Monday, August 21, 2006

A Survey of Liberty

I finally found the survey that compiled a rating for overall liberty from a variety of other surveys, such as the Random House survey (Click on the Heading for the details).

Estonia is the freest country in the world- not a shock to those of us who know her!

Then:

Ireland
Canada
Switzerland
Iceland
Bahamas
UK
USA
Cyprus
New Zealand

Of the leading EU economies, Germany is 21st (behind Latvia), Spain is 34th (behind Cape Verde), Italy is 41st (behind Botswana) and France is astonishingly 48th (behind South Africa).

Horrifyingly, Russia is 124th- even Saudi Arabia is freer than the Russian Federation.

In last place- North Korea- 122 places behind the democratic South.

4 comments:

Jonathan said...

Cicero

I can't find an e-mail for you, but I have tagged you with one of those irritating memes:

http://liberalengland.blogspot.com/2006/08/meme-of-three.html


Jonathan

Chris Black said...

Ahem.

This 'index' makes very specific assumptions about liberty - so that low corporate taxation and small government size counts as 'liberty', but freedom to enjoy free health care apparently does not.

Hence Hong Kong comes out 19 places ahead of Sweden....

Dr Maybe said...

Not sure having a service provided for you comes under the definition of freedom myself. On the other hand, having the 'freedom' not to have any form of health coverage is the freedom to take a stupid gamble, so I personally wouldn't consider the tax I pay to cover the NHS entirely a 'loss of freedom', as if the NHS didn't exist I'd probably need to spend just as much money getting health cover.

The other thing that simple metrics like this don't take into account is that, for a lot of people, the organisation that most effects their freedom on a day-to-day basis is their employers, so a highly unregulated industry may well be less free to the individual.

Tristan said...

Economic freedom is necessary for any other sort of freedom.

Personally I feel that there is no such thing as 'freedom to enjoy free healthcare', there is freedom to make use of healthcare, that's a basic freedom, but 'enjoying free healthcare' is not a freedom, its a privilidge. (of course, no healtcare is free, so that makes it even more of a nonsense).

I think we need to get 'positive freedom' in perspective. Whilst its true that you cannot enjoy other freedoms if you suffer from ill health, this does not mean that free healthcare is a freedom.
What is needed there is not free healthcare, but for society to help its least well off members if they are not getting basic services (which society as a whole can afford to help them with).

With employment law: There is often a power differential between employer and employee, but much employment regulation restricts the employee's actions in the name of protecting them. Instead you should be helping shore up the individual employee's power and to enable a vibrant job market which people can get alternative employment if they wish.