The recently-released 2011 Index of Economic Freedom provides a disappointing image of the condition towards which the United States has fallen.
As you can see from this infographic (found at FastCompany), this index rates countries on criteria such as freedoms of business, trade, and investment, as well as freedom from corruption and the rights of laborers. Combing these and other statistics creates an image of the relative economic freedom of each nation–precisely, 183 of them around the world.
Last year, the United States was ranked a still-not-ideal eighth. This year, we have fallen to ninth. The specific areas that have changed are indicated in the above infographic, which is a compilation of data from the Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation. I think the information it contains speaks a pretty clear message: America needs to step up its game. As matters are now, we are taking things in the wrong direction.
While China’s ranking of #153 is actually a drop from its 2010 ranking of #140, this is a result of other countries in the mid-100s increasing in economic freedom rather than conditions in China becoming worse. In fact, China’s index score rose one whole point relative to last year. Though the eastern superpower still lags behind the United States significantly in terms of overall economic freedom, the current issues taking place concerning Chinese-American economic relations ought to encourage us to keep an eye on their rankings in indices such as this one. That is, despite the separation between them and us on the list, it ought to at least be noted that their index score rose while ours declined. More alarming, while current legislation in the U.S. aims to keep business growth relatively stagnant at best, the Chinese are actively pursuing growth at dangerous levels.
Pour through the data yourself at the Heritage Foundation.
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