…means to be controlled in everything,” Friedrich Hayek wrote in 1944. And every year The Wall Street Journal’s and Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom produces data to backup Hayek’s claims. This year 7 of the 10 countries identified as “the most systematic human rights violators”(North Korea, Burma, Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe, Cuba, and Belarus) by the State Department’s human rights report are classified as “repressed” economies by the Index.

An individuals basic economic rights to work, produce, save, and consume without coercion are all considered in a country’s Index rating. It encompasses the freedom to engage in entrepreneurial activities, having choices in education and health care, fair taxation, and just treatment by the courts under the rule of law.

Combining Index data with available figures on GDP per Capita Purchasing Power Parity shows a a strong positive relationship between economic freedom and prosperity.

Economic Freedom

Considering equally strong relationship between economic freedom’s and democratic governance, United States priorities in the world become clear. Heritage analyst Anthony Kim writes:

This is why the United States should continue to stress freedom as a liberating moral force and the foundation of America’s leadership for the future. It is the compelling force of economic freedom that empowers people, unleashes powerful forces of choice and opportunity, and nourishes other liberties. As the 21st century progresses, freedom’s champions must join to advance their common cause of freedom, peace, and prosperity.