Get the latest news, research, commentary and analysis on what is impacting your quality of life. From top scholars to regular citizens, this blog’s contributors make the latest in empirical research on economic freedom accessible and easy to understand, issue by issue.
Episode One: Economic Freedom & Quality of Life
Across the globe, the societies that have the best quality of life are those with the highest levels of economic freedom. From lower unemployment to better-protected civil rights and cleaner environments, economic freedom is vital to improving the well-being of society, especially for the most vulnerable.
Imagine you had to live in a country from one of these two lists for the rest of your life. Which list would you choose? If you’re like most people, you would choose A. Let’s take a look at why that is.
Take Chile and Venezuela. Chile’s poverty rate is half that of Venezuela’s. And its inflation rate is a fraction of the size. Actually, all of list A appears to be better off than B. Look at income per person. It’s 10 times higher, on average, in list A. But these lists aren’t organized by income. They’re organized…by economic freedom.
List A countries have the most free economies in the world. List B…the least free. Across the globe, we see a strong relationship between economic freedom and people’s quality of life. For instance,
- People in the most free countries earn, on average, over eight times more than people in the least free.
- The poor earn ten times more.
- People in the most free countries are happier.
- They have better-protected civil rights.
- Cleaner environments.
- And, the average person lives 20 years longer.
The freest countries also have:
- Less corruption.
- Less infant mortality.
- Less child labor.
- And less unemployment.
So if you care about improving people’s lives, then you really care about economic freedom. And having economic freedom means…
- Your property is protected..under an impartial rule of law.
- You’re free to trade with others for what you need and want.
- Your money keeps its value because your national currency is stable.
- And, government stays small relative to the size of the economy.
For years, the US was among the world leaders in economic freedom. But over the last decade, the US’s ranking fell. And it’s projected to keep falling. The question is: will our quality of life fall with it?
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