by Phil Saggese
There isn’t a nation in the world that has the entirety of libertarianism put together. For example, in the Netherlands, you can smoke marijuana in front of the police, but the government will also tax your paycheck 52% when your income hits 66,000 euros. In England, Nigel Farage just defeated the EU but they have a bigger, nastier version of the NSA in the motherland. With all of that being said, these are the most libertarian countries in the world, based on a combination of being fiscally conservative and favoring individual freedom.
In seems fitting to mention England. It is simple: they no longer have a government that supersedes their federal government’s authority, and for libertarians, less is more when it comes to government. They are no longer chain-bound to an ever sinking ball that is the European Union.
Economically, they are now free of regulations, taxes and tariffs that the European Union has placed on them since 1973. But on the other hand, they are still bound to the crony capitalism of the Virgin Corporation. Due to their support for regulations with which competitors cannot compete and lobbying for government contracts, Virgin has snagged a large amount of England’s market share.
In terms of individual liberty, Edward Snowden was spot on when he said the GCHQ was worse than the NSA. In England, one can actually be tried on evidence solely gathered from government surveillance. Drugs are illegal, although British Parliament understands, unlike the U.S. Congress, that heroin should be classified differently than marijuana.
In Portugal, income is taxed at 20%, Social Security at 11%, and movie tickets and bottled water at 13%. Moreover, most items taxed in the United States at roughly 4-6% are taxable at close to 23%. The national debt is 129% of the GDP. The fiscal scene is disastrous in Portugal. Interestingly enough though, there is a fairly low amount of regulation of business growth. The debt crisis? Portugal actually runs on a surplus budget most years. However, the debt is seeing a steady increase and Portugal’s GDP to debt ratio is only projected to grow more unfavorable. That would be really bad news for a country like the U.S., whose debt is roughly $20 Trillion.
Yet, individual liberty is high in this country. This is the first nation worldwide to decriminalize all drugs. The result? 20% decreases in drug use. Maybe they should consider implementing libertarian economics as well.
3. United States of America
We have the NSA, Obamacare, we can only smoke marijuana in a few states, and we can’t use most other recreational substances anywhere. Additionally, we have to wait three days to buy a gun in nearly every state and President Obama has added over 20,000 business regulations during his presidency. However, our Constitution, while all but erased from modern Washington D.C., essentially birthed modern libertarian governance.
The federal government had 17 enumerated powers, and numerous other countries copied that model in 1776 and 1787. Our Constitution was meant to be liberating from government, and demonstrated that government was to be very limited and serve primarily to protect our lives and liberty. However, now we have the Bill of Rights being trampled on nearly every day.
In 2016 we are not as free as (most) Americans were in 1787, but we still live damn good lives. American quality of life is still the highest in the world. One day, unless we restore sound principles to government, it will not be, but for now, let us enjoy the prosperity that was built of the backs of capitalism. Yes, undeniably, we are moving ever faster off this list, but we still deserve a place on this list because of places like Palo Alto and Silicon Valley. These areas demonstrate that capitalism still drives progress and that you can’t regulate creativity. The United States deserve a spot because it was one of the first examples of a successful libertarian republican form of government… but no, Mr. Franklin, we could not keep it.
It is interesting how the GDP of Uruguay has been on the rise as much as 5.6% as a once communist-leaning president turned the nation capitalist. As Central American countries saw economic downturn between 2013 and 2014, Uruguay pushed forward to cut regulation and taxes that would encourage business growth. What was once a starving nation of socialists has become a fine example of capitalism creating prosperity. A poverty rate of 36% in 2006 t0 9.7% in 2014 was a decline that did not falter even in the fiscal crash of 2008.
Uruguay was the first nation to legalize cannabis across the board. This bold move cut down on impairments and violence.
They have the world’s 19th-largest economy and yet have just over half a million people. The numbers from the Heritage foundation are extremely high in terms of limited regulation, opportunity for foreign investment and a newly diversified economy. Taxes still cover 39% of the nation’s GDP but business growth is booming as a result of limited government interference.
Individual liberty abounds in this country for same-sex couples and drug users. From the Freedom House, Luxembourg earns a 99 out of 100. The economy is booming, crime and drug use is down. Isn’t it amazing what people are capable of without the government interfering?