The Grey Chronicles


Philippines: World’s 92nd Freest Economy

Published jointly by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal, the Index of Economic Freedom (2008) has painted a global portrait of economic freedom [world average economic freedom pegged at 60.3] and established a benchmark by which to gage a country’s prospects for economic success.It follows a simple tenet: Something cannot be improved if it is not measured. The Index of Economic Freedom has documented the link between economic opportunity and prosperity with research and analysis for 14 years.

The 2009 Index, covering 162 countries, shows that economic freedom worldwide continues to advance steadily, albeit at a slower rate than one might hope. In this 14th edition, most of the 20 freest countries from last year are still ranked among the freest, while others in the middle of the pack have experienced some shuffling as a result of varying efforts at reform.

Europe, Asia, and the Americas are the three freest regions. Asia has both the world’s freest economy and its least free economy. More than half of the top 20 freest countries are found in Europe, and the Americas are home to some of the richest and most dynamic countries in the world.

Hereunder are the highlights for the Philippines:

“The economy of the Philippines is 56.9 percent free, according to our 2008 assessment, which makes it the world’s 92nd freest economy. Its overall score is essentially unchanged from last year. The Philippines is ranked 15th out of 30 countries in the Asia—Pacific region, and its overall score is roughly equal to the regional average [at 58.7].”

Annotations: So, the Philippines beat some 70 countries (about 57%) of the world. I wonder, how India fared?

“The Philippines scores relatively well in just two areas: trade freedom and government size. Fiscal freedom is average because income and corporate tax rates are burdensome, although overall tax revenue is low as a percentage of GDP. The average tariff rate is low, yet non-tariff barriers are significant. Total government expenditures in the Philippines are equal to roughly 20 percent of national GDP.”

Annotations: Trade freedom in the Philippines have undergone too many changes that in the 1990s the key words were economic reform and liberalization. I wonder what percent every year of the national GDP goes to the deep pockets of some "power-that-be"?

“The Philippines is relatively weak in business freedom, investment freedom, property rights, and freedom from corruption. The government imposes both formal and non-formal barriers to foreign investment. Inflation is fairly high, and the government subsidizes the prices of several basic goods. The judicial system is weak and subject to extensive political influence. Organized crime is a major deterrent to the administration of justice, and bureaucratic corruption is extensive.”

Annotations: Two [or four, depends on whose counting] versions of EDSA, and we learned nothing . . . So what’s new? Corruption is free for all! ZTE Broadband, Fertilizer, Coconut, Golden Buddha, Jueteng . . . you name it, oh! they have corrupted it! Only property rights of the rich and powerful are justifiable in this part of the world! Inflation is "fairly high" Question: Do compare the present size of the lowly pan de sal with that in the 1960s?

2008 Index of Economic Freedom

2008 Index of Economic Freedom

Compare the above to this


Kim R. Holmes, Edwin J. Feulner, and Mary Anastasia O’Grady (2008). 2008 Index of Economic Freedom. USA: The Heritage Foundation and Dow Jones & Company, Inc., November 2008. back to text


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