Tuesday, April 06, 2010

2010 Index of Economic Freedom

Earlier this year I noted the Heritage Foundation's release of its 2010 Index of Economic Freedom, in which Canada has surpassed the U.S. Looking it over today, however, I noticed two items perhaps worth highlighting:

* Two years ago, with an 80.6 rating, the U.S. was rated as an economically "free" country. We have now slipped into the "mostly free" category.

* English is either the official language, or one of the most widely spoken languages, in all of the top 5 countries and 8 of the top 11. This lends itself to some interesting hypothesizing about culture and economics.


Whiskey Jim said...

Your post naturally intersects philosophy and economics. Here's why: the richest societies in the world all owe imperial Britain a large thank you. The third world 'success' stories are all British as well.

Why? More broadly, the 'work hard, stiff upper lip' culture might also be explained as the Judeo-Hellenic tradition.

Which brings us to the one common irony of both socialism and libertarianism; they both depend on a 'religious' culture for their success, but both tend to actively destroy it.

As someone rationally attracted to libertarianism, I can not deny the effect the church has had on western success. Abolishing it and its effects, and yes, that includes the definition of marriage, can not be good, and produces measurable drags on economies over generations.

Colin said...

Your comments reminds me of Max Weber and the Protestant work ethic.

While I am inclined to believe culture -- of which religion is a part -- influences economic vitality, it is difficult say how exactly that manifests itself or the degree of its significance.