The Fraser Institute’s annual Economic Freedom of the World: 2012 Report highlights the sharp decline of the American economy as it fell to 19th from the number 2 position it held just 12 years ago.
The report bluntly illustrates the seriousness of the findings:
The U.S. decline is even more startling, given that globally, the average economic freedom score rose slightly to 6.83 in 2010, the most recent year available. Global levels of economic freedom reached their lowest level in nearly three decades with a score of 6.79 in 2009.
As we look to what might have caused such a precipitous decline, we have to acknowledge 9/11, the subsequent War on Terror and a culture of corporate and banking corruption never before seen in the history of the world.
An important point is raised by The Fraser Institute amid the raw data presented in this report, which you can read in its entirety here: http://www.freetheworld.com/2012/091812_EFW-INT_For_Free_the_Wold.pdf
Research shows that people living in countries with high levels of economic freedom enjoy greater prosperity, more political and civil liberties and longer lifespans.
This research is further backed up by the classic definition of economic freedom, as stated by James Gwartney and Robert Lawson et al. in their report from 1996:
Individuals have economic freedom when property they acquire without the use of force, fraud, or theft is protected from physical invasions by others and they are free to use, exchange, or give their property as long as their actions do not violate the identical rights of others. An index of economic freedom should measure the extent to which rightly acquired property is protected and individuals are engaged in voluntary transactions. (Source)
As the U.S. economic decline has crumbled under a barrage of regulations, banker bailouts, infinite money printing, and even more proposals for draconian economic management, the U.S. has seen a proportional erosion of basic civil liberties that is perhaps most obvious in the complete reversal of constitutional principles like under the National Defense Authorization Act.
In real terms, private food cooperatives have been raided and closed, children have had their lemonade stands closed, raw milk dairies are treated like drug dealers, banks have fraudulently foreclosed on millions of homes, and failed companies receive massive taxpayer bailouts while new start-ups remain starved of capital. All of these actions directly contravene voluntary principles at the heart of freedom, economic or otherwise.
The U.S. still retains a powerful medical system capable of extending the life of patients, but even this is showing signs of decline as the U.S. life expectancy, too, has fallen within the same time period of the economic study.
By every measure, the facade of the United States as Land of the Free and Home of the Brave — a place built by rebel entrepreneurs — is quickly breaking away and revealing a core that is becoming increasingly defined by outward fear and imperialism, and an internal corruption and decadence made worse by an extreme lack of self-respect. The new model is one of centralized, nanny state control over every facet of the lives of an economically and politically terrified population.
As the report measures, the variables which lead to economic decline are centered around the policies that the United States has embraced wholeheartedly over the last decade.
The annual Economic Freedom of the World report is the premier measurement of economic freedom, using 42 distinct variables to create an index ranking countries around the world based on policies that encourage economic freedom. The cornerstones of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete, and security of private property. Economic freedom is measured in five different areas: (1) size of government, (2) legal structure and security of property rights, (3) access to sound money, (4) freedom to trade internationally, and (5) regulation of credit, labor, and business.
Contrariwise, those nations who have broken some of the chains of centralized control have increased their economic freedom:
When the rankings are adjusted to account for changes over the years, it shows that over the past decade, some African and formerly Communist nations have shown the largest increases in economic freedom worldwide: Rwanda (44th this year, compared to 106th in 2000), Malawi (84th, up from 114th), Ghana (53rd, up from 101st), Romania (42nd, up from 110th), Bulgaria (47th, up from 108th), and Albania (32nd, up from 77th).
This latest report where the U.S. shares its great decline with Venezuela, Argentina, and Iceland is a profound indictment of the direction in which the United States is headed. Worse, the ripple effects are guaranteed to be felt as the U.S. slides even further toward centralized control. It is a model which is envisioned on a global scale by the very same directors of the U.S. decline.
It is up to us to realize that the system we are living under is dangerous to prosperity, and we must take action now to reverse a course that is clearly heading in the wrong direction.
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