World is growing less free, including in the ten most populous nations

World is growing less free, including in the ten most populous nations
Winkel-Tripel projection of the world map. (Credit: By Strebe - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link)

The world is growing less free, notes Eric Boehm, citing a recent study by two think-tanks, the Frasier Institute and the Cato Institute. That includes the United States, which has grown substantially less free since 2008:

The vast majority of the world’s population is less free today than it was about a decade ago—and all residents of the world’s 10 most populated countries have seen their freedoms decline over the same period.

That’s the most worrying takeaway from the annual Human Freedom Index, an annual report produced by the libertarian Cato Institute and the Frasier Institute, a Canadian think tank. This year’s index, released Thursday, ranks the United States as the world’s 15th most free country out of the 156 jurisdictions included in the analysis.

The top five freest countries are Switzerland, New Zealand, Denmark, Estonia, and Ireland. Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Venezuela, and Syria are at the bottom of the rankings, which take into account 82 indicators of economic, personal, and civil freedoms….global trends are moving in the wrong direction. Since the first report was published in 2008, the authors of this year’s version note that about 83 percent of the world’s population has seen freedom decline. The gap between the most and least free has also widened, with some 40 percent of the world’s people now residing in countries that rank in the bottom 20 percent for overall freedom.

“The decline in fundamental rights represents a disturbing trend that was occurring even before the world experienced the COVID-19 pandemic and its social and political effects,” writes Ian Vásquez, vice president of international studies at Cato. “The areas that saw the largest falls globally were freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and freedom of association, assembly, and civil society…” Freedom in the United States is on the decline in both absolute and relative terms, according to the new report. In 2008, the U.S. ranked seventh in the world but has steadily slipped lower, though it still ranks well ahead of the global average.

Vásquez says the trend toward less freedom is continuing this year as well.

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LU Staff

LU Staff

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