How Do Nations Succeed? With Economic Freedom

Ryan Olson /

It’s often easy to forget where we’ve been on the journey to where we’re going. In America, the foundation of our society and the source of our wealth and prosperity are firmly rooted in the principles of economic freedom. Markets are the most powerful force in the world for defeating poverty, improving standards of living, and making communities safer, healthier, and cleaner.

This is the message that Michael Cox, former Chief Economist at the Dallas Federal Reserve and professor at Southern Methodist University delivers in a powerful new video by the Fund for American Studies. According to Dr. Cox:

We’ve all benefited immeasurably from the freedom and competition that markets naturally bring. The inherent desire to make a better life for ourselves and our family has powered incentives for us to learn, to invent, innovate, be productive on the job, save, invest, lend, start companies, hire others, and take business risk.

Sadly, the hope and opportunity that economic freedom brings is at a crossroads. According to the Index of Economic Freedom, co-published by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal, economic freedom throughout the world is stagnating. Nowhere is this more obvious than here in the United States, the country whose free-market system has given Americans the opportunity at a better life. Since 2008, the U.S. has slipped five spots in the Index thanks to big government spending, cronyism, and regulation.

To get the U.S.—and the world—back on track we need to return to the principles of economic freedom. The wealth and prosperity we know was not just a “fleeting” moment in the history of our country, but a promise that we pass down to the next generation. If we want to keep this promise, we must again embrace economic freedom.