https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Isa59wlS5E

I’ve talked about the Index of Economic Freedom several times before at this blog. It’s a ranking of every country in the world based on how free they are. Factors include personal freedom, business freedom, government spending, taxation, property rights and so on.

The top five freest countries in the world based on this criteria are:

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Singapore
  3. New Zealand
  4. Switzerland
  5. Australia

There is also the Human Freedom Index which also ranks countries on how free they are, but this index uses personal freedom aspects as well as economic ones, such as free speech, freedom of religion, rule of law, freedom of movement, a free press, access to sound money, and so on.

According to this index, the freest countries are almost the same, though in a slightly different order:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Hong Kong
  3. New Zealand
  4. Ireland
  5. Australia

Where is the United States? It’s not in the top five, so it must be in the top ten, right?

Wrong. It’s number 18 in the economic index and 17 in the human index.

“Land of the free” my ass.

Almost every year, the USA falls in the rankings. When these rankings first began in 1982, America was number two. When I first started paying attention to these freedom rankings in the early 2000’s, I remember when America ranked number seven, which made me sad at the time, but at least it was in the top ten. Today, it’s down to 18. As it continues to slowly collapse under its own bloated weight, soon it will drop out of the top 20.

Freedom means prosperity. Big government means either eventual bankruptcy or war.

As the above video points out, and as I’ve said many times, just a few decades ago, Hong Kong was a shithole, and its people were among the poorest in the world. Today, it’s the number one economy on the planet. How did it do that? Small government. In other words, freedom. This is one of the reasons why it’s my favorite country (and city) in the world, and why other countries should look to Hong Kong as the example of how to be a prosperous nation.

No, Hong Kong isn’t perfect, and every country has its problems, but I would rather live in a free country with problems than in an unfree one with problems.

Venezuela was once the richest country in Latin America. Today, it’s a land of poverty and terror. Why? Big government. In other words, less freedom.

As I analyzed here, democracy doesn’t mean freedom, as demonstrated by both Hong Kong and Singapore not being democracies yet being the two freest countries in the world. Yet India, which ranks a dismal 130 on these freedom rankings, is so mired by big government and bureaucracy that it’s horribly unfree despite the fact it’s a democracy. Democracy isn’t freedom!

You may notice that the country I’m most likely to move to in a few years as my Country A for my Five Flags plan, New Zealand, ranks as the third freest nation on the entire planet on both sets of rankings. Yep. That exactly why I’m probably moving there, at least for six months a year (in addition to other reasons I’ve already talked about before). I’ll be spending about ten days there next month to scout things out, and if I like it, I will return for an even longer period.

This is also why I will spend about three months a year in Hong Kong, starting soon. It’s the freest place on earth economically, thus there’s a lot of money to be made over there. Having my home base in New Zealand and making money in Hong Kong sounds like a good plan to me. I can’t wait to get it implemented.

The above video actually ends on a note of optimism. That is, as the Western world continues its slow collapse, many small countries are actually getting freer and embracing more free market attitudes. Could it be that when the West finally collapses, you will find a few small countries here and there doing very well because of their embrace of freedom instead of corporatism or socialism?

That would be very cool. Not sure if it will happen, but as always, my Alpha 2.0 lifestyle will enable me to be poised to take advantage of these opportunities if they do.

Of course, if I’m based in New Zealand / Hong Kong, the ultimate goal is to not have to worry about any this nearly as much. Which is the entire point.

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21 Comments on “The USA Falls in the Rankings of Freest Countries, Again

  1. Hey caleb what are your thoughts in regard to australia? I remember you saying although it’s a western nation they won’t experience as big of a decline due to their proximity to china.

    Also, I started planning out my exit plan to america. Its bitter sweet to see our country go to shit. One issue I deal with is feeling sad that my family and friends will have to live in a shithole 10/15 years from now. How did you deal with these emotions when you first decide you were going to move?

    Lastly did you take into account your ethnicity before picking your five flag nation home base?

  2. Of course all these studies are extremely sensitive to both the criteria chosen and the biases of the graders. How exactly do you grade “press freedom” objectively? Is the right to own a gun as a means of defending oneself and important freedom? Who gets to say it isn’t? Just to give two examples.

    I’m not saying that America isn’t becoming less free — plainly it is — why doesn’t this survey measure some of the really important things like the commercial use of private information for personal gain?

    But, for those of us who believe in the idea of self organizing systems. For those who believe, for example, that an economy is not something created by the government but rather created by trillions of individual trades between people, there is a perfectly easy, objective way to measure how attractive the USA is compared the the rest of the world — how many people want to come here rather than stay home?

    The US has far and away the highest net migration rate of any country in the world. 2.5 times larger than the next (Turkey, which is high only because, although it is a shit hole, it is right next to a war zone, and shitholes are better than war zones.)

    I’m not saying you are wrong (in fact you are largely right) but these studies that say “… is the happiest county in the world” or “… is the freest country in the world” or “… is the best country in the world” need to be taken with a very large grain of salt by anyone who thinks for themselves. Mostly, they are bullshit. In truth most “surveys” you read on the web are bullshit. You can only have confidence in them by very carefully examining the criteria and methodology. Statistics is a capricious bitch.

     

     

  3. What are the best countries to move to for the next 20-30 years if you like dating white women?

    Australia? New Zealand? Canada?

    It seems like they are trying to repopulate America with millions of people from Latin America and repopulate Europe with millions of migrants from the Middle East.

    That seems to only leave Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.  Did I miss one?  I imagine they’ll probably try to repopulate those countries with millions 3rd world migrants eventually too.

  4. How is Switzerland in the top five on both indices? Isn’t it completely socialist, meaning there is zero freedom of enterprise? That alone should bump it down to the bottom half, no?

    And I am SHOCKED that the US is still hanging in the top 25. I’d wager it would go down to somewhere in the top 50 by the 2020s.

    Now I understand why Caleb pushes for Alpha 2s to make the equivalent of $75000 a year. It’s starting to make sense to me now. Its because all of these crazy free nations are not cheap places to live, I heard everything is really expensive in Hong Kong.

  5. Hey caleb what are your thoughts in regard to australia? I remember you saying although it’s a western nation they won’t experience as big of a decline due to their proximity to china.

    That’s pretty much my opinion, yep.

    One issue I deal with is feeling sad that my family and friends will have to live in a shithole 10/15 years from now. How did you deal with these emotions when you first decide you were going to move?

    1. Outcome independence. Stop giving a shit. My friends/family’s choices are their problem, not mine.

    2. Feel free to tell these people exactly why you’re moving, using facts and stats rather than your feelings or opinions. Then you can relieve yourself knowing that you gave them the data and they’re still choosing to stay.

    3. I do not believe America will be a “shithole 10/15 years from now.” Yes, it will be much worse than it is today (higher taxes, higher inflation, more civil/racial unrest, etc) but it won’t be a shithole. Not in 10-15 years (unless something very unusual happens).

    Lastly did you take into account your ethnicity before picking your five flag nation home base?

    Nope. Don’t give a shit.

    Of course all these studies are extremely sensitive to both the criteria chosen and the biases of the graders.

    Correct, all studies are flawed to some degree.

    The US has far and away the highest net migration rate of any country in the world. 2.5 times larger than the next

    The Transformers movies make over a billion dollars every time they make one. Does that mean they’re good movies?

    Mostly, they are bullshit. In truth most “surveys” you read on the web are bullshit.

    This is not a survey. It’s a scientific study.

    There’s a big difference between A) several independent scientific studies with some flaws that indicate clear and real trends and B) “bullshit.”

    And as a side note, these constant “well you’re right but…” arguments you right-wingers make are exactly what you guys lost the culture war.

    Might want to think about that.

    What are the best countries to move to for the next 20-30 years if you like dating white women?

    If women are your priority, South America, particularly places like Columbia, Brazil, etc.

    Australia? New Zealand? Canada?

    If women are your priority? Shit dude, none of those. Countries full of left-wing white women are the ones you should avoid if getting laid is your priority.

    How is Switzerland in the top five on both indices? Isn’t it completely socialist, meaning there is zero freedom of enterprise?

    No. It’s a hybrid of capitalism and Western European-style socialism. I wouldn’t live there.

    Also, the reason you have quasi-socialist countries like Switzerland and New Zealand that high on the list is because the entire world is so fucking unfree. Even these places are less unfree than the rest of the world, which really says something horrible about the world.

    I heard everything is really expensive in Hong Kong

    Yes, but as I’ve said before, that’s really lifestyle dependent. If I lived in Hong Kong, it wouldn’t be expensive for me. But I don’t live high on the hog, I’m not trying to raise kids, I wouldn’t own a car, I buy clothing less than once a year, etc.

  6. Sorry for the off-topic, Mr Jones, but I was wondering if you could confirm your speaking at this year’s Freedomfest.

    After a few months consideration I’m moving for the first time in my life to another country, a dozen places higher on the list. Still within the EU, but I take it as a baby step. It all started on this blog, so thank you for your inspiration!

  7. Caleb Jones says

    Correct, all studies are flawed to some degree.

    Studies that make lists of the “best of” are the worst, because they assume a definition of “best” not in evidence.

    The Transformers movies make over a billion dollars every time they make one. Does that mean they’re good movies?

    There are LOTS of ways they are good movies, sure. Depends how you measure “good”. Do the critics like them? Probably not. Do movie snobs like them? Doubt it. Do lots of people get a lot of enjoyment out of them? For sure. People put their money where their mouth is. And isn’t that the whole point of movies — giving enjoyment to people?

    > This is not a survey. It’s a scientific study.

    But it suffers from all the same faults — mostly qualitative measures — biased decisions about what should be included or not and all the many other faults that you can readily see.

    And as a side note, these constant “well you’re right but…” arguments you right-wingers make are exactly what you guys lost the culture war.

    I’m not a right winger. For example, I’m in favor of an end to the war on drugs, I’m in favor of gay marriage, I’m opposed to the state preferring certain religions over others, I’m opposed to constraints of free speech. I think the idea that churches get special tax treatment is nuts. I’m not sure what particular loss you are referring to, but I will say this — I think it is the responsibility of right wingers, left wingers or other wingers to call out bad argument methodologies (such as studies with dubious bases) irrespective of whether they agree with the conclusion or not. Intellectual honesty demands it.

     

     

  8. Sorry for the off-topic, Mr Jones, but I was wondering if you could confirm your speaking at this year’s Freedomfest.

    I can confirm I’m attending Freedomfest and will be doing a seminar in the same building the day after. I can’t confirm I’m speaking yet. I will know by the end of this week.

    I’m not a right winger.

    I’m quite sure you vote for Republicans and not Democrats.

    I’m in favor of an end to the war on drugs

    Most of today’s right-wingers hold that view. I never said you were an extreme conservative, just a right-winger; clearly right of center if we look at all of your views without cherrypicking one or two of them. The fact you don’t mind if gay people get married or don’t like that some churches get more money than others doesn’t make you a left-winger or a moderate.

    I’m not sure what particular loss you are referring to

    Yes you do.

  9. If I lived in Hong Kong, it wouldn’t be expensive for me. But I don’t live high on the hog, I’m not trying to raise kids, I wouldn’t own a car, I buy clothing less than once a year, etc.

    That makes sense. Still, it does cost a bit more to live in Hong Kong comfortably than in the US, right? Would someone with the $75000/yr income you suggest be able to live comfortably in Hong Kong, Caleb?

  10. Still, it does cost a bit more to live in Hong Kong comfortably than in the US, right?

    In general, yes, mostly because the US is so huge so there are various cheap places to live, and HK is very small.

    Would someone with the $75000/yr income you suggest be able to live comfortably in Hong Kong, Caleb?

    Yes, particularly if he followed all my other advice about taxes, lifestyle, business, etc.

  11. Caleb Jones says

    I’m quite sure you vote for Republicans and not Democrats.

    You are mistaken. I don’t recall ever voting for a democrat, and I have voted for Republicans, however, I more commonly vote for Libertarians, or, in fact, more commonly don’t participate in the charade at all.

    Most of today’s right-wingers hold that view.

    No they don’t. A lot more are common round to decriminalization of mj, but I am talking about all drugs, including, i might add, penicillin.

    a left-winger or a moderate.

    Not surprisingly, since I am neither. I am a pretty extreme libertarian, the primary difference between you and me is you are of the “all or nothing” type, whereas I think the world exists in shades of gray. Trump is not my ideal president, but I am glad he won over Hillary, because, according to my accountant, my taxes will go down about $12,000 next year.

    I can’t control most of the other shit, but at least that means two very good things: first I have $12,000 more, and second the government has $12,000 less to oppress me with. Both are independently good things.

     

     

  12. You are mistaken. I don’t recall ever voting for a democrat, and I have voted for Republicans

    Then I’m not mistaken. I said you vote for Republicans and not Democrats, and I was right. You’re a moderate right-winger or librarian-leaning right-winger. Still a right-winger.

    first I have $12,000 more, and second the government has $12,000 less to oppress me with. Both are independently good things.

    Correct. I agree completely and said exactly that right here. I also said Trump is directly contributing to the destruction of the USA buy lowering taxes while massively increasing spending, which is also true.

    Therefore, if you’re like me, don’t give a rat fuck about the USA, and are trying to make as much money as possible before your final exit, Trump is great! But if you care about the future of the country and support Trump, you’re either ignorant or irrational. Not sure which category you’re in, but I know which I’m in.

  13. I think one thing the U.S. is still number one in is the right to bear arms (at least in first world nations)… especially in libertarian states like new hampshire (constitutional carry)… though of course there is a major war on that right now

     

  14. Hey Caleb,

    You might wanna warn your younger male audiences to avoid getting second citizenship passports with mandatory military service. Singapore has compulsory military time of 22 to 24 months! Same goes for Taiwan…damn!

    Do you establish permanent or non permanent residency in both of your Country A? I don’t think you’ve gone into detail about this, though I could be wrong.

    See, the problem with digital nomads is that visa laws regarding international income is a major grey area, and most of those location independent workers choose to simply make money under the table with a tourist visa. Since breaking the law is not conducive to freedom, how do you intend to solve this issue?

    Other option that I’ve heard of are that some guys apply for a work visa, while also being the owner of the sponsoring company simultaneously. Sometimes it works, but countries like the US in particular are becoming more anal about this.

    Andrew from Nomad Capitalist mentioned that owning an offshore company could probably help with this. Your thoughts?

    What types of visas would you recommend for location independent business owners who are looking for Country A? What type of visas are you getting for Hong Kong and New Zealand?

  15. Caleb Jones says

    Then I’m not mistaken. I said you vote for Republicans and not Democrats, and I was right. You’re a moderate right-winger or librarian-leaning right-winger. Still a right-winger.

    That is like saying “I occasionally date Asian women, but never black women, but mostly I date curvy blondes”. And you saying: “Aha, so have the yellow fever!” Which is a logical nonsense. Just because the occasional Asian satisfies my whim doesn’t tell you much about my general preferences at all, and just because one particularly spectacular Asian girl is more attractive than the average curvy blonde also doesn’t say much about my general preferences.

    FWIW, I think that as a general rule, and with a small number of exceptions, politicians are among the worst human beings on earth.

    Correct. I agree completely and said exactly that right here. I also said Trump is directly contributing to the destruction of the USA buy lowering taxes while massively increasing spending, which is also true.

    That is true, but massively increased spending in the USA is an inevitable consequence of where we are politically. It is like saying “I’m going to die anyway, so why bother eating healthy and exercising.”

    Therefore, if you’re like me, don’t give a rat fuck about the USA

    I don’t know if I don’t give a rat fuck about the USA. I have a lot of affection for it. The existence of the USA has been a massive force for good in the world. Do I think its decline is inevitable? Probably, and so yeah, Trump helped me out by taking his hand out of my pocket so I have more money — and money is a great problem solver when the shit hits the fan.

    But to answer your question, I care a little about the future of the country, but I don’t think Trump will have much impact — though he might potentially slow things down — but I primarily care about me and my family, and Trump has mostly been beneficial on that (or more specifically, has been the best I could have hoped for from a realistic political settlement.)

     

  16. You might wanna warn your younger male audiences to avoid getting second citizenship passports with mandatory military service. Singapore has compulsory military time of 22 to 24 months! Same goes for Taiwan…damn!

    Doesn’t apply to older men who will likely be the ones doing this, and passports from places like Singapore or Taiwan are extremely difficult to get and will not likely be on anyone’s list.

    Do you establish permanent or non permanent residency in both of your Country A?

    You can. I probably will once I find a place I like (likely New Zealand). That doesn’t mean I’ll be there year-round though, since there are tax implications.

    See, the problem with digital nomads is that visa laws regarding international income is a major grey area, and most of those location independent workers choose to simply make money under the table with a tourist visa. Since breaking the law is not conducive to freedom, how do you intend to solve this issue?

    By following all the laws of any country I spend significant amount of time in. I know guys (like Andrew Henderson) who pay 1-2% total taxes and do so completely legally.

    Andrew from Nomad Capitalist mentioned that owning an offshore company could probably help with this. Your thoughts?

    Of course. That’s my Country C.

    What types of visas would you recommend for location independent business owners who are looking for Country A?

    Very inexpensive countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Argentina, Chile, etc. Stay out of Europe, including Eastern Europe (which is still Europe and still on it’s way out like the rest of Europe). If you have more money, you can look at places like NZ or Malaysia.

    What type of visas are you getting for Hong Kong

    Standard visitors 90 day visa for Americans.

    and New Zealand?

    The second level visitor’s visa that lasts 9 months.

  17. Had a look at the chart. All I can say is … you know the USA has gone downhill when it ranks behind Sweden, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom- the 3 most notorious nanny states in the world!

  18. Yes, particularly if he followed all my other advice about taxes, lifestyle, business, etc.

    That’s comforting, actually. It will take some time for me to attain that kind of income, but if it will allow me to survive in a place that is more free than the US, then I am more than willing to take that journey.

    Very inexpensive countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Argentina

    I was considering Thailand, I follow a fair amount of digital nomads who are quite happy there. Exactly how much cheaper is it to live there compared to New Zealand or any other prospect for your country A?

  19. I was considering Thailand, I follow a fair amount of digital nomads who are quite happy there.

    Yeah, every digital nomad in the world lives in Chiang Mai.

    Exactly how much cheaper is it to live there compared to New Zealand or any other prospect for your country A?

    Much cheaper. (Though you’re living in the third world.) Go here:

    https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living

  20. Yeah, every digital nomad in the world lives in Chiang Mai.

    lol its funny because its true! Is that a bad thing? I mean you mentioned the third world, how much less developed could Thailand possibly be? I mean it would definitely suit my lifestyle. I’m very attracted to how digital nomads live and could definitely see myself being one in the future.

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