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WHY WE AREN'T FREE YET

A new study shows that economic freedom is still repressed in southeast Europe, and corruption is the biggest reason why. The article "Why We Aren't Free Yet" was published in Balkan Insight - an online publication of Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.

 

THE 2009 INDEX OF ECONOMIC FREEDOM PUBLISHED BY THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION AND THE WALL STREET JOURNAL SHOWS THAT CROATIA DROPPED BY THREE PLACES IN THE WORLD RANKING, REMAINS "MOSTLY UNFREE"

RANKED 116th OUT OF 179 NATIONS AND SLIPS IN THE REGIONAL RANKING OF EUROPE TO 38 OUT OF 43 NATIONS

"REPRESSED" IN THE AREAS OF GOVERNMENT SIZE, FREEDOM FROM CORRUPTION, LABOR FREEDOM AND PROPERTY RIGHTS

Relevant news reports on the 2009 Index of Economic Freedom from media groups covering Southeast Europe

Video featuring Natasha Srdoc, President, Adriatic Institute for Public Policy on The 2009 Index of Economic Freedom 

For more information about the 2009 Index of Economic Freedom, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/Index/

For Croatia's country details, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/Index/Country/Croatia

"The 15 years of data measured in the Index of Economic Freedom should encourage economic reformers everywhere.  It is clear that steps to improve economic performance are available to countries at all stages of development.  It starts with the basics: freedom from corruption and respect for property rights.  The poorest countries score far below the world average in these two categories.  The richest countries need to pay particular attention to government size and tax rates; the redistributionist temptations of utopian socialism kill economic growth.  All countries need to ensure a regulatory environment in which businesses and workers have the right to compete freely on a level playing field.  They need to maintain realistic and stable currency levels and low inflation to preserve the value of assets and income.  They need to keep their economies open to flows of trade and investment to insure productivity growth and innovation.  Economic freedom is not a plan or on ideology. Indeed, it is the antithesis of centralized planning and government control.  Economic freedom is a threat only to elite privilege and special interests. It is the revolutionary economic counterpart to democratic political pluralism.  It empowers the poor and builds the middle class."

 

US Ambassador Terry Miller

Editor, 2009 Index of Economic Freedom - The 15th Anniversary Edition

Director, Center for International Trade and Economics, The Heritage Foundation

 


"But let me insist on an important point. The difference between the collectivist, state-planned system and the liberal, free enterprise one is not just a matter of economics. It's also a matter of power. The free market disperses power throughout society - it's a kind of "economic democracy" - whereas socialism in all its forms concentrates power at the centre. Nor is free enterprise capitalism a free-for-all. This is not always fully understood in countries which are trying to make the difficult transition from socialism to capitalism. A properly functioning market economy must always be governed by clear rules of competition and there must be effective safeguards for investors. Capitalism cannot, in fact, operate without a strong administration to police the laws that provide its framework. And it cannot succeed without honesty. Racketeers, blackmarketeers and smugglers are not entrepreneurs - they are just plain criminals. Corruption and gangsterism are scourges which afflict many newly developing economies and states. They should be ruthlessly and fearlessly expunged. Otherwise not just the free market but freedom itself is in peril. These observations also highlight the fact that the system of freedom and free enterprise is, above all, based on the rule of law - law which must be fair, clear, and honestly administered, and to which government, and all those associated with it, are also subject like everyone else. Such is the political and economic system for which we should aim. Wherever it is tried it is successful. And if it had been achieved in earlier decades the world would be more peaceful and prosperous today."

Lady Thatcher's speech delivered in Zagreb, Croatia, September 16, 1998.