The American Enterprise Institute hosted a conference with some of their pals: the Heritage Foundation, Fraser Institute, and Cato Institute to talk about “measuring economic liberty.” These conservative lobbyist organizations employ the strategy to try to argue academically that their ‘hands-off” approach to free enterprise works best. They do that to protect their constituents, the 1% who control 90% of the wealth. That is too much of a generalization to defend, so let’s focus on their term, “economic liberty.”
Look at each of the speakers' presentations at this link and you may also listen and see their delivery as it is videotaped.
Also, AEI’s Emma Bennett summarized the aggregate message that is condensed here to soundbites:
“1. Observers agree that economic liberty is important for economic growth, personal well-being, and even human flourishing.
2.’Without economic freedom, you can only get ahead by hurting others; with economic freedom, you get ahead by working with others.’
3. Economic liberty has been shown to influence per capita income, education, longevity, and environmental sustainability.
4. The World Bank's Doing Business measure takes into account not only how easy it is to start a business, but also how easy it is to maintain or dissolve that business afterwards.”
5. Indexes developed by the Heritage Foundation, Fraser Institute, and Cato Institute use measures:
a. of the strength of legal institutions,
b. of government involvement in the economy,
c. of regulations
d. of the openness of markets to develop a ranking of economic freedom.
6. Economists are now examining institutions -- and economic liberty in particular -- as important influencers of growth and prosperity in today's world.”
Here is another “observer’s” take on “economic liberty.”
Economic liberty is synonymous with economic freedom. It implies that individuals have the right to earn and to accumulate as much wealth as they want and are able to accomplish.
That notion derives from the capitalist model.
Under the capitalist model, capital assets are privately owned and goods and services are produced for profit in a market economy. Capitalists yearn for high degrees of freedom in the market whereby consumers regulate supply and demand based upon their needs and preferences in accessing products and services that are supplied in varying amounts.
Capital is needed to fuel the businesses and systems of production and distribution.
Labor is a variable as workers possess certain characteristics and capacities that are available in different amounts of supply to support business systems.
Capitalism operates under different forms of government. Government provides constraints in the form of laws and regulations. Governments in a sense charge businesses and people for the opportunity to live and work in the environment provided by them.
Capitalists argue for less regulation and speedier government processes such that there is less friction applied to their smooth running desire to maximize profits.
The economic system in the USA is a public and private partnership. Sustainable economics is an increasingly important subject because today we are not assured of that outcome. So, there is much deliberation and debate about how to engineer a sustainable economy while preserving economic liberty.