Absence of coercion or controls over economic activities

Economic freedom or economic liberty is the ability of people of a society to take economic actions. This is a term used in economic and policy debates as well as in the philosophy of economics. One approach to economic freedom comes from classical liberal and libertarian traditions emphasizing free markets, free trade and private property under free enterprise. Another approach to economic freedom extends the welfare economics study of individual choice, with greater economic freedom coming from a "larger" (in some technical sense) set of possible choices. Other conceptions of economic freedom include freedom from want and the freedom to engage in collective bargaining.

Economic Freedom Network


A Free-Market Constitution for Hong Kong: A Blueprint for China [PDF], by Alvin Rabushka, Cato Journal, 1989
Discusses the draft of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, expected to be promulgated in 1990 (actually adopted 4 April 1990 and went into effect 1 July 1997), as a "free-market constitution"
"To the best of my knowledge, the proposed Basic Law for the HKSAR is unique among contemporary national constitutions in one respect: It enshrines general principles and concrete policies to preserve individual economic freedom. It does so because Chinese authorities recognize that the preservation of economic freedom in Hong Kong is critical to its continued stability and prosperity. The list of economic liberties is in addition to a standard list of civil rights that normally appears in a constitutional document."
Albert Jay Nock: A Gifted Pen for Radical Individualism, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Mar 1997
Biographical essay, including his early life, editorship of The Freeman, and notable books and essays
"To better understand the roots of freedom, Nock urged Americans 'to resolutely close their eyes to diplomatic exchanges and official pronouncements, and read Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Thoreau, Wendell Phillips, Henry George.' Nock added that 'without economic freedom no other freedom is significant or lasting, and that if economic freedom can be attained, no other freedom can be withheld.'"
Bernie Is Not a Socialist and America Is Not Capitalist, by Marian Tupy, The Atlantic, 1 Mar 2016
Clarifies the meaning of various terms which young people tend to misunderstand, including socialism, communism, capitalism and corporatism, and then discusses the relative levels of economic freedom in the United States and other countries
"To be sure, there has never been a fully free economy. By that measure, both communism and capitalism refer to ideals that have never existed in practice. All governments play some economic role. It is, however, possible to ascertain relative levels of economic freedom, which is to say that we can measure how different countries stack up against each other. The Economic Freedom of the World index, for example, measures economic freedom in individual countries by looking at, among other things, the size of government ...; the strength of the legal system and private-property rights; freedom to trade internationally; and the burden of government regulation ..."
Big-Spending Republicans Can Learn from Ireland's Reforms, by Benjamin Powell, 17 Sep 2003
Contrasts U.S. government spending in the 1990's and early 2000's with the approach taken in Ireland from the late 1980's
"Ireland's economic growth record is a tribute to the results that can be achieved by even modest increases in economic freedom. The growth rates in Ireland are only the beginning of what even freer markets could generate. While the United States would be well advised to stop increasing the size and scope of its federal government and move in the direction of Ireland's reforms, we could achieve even more if we went beyond them. That will require a fundamental reassessment of what role a government has in a free society."
Hong Kong Still Freest Economy, Cato Policy Report, Mar 2000
Brief discussion of Economic Freedom of the World: 2000 Annual Report which found that Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and the United States were the "four economically freest jurisdictions"
"Countries with consistently high levels of economic freedom perform far better, both financially and nonfinancially, than those with low levels of economic freedom. The countries that scored in the top quintile of economic freedom had an average per capita gross domestic product of U.S.$18,108 and an average growth rate of 1.6 percent. As freedom declined, so did per capita GDP and the growth rate. Also, life expectancy in the top quintile is 20 years longer than in the bottom quintile."
Related Topic: Economic Freedom Network
Interview with Adam Smith [via Edwin West], by E. G. West, The Region, Jun 1994
Professor Edwin G. West stands in for Adam Smith and answers questions from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis banking and policy issues magazine
"In a 1991 article, Scully and Slottje selected a total of 15 attributes of economic freedom. These included freedoms of property, international financial transactions, movement, information, peaceful assembly and communication through the print media. ... All the rankings indicated that economic growth and real domestic product per capita are positively correlated with economic liberty. So I do indeed feel vindicated!"
Libertarianism Is the Key to Our Future, by Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom, Jul 2006
Examines three reasons (freedom, morality and pragmatism) that suggest that Americans will eventually return to their libertarian heritage
"No Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, income taxation, welfare, occupational licensure, immigration controls, travel restrictions, passports, paper money, central bank, or drug laws and few economic regulations. People were free to engage in any economic enterprise, accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth, travel and trade wherever they wanted, and do whatever they desired with their own money. That is what was once understood to be economic liberty."
The Abstract Concept of Human Liberty, by Robert LeFevre, The Freeman, Dec 1982
Discusses how people may be interested in other people, events or things but only a few are interested in ideas, and how each group of people tends to view liberty from those perspectives
"With this melancholy view as background, what is the status of freedom in the United States? It is clear that the grip each individual should have over the products of his own labor is gradually slipping over the last knot in the dangling rope. ... economic freedom is almost a thing of the past. The regulators bestride our affairs like the Colossus of Rhodes and few can make reasonable calculations for no one knows what the government will do next."
Two-dimensional libertarianism, by Anthony Gregory, Rational Review, 30 Sep 2004
Questions the usefulness of the two-dimensional Nolan Chart and the World's Smallest Political Quiz and advocates instead a one-dimensional liberty vs. power spectrum
"All issues fail to fit the model, because there is no such thing, strictly speaking, as a purely 'personal' or 'economic' freedom. Is gambling a personal freedom? How about speculating in the stock market? What makes one personal and the other economic? Is financial privacy an economic or civil liberty? How about choosing which school to send your kids to?"


Economic Freedom of the World: 2003 Annual Report, by Economic Freedom Network, James Gwartney, Robert Lawson, 8 Jul 2003
Economic Freedom of the World: 2016 Annual Report, by Economic Freedom Network, James Gwartney, Robert Lawson, 15 Sep 2016
Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom [PDF], by William P. Ruger, Jason Sorens, 2018

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Economic freedom" as of 30 Jun 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.