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America’s Diminishing Economic Liberty

The Index of Economic Freedom is my favorite annual publication from the Heritage Foundation. It’s a rich source of information, using dozens of data sources, about economic liberty around the world. I first wrote about the Index back in 2010 and shared the bad news that the U.S. score dropped dramatically in Obama’s first year. […]

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National Competitiveness and Economic Freedom

At the risk of oversimplifying, libertarians want to minimize the level of government coercion is society. That’s why we favor both economic liberty and personal liberty. Simply stated, you should have the right to control your own life and make your own decisions so long as you’re not harming others or interfering with their rights. […]

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The Regressive Left’s ‘Privilege’ Narrative

This showed up in my Twitter feed yesterday, from one of my English friends: @SiobhanHoffmann Well, I’d call it more contemptible and disgraceful. I think they should have to do her job for a few days, then we’ll talk — D. A. Christianson (@Nebraska71) May 1, 2016   @SiobhanHoffmann I completely agree, it’s as tough […]

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Hong Kong and the Miracle of Compounding Long-Run Growth

Hong Kong is a truly remarkable jurisdiction. Can you name, after all, another government in the world that brags about how little it spends on redistribution programs and how few people are dependent on government? And how many jurisdictions adopt private Social Security systems to help make sure the burden of government spending doesn’t climb […]

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How Private Social Security Is Helping Hong Kong Deal with Major Demographic Challenges

I’m in Hong Kong for series of meeting and briefings on various economic and policy issues. As you can imagine, I’m a huge fan of the jurisdiction’s simple 15 percent flat tax. It’s basically about as close to a pure flat tax as anyplace in the world. There is zero double taxation of income that […]

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In the Debate over Capitalism and the Poor, the Score Is: Thomas Sowell 1 – Pope Francis 0

Two days ago, I contrasted the views of Pope Francis and Walter Williams about capitalism and morality. I explained that Walter had the upper hand because free markets are a positive-sum game based on voluntary exchange while redistribution (at best) is a zero-sum game based on coercion. That’s the theoretical argument. Now let’s look at […]

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Free-Market Reforms Are Needed to Boost Chinese Prosperity and Stabilize the Economy

At the risk of stereotyping, the Chinese people are remarkably productive when given the chance. Hong Kong and Singapore are dominated by ethnic Chinese, and those jurisdictions routinely rank among the world’s top economies. Taiwan is another high-performing economy with an ethnic Chinese population. Ironically, the only place where Chinese people don’t enjoy high average […]

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Ranking Nations for Overall Freedom, not Just Economic Liberty

I’m a huge fan of the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World. I always share the annual rankings when they’re released and I routinely cite EFW measures when writing about individual countries. But even a wonky economist like me realizes that there is more to life than economic liberty. So I was very excited […]

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To Protect Liberty, Don’t Let Governments Collect Data

I’ve written before about the tremendous success of Hong Kong. The jurisdiction routinely is ranked as being the world’s freest economy, and its fiscal policy is a role model for spending restraint. One reason Hong Kong has prospered is that it has enjoyed a policy of benign neglect, particularly when it was a British colony […]

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Proven Reforms to Restrain Leviathan Government

Back in March, I shared a remarkable study from the International Monetary Fund which explained that spending caps are the only truly effective way to achieve good fiscal policy. And earlier this month, I discussed another good IMF study that showed how deficit and debt rules in Europe have been a failure. In hopes of […]

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If Poor Nations Want Economic Convergence and Capital Accumulation, They Need Good Policy

There’s a “convergence” theory in economics that suggests, over time, that “poor nations should catch up with rich nations.” But in the real world, that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. There’s an interesting and informative article at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank which explores this question. It asks why most […]

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What Can Hong Kong and Cuba Teach Us about Economic Policy?

Early this year, I shared an amusing but accurate image that showed an important difference between capitalism and socialism. And in 2012, I posted a comparison of Detroit and Hiroshima to illustrate the damage of big government. Well, if you combine those concepts, you get this very pointed look at the evolution of Cuban socialism […]

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Hong Kong’s Remarkable Fiscal Policy

I’ve had ample reason to praise Hong Kong’s economic policy. Most recently, it was ranked (once again) as the world’s freest economy. And I’ve shown that this makes a difference by comparing Hong Kong’s economic performance to the comparatively lackluster (or weak) performance of economies in the United States, Argentina, and France. But perhaps the […]

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The Simple Lesson We Should Learn from Global Economics

I very rarely feel sorry for statists. After all, these are the people who think that their feelings of envy and inadequacy justify bigger and more coercive government. And I get especially irked when I think about how their authoritarian policies will hurt the most vulnerable in society. But I nonetheless feel sorry for statists […]

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Evangelii Gaudium and the Rule of Law

This week we have been looking at the economics aspects of Pope Francis’s Evangelii Gaudium, here, and here, from an American perspective, and quite frankly they range from leftist to communist. I doubt that is exactly what he meant so maybe our reading is not quite what he meant. Because our culture doesn’t do economics or law […] . . . → Read More: Evangelii Gaudium and the Rule of Law . . . → Read More: Evangelii Gaudium and the Rule of Law

Wind; and Whirlwind

  Well, another interesting week, isn’t it what with NSA whistleblowers/traitors, lung transplants over HHS objections, IRS scandals, Benghazi, Snowden in Hong Kong (or is it China) and all the others. My question is, “Why is anyone surprised?” Long ago it was written “Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind”. For the best part of […] . . . → Read More: Wind; and Whirlwind . . . → Read More: Wind; and Whirlwind