There are many political and economic freedom indexes you can follow, such as the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom or The Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World report, among others.
The Legatum Institute was founded by Christopher Chandler, a New Zealand billionaire. In the institute’s view, man does not live on bread along, or merely political freedom and economic growth. Thus, there are two halves to prosperity, economic competitiveness and comparative liveability, which includes freedom of choice, ethical values, good health, equality of opportunity, civil liberties, spiritual faith, low unemployment, strong family life, and a temperate climate.
As its Web site reports:
The 2009 Legatum Prosperity Index is the world’s only global assessment of wealth and wellbeing. The Index finds that the most prosperous nations in the world are not necessarily those that have only a high GDP, but are those that also have happy, healthy, and free citizens. Now in its third year, the Index builds on the previous versions with expanded data and refined analysis and assesses 104 nations covering 90 percent of the world’s population.
The top 10 countries are:
- United States
- New Zealand
Sure, it’s a bit subjective, and is unsure about how to weigh religion in the Index, but it’s interesting and worth pondering.
It adds another dimension to assessing political and economic freedom without degenerating into meaningless platitudes that you find in some “happiness” and “environmental quality” indexes.
You can access the report here.