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There’s a reason that Greece is almost synonymous with bad economic policy. The country has endured some terrible prime ministers, most recently Alexis Tsipras of the far-left Syriza Party. Andreas Papandreou, however, wins the prize for doing the most damage. He dramatically expanded the burden of government spending in the 1980s (the opposite of what […]

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There are many reasons to be depressed about Italy. Bad policy is part of the problem, of course, but this chart shows that the country also is facing a demographic crisis. The blue lines show that there are now more deaths than births. The chart comes from a Bloomberg column by Flavia Rotondi and Giovanni […]

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I spoke last week about the “Economic Consequences of the Crisis” for a webinar organized by the Estonian Business School. My remarks focused on the severity of the downturn, the likelihood of a new fiscal crisis in Europe, and how to balance the costs and benefits of re-opening the economy. The full program, which was […]

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Assuming he was able to impose his policy agenda, I think Bernie Sanders – at best – would turn America into Greece. In more pessimistic moments, I fear he would turn the U.S. into Venezuela. The Vermont Senator and his supporters say that’s wrong and that the real goal is to make America into a […]

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My favorite publication from the Canada-based Fraser Institute is Economic Freedom of the World, which ranks nations based on economic liberty. I religiously write about each year’s report (starting back in 2011), and I also cite the data dozens of time each year when analyzing policy in various nations. The second-best report from the Fraser […]

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For two simple reasons, I want Boris Johnson to win a clear majority tomorrow in the elections for the British Parliament. He’s not a lunatic socialist, like Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party and the British version of Bernie Sanders. He’s promised a real Brexit, meaning the U.K. escapes a doomed-to-decline, ever-more-dirigiste European […]

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Today, October 1, is the 70th anniversary of communists seizing power in China. Given the horrible consequences of Mao’s rule, including tens of millions of deaths from famine and tyranny, this tweet from President Trump seems rather inappropriate. That being said, it’s also worth pointing that today’s China is far better than Mao’s China. Simply […]

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According to the most-recent edition of Economic Freedom of the World, Brazil is only ranked #120, which is lower than nations such as Greece, Haiti, and China. Brazil gets a horrible grade on regulation, and it’s also in the bottom half of all nations when looking at fiscal policy, quality of governance, and trade. But […]

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There are many reasons to oppose the various bailouts of the Greek government. Here are my two main reasons. I don’t like rewarding investors who make imprudent decisions, and it really galls me to bail out the (mostly) rich people who bought Greek bonds. I don’t like rewarding politicians who make imprudent decisions, and it […]

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The folks at the Fraser Institute in Canada have just released a new version of Economic Freedom of the World. As has been the case for many years, Hong Kong is #1 and Singapore is #2, followed by New Zealand (#3) and Switzerland (#4). Interestingly, the United States improved one spot, climbing to #5. Here’s […]

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I first opined about Pope Francis in 2013, when I told a BBC audience why the Pope was wrong on economic policy. The following year, I expanded on that point, explaining that statist policies are bad for the poor. And I revisited the issue again last year. I’m not the only one making these arguments. […]

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I’ve applauded China’s economic progress. It’s economic liberty score jumped from 3.64 in 1980 to 6.46 in the most recent edition of Economic Freedom of the World. That shift toward markets (which started in a village) helped to dramatically reduce poverty and turn China into a middle-income nation. That’s the good news. The bad news […]

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The Conservative Party in the United Kingdom is in the process of selecting a new leader to replace the disastrous Theresa May as Prime Minister. The most important goal for the Tories is to find someone who will deliver a clean Brexit and thereby extricate the country from a decrepit and declining European Union. But […]

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How do we measure the cost of Venezuelan socialism? Is it people eating household pets? Is it people dying of malnourishment? Is it women selling their bodies? Actually, it’s all of the above. And there’s plenty of additional evidence. All of which shows that more socialism results in more misery. Let’s review some examples. Venezuela […]

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I’m in Sydney, Australia, but not because I’m confirming that this country will be my escape option if (when?) the United States suffers a Greek-style fiscal collapse. Instead, I’m Down Under for the annual Friedman Conference. This gives me an excuse to write about Australia, especially since national elections just took place this past weekend. […]

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Just last month, I wrote about Argentina’s grim economic outlook and criticized the supposed right-of-center President, Mauricio Macri, for failing to deliver any meaningful economic liberalization. And reform is desperately needed. According to Economic Freedom of the World, Argentina is one of the most statist nations on the planet (the only nations that do worse […]

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When I want to feel optimistic about China, I look at data from Economic Freedom of the World to confirm that there was a lot of economic liberalization (triggered in part by some civil disobedience) between 1980 and the early 2000s. Then I look at how that period of capitalist reform dramatically improved living standards […]

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I explained yesterday that Denmark is not a good role model for American leftists. Simply stated, Otto Brøns-Petersen’s video shows that the admirable outcomes in that country are the result of laissez-faire markets and the bad outcomes are the result of the welfare state imposed beginning in the 1960s. In any event, Denmark is not […]

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Since trade promotes prosperity, I want increased market-driven, cross-border commerce between China and the United States. But you can see in this CNBC interview that I’m worried about achieving that outcome given protectionism from President Trump and mercantilism from President Xi in China. There’s never much chance to elaborate in short interviews, so here’s some […]

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Last November, I shared a one-minute video from Freedom Partners on the economics of trade. Here’s a full-length (but still only four minutes) treatment of the issue from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity. The first part of the video is a quick glimpse at some of the academic evidence for open trade, and I […]

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When I give speeches on the importance of public policy, I frequently share data showing that pro-market nations are relatively prosperous when compared to countries with statist policies. One of the most dramatic examples is South Korean prosperity versus North Korean deprivation. It’s not that South Korea is perfect. After all, it only ranks #35 […]

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Steve Moore and Art Laffer are the authors of Trumponomics, a largely favorable book about the President’s economic policy. I have a more jaundiced view about Trump. I’m happy to praise his good policies (taxes and regulation), but I also condemn his bad policies (spending and trade). And as you might expect, some people are completely on the opposite […]

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Brazil appears to be a tragic example of what happens when societal capital erodes (or never gets established in the first place) and too many people in the country see government as a vehicle for redistribution. That environment leads to statist policies. Which presumably helps to explain why Brazil is ranked #144 in Economic Freedom […]

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My favorite publication every year is Economic Freedom of the World. It’s filled with data on fiscal policy, regulatory policy, trade policy, monetary policy, and quality of governance for 162 jurisdictions, and it provides an unbiased way of gauging the degree to which they allow economic liberty. It also allows readers to slice and dice […]

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Since I’ve been writing a column every day since 2010, you can imagine that there are some days where that’s a challenge. But not today. The Fraser Institute has released a new edition of Economic Freedom of the World, which is like a bible for policy wonks. So just like last year, and the year […]

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Whether I’m writing about a rich country or a poor country, my research starts with a visit to Economic Freedom of the World. Published by the Fraser Institute in Canada, EFW uses five major factors (fiscal, regulatory, monetary, trade, and quality of governance) to rank nations based on the overall amount of economic liberty. The […]

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I’ve been in China this week, giving lectures about economic policy at Northeastern University in Shenyang. I’ve explained that China has enjoyed reasonably impressive growth in recent decades thanks to pro-market reforms. But I’ve also pointed out that further economic liberalization is needed if China wants to avoid the middle-income trap. That won’t be easy. […]

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President Trump is a protectionist. He doesn’t understand the principle of “comparative advantage.” And he’s wrong about the implications of a “trade deficit.” But that doesn’t mean everything he says about trade is wrong. He frequently accuses other nations of “unfair” treatment of American products and China is one of his favorite targets. Well, there’s […]

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Earlier this year, I explained why Nordic nations are not socialist. Or, to be more precise, I wrote that if they are socialist, then so is the United States. And my slam-dunk evidence was this chart from the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World., which shows that there is almost no difference in overall […]

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At the risk of understatement, I’ve been very critical of President Trump’s trade policy. I pointed out that he was just as bad as Bernie Sanders before the election. And I didn’t change my tune once he got to the White House. I’ve written several columns bemoaning his protectionist approach, including a piece just two […]

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