Freedom Barometer Asia 2009
There are several reports that measure different aspects of freedom.
assesses political freedom. The Economic
Freedom of the World
reports measure the degree of economic
freedom worldwide. Reporters
publishes an index on press freedom. However,
these reports are limited to one component only and do not address
the complexity of freedom. To address the need for a more comprehensive
picture of freedom from a liberal standpoint, the
Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty Southeast and East Asia
introduces the Freedom Barometer Asia 2009.
This is a new instrument that measures the three-fold aspects
of freedom: political, legal and economic. The degree of political
freedom, rule of law and economic freedom are determined by looking
at several components that make these up:
- Free and fair elections
- Absence of undemocratic veto players (e.g. military)
- Press Freedom
Rule of Law
- Independence of the courts and checks and balances
- Human rights protection
- Security of Property Rights
- Size of Government:
Expenditures, Taxes and Enterprises
- Regulation of credit, labour and business
- Freedom to trade internationally
The information for the Freedom Barometer is based on data from
Freedom House, Reporters without Borders, Transparency
International and Economic Freedom of the World reports.
The Freedom Barometer Asia evaluates the 15 countries of Southeast
and East Asia: Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos,
Malaysia, Myanmar, North Korea, Philippines, Singapore, South
Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Of these countries, only
11 have full data sets. North Korea, Laos, Brunei and Cambodia
have no data on economic freedom.
The results are as follows: Japan is the freest country in Asia
followed by Taiwan and South Korea. All three countries are solid
democracies with relatively free economies. Vietnam, China and
Myanmar are the three lowest ranked countries. Not surprisingly,
two of these countries are socialist and the other is ruled by
a military regime.
Due to its origin, the first edition of the Freedom Barometer
only analyzed Asian countries. However its methodology makes it
transferrable to other regions. It is a valuable addition to the
debate about the different dimensions of freedom and the possible
complementarities as well as possible tensions between them. View
the complete paper here.