Index of Economic Freedom

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 22 2014 7:08 a.m. MST

Wikimedia Commons

The conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation, in partnership with the Wall Street Journal, created an index that rates the economic freedom in 186 countries.

The index covers 10 freedoms grouped into four major categories to calculate an overall score for each country. The information considered for each factor in each country was current June 30, 2013.

We compiled the top 25 economically free countries, but if you want to investigate the data and see more countries you can go to their website here:

2014 Index of Economic Freedom

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Durham, NC

It is interesting that all those countries and city/states ahead of the US have some form of socialized medicine. If you need imperial proof that one does not deter the other, you got it now. It doesn't guarantee better economic growth either… it just shows there is little correlation between the two.

American Fork, UT

Health care. Single payer health care. It frees employers from a burdensome chore, and frees labour from being tied to a job only for the insurance.

Onion Daze
Payson, UT

Want a good laugh then look at this copy and paste of # 24 from the article's survey.

#24 Austria
Overall Score: 72.4

According to the Index, the backbone of Australia's economy is their vibrant banking sector.

West Jordan, UT

It is foolish for anyone to suggest that a Socialist system cannot function. Socialism is great for many countries, and has proven to do so. In Germany, for example, the people all know they are going to pay approximately 60% of their income in taxes to the Government. In turn, they have "free" health care, among other things supplied by the government.

The United States was founded on the principles of individuality and the need for as little government presence as possible. We want to do what we want with our money, not what the government wants.

However, as American's, we want to have our cake and eat it too. We still want control of all of our money to spend it how we choose. Yet, we want the government to pay for healthcare, food stamps, social security, and everything else.

Socialism can work. So can Capitalism. Have your cake? OR eat your cake?

Wasatch Front, UT


The more economically free a country is, the faster the growth in real income. At least that is what a regression line through the data says over the long-run.

In healthcare, simply going to single payer will not solve all of the problems that proponents claim it will. Health care innovation WILL decline. A regulated, market-based healthcare system is part of the reason the U.S. leads the world in innovation in medical devices, biotechnology, surgical procedures, pharmaceuticals, RX distribution, etc., etc. Moving to single payer WILL slow innovation, and the reduce the jobs, economic profits and tax base that goes with it.

What we need is real healthcare system reform that maintains price signals, increases incentives for good behavior (and penalizes bad behavior), reduces the tendency to over-treat, reduces the tendency to over-use the system, and increases the overall productive capacity of our citizens. ObamaCare did a few good things, but it mostly just extended a broken system to more people, and put more uncertainty and fog around much needed price signals.

Anti Government
Alpine, UT

The socialists never stop with their prognostications.

One could make the argument just as easily that socialized medicine inhibits economic freedom. How do people have freedom when the government is busy regulating and deciding everything for you?

Look no further than this obamacare mess. All kinds of promises that have turned out to be lies. The only people signing up are the people who qualify for subsidies. Millions less applicants than is necessary to make it financially viable. Uh oh. Who will pay the bill?

So how will they solve that? They will remove more economic freedom by forcing the contributors/producers to produce/pay even more so those who don't contribute can continue to live off others efforts. Economic freedom?

Don't get me wrong their are people who have legitimate needs who need help. I am talking about the large group who fraudulently abuse all the govt programs. Make no mistake these people share best practices on how to take advantage. We have politicians that know this and do nothing but increase the programs to increase the control they have over these people to exploit them for votes.

I fail to see how that cycle expands economic freedom.

Tooele, UT

Re: "Single payer health care. It frees employers from a burdensome chore . . . ."

And transfers it onto the backs of those that can least afford it.

Why do liberals hate working people?

Salt Lake City, UT

@onion daze, you do realize that Austria and Australia are different countries?

Onion Daze
Payson, UT

Attn. DrTPhD

I certainly do know that Austria and Australia are two different countries!!

That is why I said, "Want a good laugh...".

The two countries are close to being on the opposite sides of the planet Earth.

I have been to Austria but not to Australia. The big island of Hawaii is the furthest south I have traveled.

See 9:23 a.m. post

Phoenix, AZ

"Single payer health care. It frees employers from a burdensome chore..."

Single payer also puts the government in charge of everyone's healthcare from cradle to grave. Which means some government person or committee can decide if you need healthcare and what kind of care you'll get. It means you may have to wait in line for care for a few weeks or months. It also means the government can decide when you will stop getting healthcare in your old age... called 'death panels.'

Salt Lake City, UT

@Anti Government
"How do people have freedom when the government is busy regulating and deciding everything for you?"

People denied health insurance due to pre-existing conditions who are one emergency away from going bankrupt probably find more freedom with the ability to have affordable access to healthcare should they need it.

Salt Lake City, UT

@Anti Government
"The only people signing up are the people who qualify for subsidies. "

Because the vast majority of the people who make enough income to not qualify for subsidies already have insurance through their employer and thus would not need to individually purchase insurance like that.

American Fork, UT

I stand by my discussion. Single payer health care works. It does not remove the burden from workers only to place it on those who least can afford it. As a liberal, an employee and and employer, I respect workers. It's the liberal way. As such, I would rather see health care as a condition than a commodity. Not on the backs of those who can least afford it but everyone rich and poor alike. The entire society is, or can be, a responsible beneficiary. Also, I espouse single payer health care because I personally experience it. My health care decisions are made by myself and my physician, not some alleged committee or 'death panel', the concept of which far more accurately describes an insurance company than a bureaucracy. It does not, and I can attest to this personally with parents and inlaws receiving socialised health care in their nineties, including dialysis, mean that government gets to decide when you're too old for health care. Health care is a huge burden on employers, and a major reason the U.S. is not as economically free as it should be.

Goshen, UT

When the Government runs every aspect of life,We as a free Nation cease. The US Government has proven time and time again they do NOT know how to regulate our private lives. Case in point: The war on Drugs. Only when we as citizens are left to self regulation can we be truely free.

Cedar Hills, UT

You really expect me to click through 25 times to read an article?

Phoenix, AZ

"My health care decisions are made by myself and my physician, not some alleged committee or 'death panel'..."

Obama has already explained how single payer should work... 'Old people don’t need life saving treatments, they can take a pain pill (and be left to die)."

"Health care is a huge burden on employers, and a major reason the U.S. is not as economically free as it should be."

That's true. Many of our overseas competitors don't provide healthcare for their employees which means they're in a better position to compete with US companies.

Kings Court
Alpine, UT

The criteria of the rankings is suspect, especially given that the American Heritage Foundation, a politically biased think tank, came up with the rankings. Basically, any country that doesn't allow their corporations to run slip-shod over the citizens, go down in the rankings. In other words, the view labor unions as an affront to workers and any government regulations, no matter how needed, as a bad thing. The way for the U.S. to reach #1 is simple (for this measure). Bring back child labor, eliminate the minimum wage and the 40 hour work week, eliminate OSHA and other government regulatory bodies, and voila, you have a free economy. Free for businesses to do with as they please and the rest of us can just enjoy the ride.

Phoenix, AZ

@Kings Court:
"In other words, they view labor unions as an affront to workers..."

That may be true. But American companies have to compete with foreign competition since America is now in a global market. Unions, who insist on high wages and benefits are doing a number of American corporations... And in the end, doing themselves a big disservice. American businesses must either cut costs (labor), move overseas, or die. All of which are bad for the worker.

Lehi, UT

We were 6th before obama was elected, what does that tell you.

Kings Court
Alpine, UT

I find it interesting that countries with single-payer health systems rank much better than the U.S. Perhaps we should try single-payer health plans to improve our rankings.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments