For the past 11 years, the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal have been publishing the index of Economic Freedom. The index ranks 155 countries, each country is scored on 10 indicators of economic freedom from fiscal burdens and government regulation to monetary and trade policies
The 2005 Index, released on January 4, ranks Estonia as number four as the world’s freest economy after Hong Kong, followed by Singapore and Luxembourg. Estonia, former Soviet republic, is a model reformer, setting the standard for how fast countries can move ahead in the realm of economic liberalization.
Estonia is often considered together with the two other Baltic countries, Latvia and Lithuania, known as the “Baltic tigers.” All three nations joined the NATO in April of 2004 and the European Union (EU) in May of 2004. All three have flourished since independence, and their improved standing has marked is in distinct contrast to those of other former Soviet republics and the Soviet Union. The Baltic countries have been recognized for their speed and agility in adapting to the realities of capitalism. Gross domestic (GDP) growth in all three nations is moving briskly along with increases of 6 percent a year, as compared with under 2 percent for the rest of EU.
The 2005 Index of Economic Freedom
co-authored by Ms. M.A. O’Grady, Mr. M.A. Miles and Mr. E.J. Feulner, Jr.,
(414 pages, $24.95), which can be ordered at 1-800-975-8625.