Via the Fin, I learn that Australia now comes in 10-th place on the Economic Freedom Index ahead of the US at 12. This is, perhaps not surprising, as I’ve previously observed that big government is good for economic freedom, at least as measured by the EFI. I don’t think this is entirely a spurious feature of the Index. A strong state can achieve its ends with less interference in individual freedom (economic and personal) than a weak one. For example, a volunteer army, paid for by high taxes, is less intrusive on freedom than systematic conscription which in turn is less intrusive than a press gang, or the kind of backdoor draft now being imposed in the US.
But if we are going to have international league tables, I’d much prefer that we continue the competition of the past few weeks, to see who can give the most generous, and effective assistance to the poor people of the world. There’s some more on this topic over at 52nd state. As is so often the case, I have a big post on this topic planned, but haven’t had time to write it.