I’m curious, is there a country somewhere that has ultra-low taxes on the wealthy and few if any regulations for industry? And if so, is that place a magical paradise where everyone prospers?
The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom (I figure this conforms well with the conservative wish list) lists only six countries as “economically free”: Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand and Canada. Of those countries, Wikipedia says Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland and New Zealand have top personal income tax rates below than the US top rate (ignores effective rates and stuff, but good enough for a comments section). I’d hazard that two city-states, the world’s favorite off-shore tax haven and an island country with about the same population as Seattle may not have economic circumstances that are particularly generalizable.
Well… It would seem the DRC has pretty low taxes (as well as nearly zero enforced taxes) on the most wealthy citizens, as well as minimal regulation (pretty much unenforced) for mining. Although it’s human development index isn’t the worst (186 out of 187). I’m sure the libertarians would love to live there. You can literally get away with murder. And slavery.
I just typed a big long rant post about how New Zealand is ruined as a result of our “Economic Freedom”, but it got way too convoluted and messy, so I want to bullet point a couple of things to highlight what it’s like living here.
- Rising unemployment due to closing of most factories, leaving unskilled labourers basically no where to go.
- World Leaders in child poverty.
- World Leaders in child abuse.
- Selling our publicly owned national infrastructure (anyone want to buy several electricity providers? 4 million captive customers…) (oh and this worked so well when we sold our train network that we had to buy it back for significantly more than it was sold, just to fix the damn thing. The aussies that bought it milked it for every cent they could and flipped it.)
- Entrenched, multi-generational welfare dependency, with no end in sight since there’s no jobs for these people any more.
- Low average wage (which you alluded to in your post). The “Working Wage” campaigners here are actually targeting a higher wage than is being targeted in London, which ties in to:
- High cost of living. Because we export anything useful we make (milk, trees, meat), locally we pay international prices. And since we are actually quite good at this stuff, our produce tends to fetch good prices on the international markets. Meaning for a lot of Kiwi families, our own produce is being priced out of reach (no one even bats an eye at $10/Kg for cheese any more). I won’t even get started on house prices anywhere there are jobs…
But hey, Economically Free, so that’s something…
Is it really? Honest question. Five-minute googling came up with this claim inside an article about Fortune 500 companies only:
The Netherlands, Singapore, Hong Kong, Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands are the top five most common places to store profits, the report found.
And good ol’ wiki offers this quote, which I don’t claim to speak financial enough to fully understand, but might be of interest.
In 2000, the International Monetary Fund calculated based on Bank for International Settlements data that for selected offshore financial centres, on-balance sheet cross-border assets held in offshore financial centres reached a level of $4.6 trillion at the end of June 1999 (about 50 percent of total cross-border assets). Of that $4.6 trillion, $0.9 trillion was held in the Caribbean, $1 trillion in Asia, and most of the remaining $2.7 trillion accounted for by the major International Finance Centres (IFCs), namely London, the U.S. IBFs, and the Japanese offshore market.
Or maybe you meant ‘world’s favorite’ in hearts and minds if not dollars. That’s hard to refute.
So, those countries are “economically free”, except some of them have national health care programs that the same Heritage Foundation would claim are “socialist”? I guess that’s a different topic, but my point is the ideal nation these guys envision not only doesn’t exist, but realistically can’t exist and still be anything like a decent place to live.
Definitely hearts and minds :).
It’s not “some” of them - all those countries have national health care programs. Every first world country that isn’t the US has one. Because, Economically… free? Wait a sec…
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