the briefing: What's New?
the Executive Summary
Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner on CNBC
Carl J. Schramm
This essay argues that whether the economic infrastructure is "successful" or "perverse" and
whether the "reward structure" is conducive to innovation and entrepreneurship
rests on the degree of economic fluidity. Without constant mixing
across boundaries, without the creation and testing of ideas, and
without learning and adaptation, the specific character of the
institutional structure matters little. Fluidity determines whether
or not the structure will be successful in facilitating growth.
Stephen L. Parente
Will today's poor countries catch up with the industrial leaders,
or will they forever lag behind? The answer is that all countries
have the potential to become rich. Rapid catch-up is possible; we
have seen a number of countries do it in the past 50 years. Narrowing
the economic gap requires certain economic reforms—reforms that are
likely to be opposed vigorously by certain societal groups who rightly
or wrongly believe these reforms will be to their detriment. Weakening
and countering this opposition will be key to narrowing the gap.
What we call "globalization," one of the most powerful and positive
forces ever to have arisen in the history of mankind, is redefining
civilization as we know it. Globalization has six major characteristics:
economic development, democracy, cultural enrichment, political and
cultural norms, information, and internationalization of the rule
This chapter analyzes each of the five
geographic regions—a focus that matters for local competition. (Files
below are in PDF format)
The 2008 Index also has our traditional
country pages, so that each freedom in every economy is explained
in detail. Every country page includes new charts highlighting the
strengths and weaknesses of each economy.