How free is Australia?

Here’s the Cato Institute economic freedom ranking for the year 2008:

1. Hong Kong

2. Singapore

3. New Zealand

4. Switzerland

5. United Kingdom

6. Chile

7. Canada

8. United States (tied)

8. Australia (tied)

9. Ireland

The US has dropped in the rankings, from second place in 2000. “”The rule of law, government spending, and regulation are the areas where the United States saw the most troubling declines in its ratings this decade,” comments Cato scholar Ian Vasquez.

Economic freedom, as Milton Friedman notes in his book Capitalism and Freedom, is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for political freedom. The one complements the other.

5 thoughts on “How free is Australia?

  1. Gee Sukrit, how inconvenient. Australia and the US are tied.

    If you take into account the number of countries the US has “invaded” compared to Australia’s paltry list (East Timor, Solomon Islands, Iraq and Afghanistan), the US must have a lot more freedom than Australia in other areas.

    On that basis how about some anti-Australia posts to balance things up a bit? Or even anti-India? They’ll generate site traffic, honest.

  2. If you take into account real democratic freedom, and compare both lists, then New Zealand looks better than Australia! Obviously both lists must be hopelessly wrong.

  3. Canada and the UK above the USA and Aus?

    I think a good measure of “tax” as it were is what I call “DWLC – SRI” – the % cost of GDP of deadweight loss costed:

    – spending (recognising the tax structure and the deadweight loss costed forced “savings” in budget surpluses)

    – regulation

    – inflation

    Does anyone come up with a measure like this? How then do different nations fare?

  4. clearly its economic not political or social freedom we’re taking about, or otherwise the ultimate nanny states of Singapore and Switzerland would be a fair way down the list.

    Is it the low taxes (Singapore) and protetcion of privacy (Switzerland) that gets them up the lists?

  5. The Heritage Index of Economic Freedom has a bit different rankings

    Hong Kong 1 [90.3]
    Singapore 2 [87.4]
    Ireland 3 [82.4]
    Australia 4 [82.0]
    United States 5 [80.6]
    New Zealand 6 [80.2]
    Canada 7 [80.2]

    From my understanding both of these rankings are just for economic freedom. The Heritage Index systematically breaks down how they score each one and why.

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