The latest issue of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report contains some rather damning information about government incompetence in the United States.
America ranks only 68th in the “Wastefulness of Government Spending” category (page 373) and 49th in the “Burden of Government Regulation” category (page 374).
Singapore, by contrast, ranks first in both of those categories. So is anyone surprised, then, by this chart showing that Singapore’s economy grew rapidly between 1950 and 2008?
Indeed, the World Bank’s 2010 data shows that Singapore has surpassed the United Stated, with per-capita GDP of $54,700 compared to $47,020 in America.
But the point of this post isn’t to decide whether Singapore is richer than the United States. Instead, the moral of the story is that small government and free markets are a recipe for strong growth and rising levels of prosperity.
By the way, the Global Competitiveness Report relies on survey data to prepare its rankings, so I’m a bit skeptical of the findings. American politicians are experts at wasting money and imposing senseless red tape, to be sure, but is America really worse than Ghana and Azerbaijan?
That being said, perceptions are important. And since the overall burden of government has rapidly climbed during the Bush-Obama years, low scores of some kind are deserved.