Last week, The Heritage Foundation co-hosted the launch of the 2012 Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (GEDI), a new tool giving insight into the effect that various drivers of entrepreneurship have on economic development in countries around the world.

Two crucial findings from the 2012 GEDI emerged at the conference:

The drivers of productive entrepreneurship have deteriorated globally.… In almost all countries high-growth entrepreneurship has suffered the most.

Ambassador Terry Miller, director of Heritage’s Center for International Trade and Economics, also highlighted a key finding from the forthcoming 2012 Index of Economic Freedom: Economic freedom, crucial for economic growth and prosperity, has declined across the world over the past year.

Eroding hard-earned gains in economic freedom in years past, the mounting burden of reckless government spending in many [countries] has overwhelmed gains in economic freedom achieved in other policy areas.

Government policy has taken a more active role in managing economies around the world, particularly in Western nations, and entrepreneurship and economic freedom has suffered.

In the U.S., we can hope that these disappointing findings motivate leaders in public policy to change from the current policy of high corporate taxation, restrictive energy regulation, job-destroying health care legislation, and ever-expanding entitlement spending. We can hope, instead, to change course to one reducing the tension between government control and the free market to unleash entrepreneurship and economic growth.

If policymakers want a roadmap for getting public policies under sound fiscal control, they should read Heritage’s detailed policy strategy for Saving the American Dream. The Heritage plan reforms the leading federal programs, thus reducing the level of federal spending, fixing the explosion of debt, and restoring American prosperity.