Free to be me
There are lots of indexes measuring freedom across the world, especially economic freedom; when three institutes embark on a project to produce a worldwide human freedom index, you should get excited. If the institutes happen to be Fraser Institute, Liberales Institut, and Cato Institute, then the index is surely worth looking at. The institutes have created a conceptually consistent index measuring human freedom in countries of the world, the first of its kind. The index is based on the negative definition of freedom – the absence of barriers or coercion that prevent individuals from acting as they might wish. Freedom can have an unexpectedly broad definition and you may be surprised to know you aren’t free in certain ways. If you currently live in the United States, India/Nigeria or Greece you may not be free from the power of private money, influence of religious institutions and cyclical unemployment respectively.
In the Communist world, there is more freedom from the power of private money, from the influence of religious institutions, and from periodic unemployment – John Somerville
I dug up the 294 page report which was not too hard to find, wee New Zealand tops the list as the freest country in the world followed by The Netherlands and Hong Kong. Findings of reports like this are rarely surprising to anyone very aware of the world around him, what I find surprising is the extent to which the project was willing to measure human freedom. Take for example a discussion on individuality (chapter 7) and another on protecting the right to use drugs (chapter 10).
Privately, people are happier if left alone to do what they desire, the left-handed children who were forced to write with their right hand suffered from this forced behavior.
New Zealand keeps ticking the right boxes as a desirable place to live, it’s well placed on the where-to-be-born index and is now rated as the freest nation on earth. Folks who love their freedom might want to take note of Zimbabwe’s location on the map, it’s the least free of 123 nations in the index.