The Fraser Institute in Canada is one of the world’s leading think tanks. Each year the Institute publishes an Economic Freedom of the World Report. The review compares the state of human freedom in the nations of the world, ranking countries for the policies that support freedom, including sound money, legal systems and property rights, the size of government, and similar criteria.
US freedom has been decaying for years. In 1980 and 1990, the US ranked second, but it fell to fifth place in 2010 and to sixth place in 2015.
Slipping again, the United States today ranks only number seven.
In overall freedom ratings, the US metrics came in lower than at any time since the Jimmy Carter administration.
Because the assembled data in this year’s report is through 2020, it covers the pandemic lockdowns, not a banner interlude for free people. In fact, after years of improving freedom worldwide, the Institute’s rating for 2020 fell .14 points.
Here are the top 10 most free countries in order:
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- United States
The countries in the bottom ten are no surprise. In descending order, they are Democratic Republic of Congo, Algeria, Republic of Congo, Iran, Libya, Argentina, Syria, Zimbabwe, Sudan, and Venezuela.
The freedom rankings of other countries of interest include Japan (12th), Canada (14th), Germany (25th), Italy (44th), France (54th), Mexico (64th), India (89th), Russia (94th), Brazil (114th), and China (116th).
When we watch our country’s freedom ebbing away, we are reminded of an old Swiss saying: “Good money is coined freedom.” It makes sense to compensate for the deteriorating economic environment with a portfolio of gold and silver coins in your personal possession.