The Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal have prepared their annual Economic Freedom Report. Poland has no reason to be proud. According to the 2008 Index of Economic Freedom which covers 162 countries and 10 specific freedoms – such as trade freedom, business freedom, investment freedom and property rights – Poland was far down the list at No. 83.
All of the other “post-communistic” countries, including Bulgaria and Romania, ranked higher than Poland.
Experts say Poland’s low position is the result of obstacles to investment, a high level of corruption and insufficient protections for private ownership.
The report analyzes economic freedom in five geographic regions: Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. The top 10 most economically free countries are: Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, Chile, Australia and Great Britain. The bottom positions on the list: North Korea, Cuba, Turkmenistan and Libya.
“The European region enjoys moderate growth and inflation,” the report says, “but has been plagued by higher unemployment rates than it should naturally endure because the welfare state economic model promoted by some as socially ?superior’ has failed to generate more employment opportunities year after year.”
The Index of Economic Freedom is also important because it links human rights and economic freedom.
“Citizens in nations that are built on greater economic freedom enjoy greater access to ideas and resources, which are the forces that let all of us exchange, interact and participate in an increasingly interconnected world,” the Heritage Foundation says on its web site. “Access, another form of freedom that has practical promise, is an important transmitting mechanism that allows improvements in human development and fosters better democratic participation.”
In comparison to the last year’s report, Poland improved its position on the chart by three places.
The government with Donald Tusk as prime minister has promised – after the elections – to reduce the tax burden and to propose a flat-rate tax. If it will result in higher economic freedom in Poland, we will see the results in the next report.