Rebecca Hagelin

"... the best path to economic development and rising living standards is the one paved with economic freedom."

? Mary Anastasia O'Grady, Wall Street Journal

Hot off the presses is the 2004 "Index of Economic Freedom," published jointly by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal.

The "Index" is a country-by-country report on the openness of economies worldwide, and measures each nation in 10 categories ? trade policy, fiscal burden of government, government intervention in the economy, monetary policy, capital flows and foreign investment, banking and finance, wages and prices, property rights, regulation and informal (or black) market activity.

After a decade of producing the "Index," a central theme resounds: Countries with greater economic freedom enjoy higher standards of living and higher per capita income than do other nations.

This year alone, The Heritage Foundation has invested nearly 40,000 man-hours to produce the "Index of Economic Freedom" and will fly halfway around the world in two directions ? to Asia and Latin America ? to deliver it. Why? And why has the world's most respected newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, dedicated significant resources to developing and promoting a way to measure economic freedom?

Because economic freedom matters in the lives of real people, in every country, around the globe.

Statistics reveal that when countries provide greater economic freedom for those who live inside their borders, those individuals wind up with more money to control. But this is not merely about statistics, it's about the way those funds affect the lives of the men, women and children who have them.

Greater prosperity means mothers and fathers have more money to put shoes on the feet and food in the stomachs of their children. It means better access to health care. Personal prosperity means more educational opportunities. It means hard-working men and women get to keep more from the toil of their hands and the sweat of their brow. It means parents can plan a better future for their children.

Rebecca Hagelin

Rebecca Hagelin is a public speaker on the family and culture and the author of the new best seller, 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family.
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