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全球经济最自由 美国跌出前十

2014-01-16    来源:chinadaily    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

America's Dwindling Economic Freedom

综合外国媒体1月15日报道,美国传统基金会和《华尔街日报》14日公布的“2014年全球经济自由度指数”报告显示,全球经济自由度达到历史最高水平。其中,香港连续20年名列第一,美国跌出前十,中国大陆排名第137位。

World economic freedom has reached record levels, according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, released Tuesday by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. But after seven straight years of decline, the U.S. has dropped out of the top 10 most economically free countries.

For 20 years, the index has measured a nation's commitment to free enterprise on a scale of 0 to 100 by evaluating 10 categories, including fiscal soundness, government size and property rights. These commitments have powerful effects: Countries achieving higher levels of economic freedom consistently and measurably outperform others in economic growth, long-term prosperity and social progress. Botswana, for example, has made gains through low tax rates and political stability.

Those losing freedom, on the other hand, risk economic stagnation, high unemployment and deteriorating social conditions. For instance, heavy-handed government intervention in Brazil's economy continues to limit mobility and fuel a sense of injustice.

It's not hard to see why the U.S. is losing ground. Even marginal tax rates exceeding 43% cannot finance runaway government spending, which has caused the national debt to skyrocket. The Obama administration continues to shackle entire sectors of the economy with regulation, including health care, finance and energy. The intervention impedes both personal freedom and national prosperity.

But as the U.S. economy languishes, many countries are leaping ahead, thanks to policies that enhance economic freedom—the same ones that made the U.S. economy the most powerful in the world. Governments in 114 countries have taken steps in the past year to increase the economic freedom of their citizens. Forty-three countries, from every part of the world, have now reached their highest economic freedom ranking in the index's history.

Hong Kong continues to dominate the list, followed by Singapore, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand and Canada. These are the only countries to earn the index's "economically free" designation. Mauritius earned top honors among African countries and Chile excelled in Latin America. Despite the turmoil in the Middle East, several Gulf states, led by Bahrain, earned designation as "mostly free."

A realignment is under way in Europe, according to the index's findings. Eighteen European nations, including Germany, Sweden, Georgia and Poland, have reached new highs in economic freedom. By contrast, five others—Greece, Italy, France, Cyprus and the United Kingdom—registered scores lower than they received when the index started two decades ago.

The most improved players are in Eastern Europe, including Estonia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic. These countries have gained the most economic freedom over the past two decades. And it's no surprise: Those who have lived under communism have no trouble recognizing the benefits of a free-market system. But countries that have experimented with milder forms of socialism, such as Sweden, Denmark and Canada, also have made impressive moves toward greater economic freedom, with gains near 10 points or higher on the index scale. Sweden, for instance, is now ranked 20th out of 178 countries, up from 34th out of 140 countries in 1996.

The U.S. and the U.K, historically champions of free enterprise, have suffered the most pronounced declines. Both countries now fall in the "mostly free" category. Some of the worst performers are in Latin America, particularly Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador and Bolivia. All are governed by crony-populist regimes pushing policies that have made property rights less secure, spending unsustainable and inflation evermore threatening.

Despite financial crises and recessions, the global economy has expanded by nearly 70% in 20 years, to $54 trillion in 2012 from $32 trillion in 1993. Hundreds of millions of people have left grinding poverty behind as their economies have become freer. But it is an appalling, avoidable human tragedy how many of the world's peoples remain unfree—and poor.


The record of increasing economic freedom elsewhere makes it inexcusable that a country like the U.S. continues to pursue policies antithetical to its own growth, while wielding its influence to encourage other countries to chart the same disastrous course. The 2014 Index of Economic Freedom documents a world-wide race to enhance economic opportunity through greater freedom—and this year's index demonstrates that the U.S. needs a drastic change in direction.(ChinaDaily)

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香港“全球最自由”

自1995年设立以来,该指数依据财政稳健度、政府规模和财产权利等10个类别的指标,评价各个国家和地区经济自由度的得分。美国传统基金会认为,具有较高经济自由度的国家在经济增长、国家繁荣和社会进步方面表现更佳。与之相反,欠缺经济自由的国家更易陷入经济萧条、失业率高企和社会环境恶化的险境。

今年,香港连续20年蝉联全球最自由经济体,其得分为90.1,较去年上升0.8分,为历年来第二高。紧随其后的是新加坡、澳大利亚、瑞士、新西兰和加拿大。报告中,有且仅有这6个国家和地区被划入最高等别“经济自由”。

“香港以贸易自由、投资自由和金融自由实现了高度的市场开放,由于监管透明度的提高和有竞争力的税收制度,经济自由得到进一步强化。”报告同时指出,近年来新加坡经济愈来愈开放,其与香港的差距有进一步收窄的迹象。

此外,毛里求斯和智利分列非洲国家和拉丁美洲国家的第一位。在局势动荡的中东地区,以巴林为首的多个海湾国家被评为“比较自由”。

美国排名连降7年

在“2014年经济自由度指数”报告中,美国排名第12位,相比去年下降两名,并且是第七年连续下降。

“不难看出美国为何连连败退。”美国传统基金会国际贸易和经济中心负责人特里•米勒指出,即使美国的边际税率超过43%,也无法平衡失控的政府支出,这导致国家债务飙升。与此同时,奥巴马政府继续加强对整个经济领域的监管,包括医疗保健、金融和能源,“这些干预妨碍了个人自由和国家繁荣”。

与美国类似,作为曾经的赢家,近年来英国的经济自由度显著下降。如今,美英两国均降至“比较自由”等别。

全球总体表现亮眼

尽管美英等国的经济自由日益恶化,但全球总体表现亮眼。今年,各个国家和地区的平均得分为60.3,是全球经济自由度指数发布20年来的最高水平。

其中,爱沙尼亚、立陶宛和捷克共和国等东欧国家进步最大,其经济自由水平达到近20年来的最高值。“这并不令人感到意外,这些国家意识到了自由市场体系带来的好处。”报告指出。

“其他国家和地区的经济自由水平不断提升,但美国却继续推进与经济增长背道而驰的政策,并利用其影响力鼓励他国步其后尘,这是不可原谅的。”米勒说,“‘2014年全球经济自由度指数’报告表明,一场通过提升经济自由度来追逐经济增长机遇的竞赛正在全球范围内展开,由此,美国亟需转变前进方向。”


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