The Barbados economy is now ranked “mostly free” with an overall score of 71.3 out of 100 and a ranking of 28th freest out of 177 countries in the latest Index of Economic Freedom.
This is a massive improvement from the “moderately free” ranking with an overall score of 61.4 out of 100 and a position of 92nd out of 180 countries, in the 2020 report.
In 2019 index, Barbados was also ranked “moderately free” with a position of 67th out of 180 countries.
Released earlier this year by the Heritage Foundation, the index of economic freedom, which is based on data from the prior year, is based on four broad sets of indicators – rule of law, limited government, which refers to fiscal freedom and government spending; regulatory efficiency, which includes business freedom, labour freedom and monetary freedom; and open markets, which refers to trade freedom, investment freedom and financial freedom.
Bridgetown’s ranking puts it at number one in the Caribbean when it comes to economic freedom and second in Latin America and the Caribbean combined, behind Chile, which is ranked at 20th with an overall score of 74.4.
Other Caribbean and Latin American countries are ranked in the category of “moderately free” or “mostly unfree”.
According to the report, the seven economies considered free in ascending order are Singapore, Switzerland, Ireland, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Taiwan and Estonia, who all scored 80 and above.
The five countries with the most repressed economies are said to be North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
Barbados was assessed and scored in 12 areas out of 100, including property rights (72.6), government integrity (68.7), judicial effectiveness (88.2), tax burden (80.6), government spending (70.8), fiscal health (79.7), business freedom (63.4), labour freedom (63.4), monetary freedom (58.4), investment freedom (70) and financial freedom (60).
Economic freedom is defined by the Heritage Foundation as the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labour and property.
“In an economical-free society, individuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please. In economically-free societies, governments allow labour, capital and goods to move freely, and refrain from coercion or constraint of liberty beyond the extent necessary to protect and maintain liberty itself,” it added.