from 8.65 in 2000 to 8.21 in 2005 and 7.70 in 2010. The chain-linked ranking of the U.S. has fallen precipitously from second in 2000 to eighth in 2005 and 19th in 2010 (unadjusted ranking of 18th)”


Of course, the U.S. could have ranked much lower. And, when measured against other large economies around the globe, the 18th spot looks pretty strong. Japan, for instance, ranked 20th; Germany 31st; Russia, 95th; and China, 107th.


At the bottom of the list where country’s in Africa— Mozambique and Burundi were tied for the 10th worst position.


The Economic Freedom of the World 2012 Annual Report is at:


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