FreetoChoose - Free to Choose Economics and Religion Theodore Malloch Introduction A comparison of this surveys general religious freedom scores

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Free to Choose: Economics and Religion Theodore Malloch Introduction A comparison of this survey’s general religious freedom scores with the scores of in the Heritage Foundation/Wall St. Journal Indices of Economic Freedom shows that religious freedom and economic freedom tend to go together. The countries with the worst records of religious freedom -- Burma, China-Tibet, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, the Maldives, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan --- and, following not far behind them, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, China, Cuba, Mauritania, Pakistan, the Palestinian areas, and Vietnam, are by and large also those with terrible economic records. The worst 30 countries in economic freedom in 2007 also scored worst, a 5, 6, or 7, on religious freedom. A similar relation holds at high levels of freedom, and for those countries in the middle. The top 30 countries in the 2007 ranking of economic freedom all scored 1, 2, or 3 on religious freedom. There are, of course, exceptions. Hungary is very religiously free, a ‘1,’ but ranks lower on economic freedom, though still more economically free than Italy or France. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are religiously restrictive but comparatively more open economically. However, there is a basic pattern. As Brian Grim explains in his essay “Religious Freedom and Socio- Economic Wellbeing,” the general religious freedom score has a high (0.743) correlation with the economic freedom measure and government regulation of religion (GRI) also has a high (.579) correlation. Obviously, societies that are free in one area often tend to be free in others, but this correlation is not merely a reflection of countries’ records on human rights or civil liberties in general since, as Grim also shows, religious freedom scores have dimensions distinct from civil liberties. We find that nations and economies that have religious liberty have greater economic freedom and that countries with more economic freedom also tend to engender more religious liberty. We also find inverse correlations of religious freedom with gross domestic product (– . 251) and the level of earned income for women (– .565) and men (– .535), showing that those countries that fail to encourage religious liberty also usually fail to give rise to prosperous economies with economic freedom. Some of these countries may get by on mineral or other wealth, but they usually cannot sustain their economic growth Such trends prompt the question of why these indicators are correlated, and whether there is a causal connection. Even apart from the relative degree of government constraint, is there any indication that religious freedom encourages people to take advantage of the opportunities provided by economic freedom? Is there any connection that would encourage people to become entrepreneurs who might benefit themselves, their companies, employees, shareholders, consumers, stakeholders and the entire community by growing enterprises as engines of
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This note was uploaded on 01/22/2010 for the course ECO 1101 taught by Professor Sparr during the Fall '05 term at St.Francis College.

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FreetoChoose - Free to Choose Economics and Religion Theodore Malloch Introduction A comparison of this surveys general religious freedom scores

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