Video: Think economic freedom, think higher quality of life

Just as confidence in the economy drops below 2010 levels, a new video from the Charles Koch Foundation makes the case for economic freedom with a resonant question and the indisputable graphics to answer it.

The connection between economic freedom and quality of life couldn’t be clearer. As the video explains, in countries with the most free economies, people earn, on average, more than eight times what people earn in countries with the least free economies — and the poor in the freest economies earn 10 times more than the poor in the most restrictive economies. People in the most economically free countries are happier, have better protected civil rights and cleaner environments. They live, on average, about 20 times longer. The freest countries also have less corruption, less infant mortality, less child labor and less unemployment.

Those facts make it all the more urgent and imperative that the United States reverse course. Over the past few years, the nation has declined in the rankings of economically free countries, according to the Wall Street Journal-Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom — and it will supposedly continue to decline. But if we want to retain to retain the high quality of life we enjoy now, that has to change.

As a side note, the video itself is as impressive as the information it presents. As one YouTube commenter put it, it’s “an amazingly well composed, straightforward and beautifully executed video to explain the most basic cornerstone of prosperity and quality of life.” It resembles, slightly, this innovative and entertaining “Joy of Stats” video and proves the same point: Data visualization is no easy assignment, but, when done effectively, as here, it educates and invites viewers in an especially memorable way. May this video make the rounds to those who might not know just what’s at stake in economic debates!