Despite a general dip in economic freedoms during the GFC, Hong Kong has held onto pole position in The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal’s 16th annual Index of Economic Freedom.

The average score for the 2010 Index was 59.4 (100 represents ideal economic freedom). To be classified as a ‘free economy’ a country needs to score 80 or higher, and only seven made this grade out of the 179 countries analysed. The average fell for only the second time in the history of the report. The explanation offered for some reduction in economic freedoms? Governments’ unsuccesful attempts at spending their way to prosperity.

Hong Kong and Singapore took first and second place for the 16th consecutive year. Analysis shows countries that moved to a higher category of freedom were less impacted by the GFC.

“Regrettably, attacks on the free market, fueled by the economic slowdown and the political appeal of quick interventionist remedies, gained strong momentum in some countries, with far-reaching effects… Exactly half of the major economies curtailed economic freedom to some degree through various interventionist measures. Perhaps more significant for the long-term progress of economic freedom, the other half did not,” said the Index.

The Most Free:

  • 1. Hong Kong
  • 2. Singapore
  • 3. Australia
  • 4. New Zealand
  • 5. Ireland
  • 6. Switzerland
  • 7. Canada
  • 8. United States
  • 9. Denmark
  • 10. Chile

The Least Free:

  • 170. Solomon Islands
  • 171. Turkmenistan
  • 172. Democratic Republic of Congo
  • 173. Libya
  • 174. Venezuela
  • 175. Burma
  • 176. Eritrea
  • 177. Cuba
  • 178. Zimbabwe
  • 179. North Korea