Sunday, September 26, 2010

Whose freedom is it anyway?

The annual report on Economic Freedom of the World by Cato, Fraser and other think tanks from around the world was released last Monday. The report measures the consistency of institutions and policies of various countries with personal choice, voluntary exchange and open markets - the various dimensions of economic freedom. This year's report is based on the 2008 data and covers 141 countries.

It's been a week since the report came out and the world (except perhaps Hong Kong and a few others) has been mourning over the reduced levels of economic freedom.  The prime reason being the increased government intervention to revive economies suffering from the recent world recession.

So whose freedom do we refer to when we talk about reduced economic freedom? On paper, yes, it's of the whole world - this time a large 141 countries at that! But is the real picture as rosy?

It seems when capitalist economies sponsored by Mammoth Narcissist Corporations a.k.a MNCs, push for greater economic freedom (read: open markets), it's really their own freedom they are referring too. Globalization and the constant measures the WTO introduces to open up trade has led to an unleveled playing field for developing nations.

But this is not a plea in favor of protectionism either. Thought and time needs to be spared to analyse whether economic freedom is representative of freedom of personal choice and voluntary exchange across all or a handful of tycoon nations. 

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