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Riding the seas of prosperity

History shows that the freest countries with the fairest laws were and are the most prosperous. But don't let that trouble your pretty little heads, Chavez, Obama and Putin.

The cause and effect relationship between freedom and prosperity will mean little to politicians who are, essentially, on the dole, not so much earning a living as milking the public. It will mean a great deal to John and Mary Q Public who want their country to be prosperous so that they and their children can find jobs.

Mary and John Q may be interested in the drily titled 2011 Index of Economic Freedom, released by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. The Index measures "10 categories of economic freedom: fiscal soundness and openness to trade and investment, government size, business and labor regulation, property rights, corruption, monetary stability and financial competition".

The Index shows that six of the top nine countries had British origins and took the lessons of freedom to heart. Unfortunately for poor John and Mary Q, the US ranking has fallen to 9, and the United Kingdom ranking has fallen to 16. Their slide is the result of interfering and costly government policies.

The 2011 Index

1 Hong Kong
2 Singapore
3 Australia
4 New Zealand
5 Switzerland
6 Canada
7 Ireland
8 Denmark
9 United States
10 Bahrain
11 Chile
12 Mauritius
13 Luxembourg
14 Estonia
15 The Netherlands
16 The United Kingdom

Basing his studies on poor and statist Europe and prosperous and free market Britain, Adam Smith explained how it all worked some time ago.

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