NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Freedom Is The Prescription

May 5, 2000

While political and economic freedom is an end in itself, people who live in free societies also enjoy greater health and longer life. Freer countries have higher standards of living and, obviously, residents of those countries can afford better food and health care. So it is worth keeping in mind that the average annual per-capita income of the freest nations is $18,100 -- compared to $1,700 for the least-free countries.

Comparing the Freedom House survey of political freedom around the world and the Cato Institute's annual Economic Freedom Index with global health-care statistics, analysts found that:

  • People in countries judged to be free have life expectancies averaging 76 years -- while those in non-free countries live an average of only 57 years.
  • South Koreans today enjoy much longer life expectancies than North Koreans.
  • Taiwan has longer life expectancies than China.
  • West Germans were outliving their East German counterparts by the time the Berlin Wall fell.

Analysts say that such realities should silence advocates of government-run health-care systems, such as the one operating in, say, Cuba.

Source: Stephen Moore (Cato Institute) and Philip D. Harvey (DKT Liberty Project), "Freedom and Health: Life Under Tyranny Is Very Hazardous to One's Well-Being," Investor's Business Daily, May 5, 2000.

 

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