Who wrote the Index?|
Libertarian activist Nick Wilson is the compiler of the index and founder of the State of World Liberty Project. He was also a co-founder of the Libertarian Reform Caucus, an organization and political action committee working towards reforming the United States Libertarian Party into a more viable and incremental political party. (read bio)
Is this report biased?
Obviously, the Index takes a pro-individual freedom, pro-economic freedom and pro-limited government stance. The data included came from reputable sources that also share our stances on such issues. However the compiler did not include personal bias in determining any country's scores - it was pure number crunching. And no, Estonia did not pay him to be ranked #1. ;-)
Is this report amateur?
In a sense, but it is not amateurish. There was no budget, no money spent and no formal organization at the time it was written. Wilson is admittedly not a professional index maker, nor does he have a degree in index making.
However, the information in the report came entirely from professional organizations. The Fraser Institute, the Cato Insititute, the Heritage Foundation, the Wall Street Journal, Freedom House and Reporters without Borders are all internationally acclaimed and widely considered sound sources.
Also, the math and methodology of the compilation is believed to be sound. The index will be monitored through the web community via our forum and will be corrected in the event of errors. Using the open source idea, the report will grow in professionalism and quality will increase over the years.
Will there be more indices in the future?
Yes, we hope to turn the Index into an annual report so we can continue to monitor the progress of liberty. In our early stages, we are understandably still honing the methods towards comprehensiveness and consistency. However, because scores are beholden to the consistency and continued publication of other indices, a shift in source information may change the basis for scoring. This will be noted in the event that it occurs. Also, growing information will also alter the basis for scoring, making the final results more accurate, but less connected to previous scores. Our goal, however, is to establish consistent grounds so we can truly see progress or regression.
What do you mean "most free"?
Freedom is the ability for the individual to live their lives as they choose, as long as they do not infringe on the rights of others to do the same. Our definition of the "most free" country is one with a limited and minimal government that respects individual sovereignty regarding personal and economic decisions while providing a model for protecting that freedom from violation by governments, organizations or other individuals.
How is government size a measure of freedom?
This perfectly valid question has been raised on various internet forums by non-libertarians/non-free liberals. The best response is that, although not every big government is directly opposed to economic and individual liberty and not every small government directly supports it - the tide of history and a current analysis of the world indicates an obvious and direct correlation between the two. The fact is that having a large government creates an apparatus which enables freedoms to be taken away. State socialist and fascist governments are reliant on having enough size to wield enough power to keep their populaces submissive. Even in democracies and republics, a big government may turn repressive with a shift in the political tide.
How are capitalism and free markets really "freedom"?
Marxist thinkers have interpreted capitalism as slavery of the poor to the rich, of the worker to the management. The Marxist definition of freedom is an end to this system and the creation of a new paradigm of complete economic equality; in practice, unfortunately this is usually replaced with slavery of the people to their government, centralized capital, creating economic poverty of the masses and putting workers in even worse conditions.
Classical liberals argued that laissez-faire capitalism would decentralize capital and enable individuals to choose how they participate in the system, thus bring about greater economic equality and wealth to everyone in the long term. However, the modern economic system favors government corporatism over true capitalism and a truly free market, enabling large corporations to control capital and violate the liberties of their workers, while being backed with political force which was often put in power via corporate money.
Small businesses, co-ops and sole proprietorships are hurt by both socialist and state corporatist economic systems, and workers have little choice in both systems. Classic liberal capitalism would reverse this trend and extend economic freedom to everyone by fueling entrepreneurship, de-centralizing capital and encouraging individuals to live the life that fits them to the best of their abilities.