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If someone were to ask you to name the economically freest country in the world, what would you say?
Probably the United States. Even many non-Americans would likely give that answer. Unfortunately, they’d be wrong.
Economy - Level - Freedom - Thousands - Miles
The economy that enjoys the highest level of economic freedom is thousands of miles away. It’s Hong Kong. The United States, surprisingly enough, isn’t even in the top 10 of the latest “Index of Economic Freedom,” an annual data-driven research project that scores and ranks almost every country.
So where does the U.S. finish in the 2019 Index? No. 12. That puts us between Iceland and the Netherlands, and behind two of our closest allies in the top 10: the United Kingdom (No. 7) and Canada (No. 8).
Nothing - Context
But before you assume there’s nothing to celebrate, let’s put that ranking in context.
For one thing, yes, the U.S. isn’t finishing as high as it once did in the Index. But after sliding to its worst showing yet in the 2017 edition, it’s been making a comeback.
Score - Index— - Score - Scale - Year
It posted a better score on the 2018 Index— a 75.7 score (on a 0-100 scale, with 100 being the freest). This year, however, the U.S. earned a 76.8 score. That helped it move up six slots in the world rankings from No. 18.
So we’re doing better — which is more than we can say for many other countries. Among the 180 countries ranked in the latest edition, scores improved for 81 and declined for 92. Seven remained unchanged.
US - Amount - Work - Surpasses - Best
The U.S. still has a good amount of work to do before it again hits (or hopefully surpasses) its personal best of 81.2 points, which it posted in the 2006Index. Still, we’re moving in the right direction. So let’s consider for a moment what we’re doing right — and what we’re doing wrong.
Two things contributed to our...
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