We’re number… eighteen?

This week the Fraser Institute released its Economic Freedom of the World: 2012 Annual Report. The announcement comes with good news and bad news.  The good news: the report is available for free and contains thought-provoking research about nearly 150 countries. The bad news: the United States has dropped to number eighteen in the unadjusted rankings.

Eighteen might not sound too bad considering about 150 countries were analyzed for the year of 2010.  However, it is the lowest rank ever for the United States in one of the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom Reports.  The United States ranked 12th in 2009, 8th in 2005, 2nd in 2000, 4th in 1995 and 3rd in 1990.  That’s a significant drop for our country, which the report even acknowledges was “long considered the standard bearer for economic freedom among large industrial nations.”

In the Fraser Institute’s press release, they explained that for the purposes of their report, economic freedom is “measured in five different areas: (1) size of government, (2) legal structure and security of property rights, (3) access to sound money, (4) freedom to trade internationally, and (5) regulation of credit, labour, and business.” Within those general areas, they looked at twenty-four components with forty-two distinct variables including protection of property rights, administrate requirements regarding business regulations and bureaucracy costs. Here at PLF we tackle these freedom issues on a daily basis: the size of government, security of property rights, economic liberty, and issues relating to regulation of credit, labor, and business.  Of course, you can learn about PLF’s work relating to property rights, individual rights, environmental regulations, and more on our website.

It is worth taking a look at the report and pausing to reflect on the great importance of the fight for limited government, security of property rights, and economic freedom.  We must not take our liberties for granted, but rather advocate tirelessly to strengthen them.  And that is what PLF is doing every day.