I was thrilled to see that Greenspan not only knew about the Index (which I co-authored), but supported it and took its ideas to a new level. Since I happened across the section, I realized that historians will read this autobiography centuries from now and track down our book. Looks like the 2007 edition is literally a footnote to history (in a good way!). Kudos to my team at Heritage that put the Index together last year, and especially to the online content team (led by Ted Morgan) that built the website that the Maestro references.
"There is no direct measure of the impact of cultural mores on economic activity. But a joint venture of the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal has in recent years combined statistics from the IMF, the Economist Intelligence Unit, and the World Bank to calculate the Index of Economic Freedom for 161 countries. The index combines, among other considerations, the estimated strength and enforcement of property rights, the ease of starting and closing a business, the stability of the currency, the state of labor practices, openness to investment and international trade, freedom from corruption, and the share of the nation;s outputappropriated for public purposes. There is of course a great deal of subjectivity in placing such numbers on such qualitative attributes. But, as best I can judge, their evaluations drawn from the data do seem to square with my more casual observations.
"The index for 2007 lists the United Sates as the most 'free' of the larger economies; ironically Hong Kong, now a part of undemocratic China, is also at the top of the list. It is perhaps not a coincidence that the top seven economies (Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Ireland) all have roots in Britain - the home of Adam Smith and the British Enlightenment. But Britishness obviously does not convey a permanent imprint. Zimbabwe, a former British colony (as Southern Rhodesia), ranks almost dead last."
"The greater the economic freedom, the greater the scope for business risk and its reward ...."
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Greenspan Cites the 2007 Index
Did you all see this? In Alan Greenspan's book "The Age of Turbulence" on page 275-77, our 2007 Index of Economic Freedom is cited very generously. A highlight: