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Debates Forum

  1. 06 Aug '10 00:56 / 1 edit
    http://www.heritage.org/Index/TopTen.aspx

    What is economic freedom?
    Economic freedom is the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labor and property. In an economically free society, individuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please, with that freedom both protected by the state and unconstrained by the state. In economically free societies, governments allow labor, capital and goods to move freely, and refrain from coercion or constraint of liberty beyond the extent necessary to protect and maintain liberty itself. (See the Methodology.)


    2.2 years left under Obama, how much more damage can he do? A LOT!!
  2. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    06 Aug '10 01:00 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Hugh Glass
    http://www.heritage.org/Index/TopTen.aspx
    Wow. That chart says we're the most corrupt of the top ten.

    EDIT - No, Chile, #10 has us beat.
  3. 06 Aug '10 06:05 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Hugh Glass
    What is economic freedom?
    Economic freedom is the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labor and property. In an economically free society, individuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please, with that freedom both protected by the state and unconstrained by the state. In economically free societies, g ...[text shortened]... erty beyond the extent necessary to protect and maintain liberty itself. (See the Methodology.)
    Odd that you seem to be blaming Obama. What did he do?

    Also, your definition of economic freedom is not necessarily desirable. Much more desirable would be economic democracy as recently discussed by rwingett.

    I am also not sure what your definition of economic freedom is meant to include. For example, I may be free to apply for jobs, but if I don't have the skills and thus don't get a good job with a good salary, is that really economic freedom? What constraints are we talking about?

    I also think fiscal freedom is a big mistake, and I thought that most Americans did too after the recent fiasco.
  4. 06 Aug '10 07:28 / 3 edits
    Seems like some arbitrary criteria for economic freedom. How does "government size" impact economic freedom? Is there some kind of business I can't start because of government size? Is there some kind of job I can't take? Is there some kind of education I can't get? And what is "fiscal freedom"?

    Edit: here is the own explanation from the website:

    "This component considers the level of government expenditures as a percentage of GDP. Government expenditures, including consumption and transfers, account for the entire score.

    No attempt has been made to identify an ideal level of government expenditures. The ideal level will vary from country to country, depending on factors ranging from culture to geography to level of development. The methodology treats zero government spending as the benchmark, and underdeveloped countries with little government capacity may receive artificially high scores as a result. However, such governments, which can provide few if any public goods, will be penalized by lower scores on some of the other components of economic freedom (such as property rights and financial freedom)."

    In other words: we don't really know what the ideal government size is, so we take some point we know to be far from the ideal size (why?) to bias the results to what we'd like to see.

    Edit2: and then they added "fiscal freedom", which is apparently a measure of how much taxes people and businesses pay. Essentially it's the same as government size, although measured indirectly. Seems like they just wanted to give government size extra weight, for unknown reasons.

    Edit3: oh right, the study is funded by a conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation. Surely, no one takes this sort of study seriously?
  5. 06 Aug '10 10:25
    Not taking into account the government size, Hong Kong scores 88.8. Denmark scores 90.2.
  6. 06 Aug '10 13:57 / 1 edit
    Among the countries with a major economy, the US is #1 (or #2 if you count Canada as a country with a major economy). On a list prepared by the Heritage Foundation.

    Not bad for a country that's being run by a bunch of statist socialists
  7. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    06 Aug '10 16:49
    We have high "labor freedom". I wonder what that means?
  8. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    06 Aug '10 18:28
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Seems like some arbitrary criteria for economic freedom. How does "government size" impact economic freedom? Is there some kind of business I can't start because of government size?
    Yes.

    Government size means government pays for and runs more thing. Ergo, I cannot start a business providing those things.

    If the government pays for a single payer healthcare system, I cannot open a health insurance company.

    If the government pays for skymarshalls, I cannot open a business providing armed in-flight security.

    If the government hires more police, demand for private security will decrease.

    etc. etc.

    That's not always necessarily a bad thing; but bigger government does mean less economic freedom.
  9. 06 Aug '10 18:29
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    We have high "labor freedom". I wonder what that means?
    According to the website it's calculated according to how easily one can hire and fire workers and how high the minimum wage is - that is, easily hiring and firing and a low minimum wage will give a high score.
  10. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    06 Aug '10 18:29
    Originally posted by sh76
    Yes.

    Government size means government pays for and runs more thing. Ergo, I cannot start a business providing those things.

    If the government pays for a single payer healthcare system, I cannot open a health insurance company.

    If the government pays for skymarshalls, I cannot open a business providing armed in-flight security.

    If the government hire ...[text shortened]... at's not always necessarily a bad thing; but bigger government does mean less economic freedom.
    If the government hires more police I cannot start a business selling marijuana and pimping out my hos.
  11. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    06 Aug '10 18:30
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    According to the website it's calculated according to how easily one can hire and fire workers and how high the minimum wage is - that is, easily hiring and firing and a low minimum wage will give a high score.
    LOL! And they call it "labor freedom"?!

    Free access to labor maybe...not freedom for the laborer!
  12. 06 Aug '10 18:31
    Originally posted by sh76
    Yes.

    Government size means government pays for and runs more thing. Ergo, I cannot start a business providing those things.

    If the government pays for a single payer healthcare system, I cannot open a health insurance company.

    If the government pays for skymarshalls, I cannot open a business providing armed in-flight security.

    If the government hire ...[text shortened]... at's not always necessarily a bad thing; but bigger government does mean less economic freedom.
    Well, no, because you might run a business in things that are government-funded (e.g. infrastructure) or work in those things that are government-run. I don't see how my "freedom" would be hurt. Yes, government size does impact which kind of work and business oppurtunities are available, but one is not necessarily more or better than the other.
  13. 06 Aug '10 18:34 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    LOL! And they call it "labor freedom"?!

    Free access to labor maybe...not freedom for the laborer!
    Yes, like I said the list is clearly biased towards a view that the Heritage Foundation approves of. It's preposterous that they wouldn't include equality of opportunity in a ranking for economic freedom. Still, with all the manipulating that they've done, it's perhaps testament to the success of the Scandinavian model that Denmark still managed to get into the top 10.
  14. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    06 Aug '10 21:57
    Originally posted by Hugh Glass
    http://www.heritage.org/Index/TopTen.aspx

    What is economic freedom?
    Economic freedom is the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labor and property. In an economically free society, individuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please, with that freedom both protected by the state and unconstrained by ...[text shortened]... See the Methodology.)


    2.2 years left under Obama, how much more damage can he do? A LOT!!
    then there's freedom to drill oil wells without adequate regulation or supervision, freedom to do opencast mining in environmentally sensitive areas, freedom to close factories and relocate to a less developed country without labour protection, freedom to announce the army is leaving Iraq and substituting mercenaries and private security forces,

    "The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institute - a think tank - whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense."

    The last one is amusing - how much free enterprise rides on the back of American military spending? Oh we like that freedom most of all!
  15. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    06 Aug '10 22:26
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Yes, government size does impact which kind of work and business oppurtunities are available
    Then, by definition, that's a limitation caused (perhaps indirectly, but still caused) by government. Again, limitations on freedom are not necessarily bad things (laws against murder are quite good, actually), but they are limitations on freedom.

    but one is not necessarily more or better than the other.

    Again, that does not mean that your freedom, which includes freedom to choose your own life path, is not being impaired.