Focus Point - Free Economies

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. The Index of Economic Freedom', Seventh Edition is out. The Heritage Foundation report shows the number of free or mostly free economies has increased, but unfree economies still outnumber them, 81 to 74.

Especially gratifying was the improved score of a number of former Soviet satellites, such as Estonia and Lithuania. El Salvador improved enough to be rated free for the first time. Hong Kong continues to be number one. But economic freedom declined overall in North Africa, while sub-saharan Africa remained the world's most economically unfree region.

Economic freedom isn't an academic conceit. The average person in a repressed economy subsists on about $2,800 a year, compared with a per capita income of $21 thousand in free or mostly free economies.

Government can't make wealth, but it can go a long way toward seeing that individuals can generate it for themselves. Given the chance, people will improve their economic condition. The best thing government can do -- in America or in Africa -- is to adopt policies to let them do it.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, Fixing Crime.