Property Rights Index 2008: Poor need property laws to create wealth

People in countries that protect their physical and intellectual property enjoy a GDP per capita up to nine times greater than those without legal protection, the 2008 edition of the International Property Rights Index (IPRI), reveals. Countries that protect property rights provide an essential foundation for peace, stability and prosperity, the Index shows: its calculations cover 115 countries, representing 96 per cent of the world’s GDP.


Pakistan lags behind 92 countries; ranked at 93 with weakest property rights

Far behind neighboring India’s position at 36

In IPR even Bangladesh is ahead of Pakistan

In Gender Equality, Pakistan is ranked at 86th out of 90 countries

People in countries that protect their physical and intellectual property enjoy a GDP per capita up to nine times greater than those without legal protection, the 2008 edition of the International Property Rights Index (IPRI), reveals. Countries that protect property rights provide an essential foundation for peace, stability and prosperity, the Index shows: its calculations cover 115 countries, representing 96 per cent of the world’s GDP. Alternate Solutions Institute, Lahore, and 40 organizations from six continents joined the Property Rights Alliance in Washington, DC and its Hernando de Soto Fellowship program to disseminate the report that is released today.

“Property is an extension of one’s self and life. Without its protection, we are just in a state of social and existential nothingness,” said Dr. Khalil Ahmad, Executive Director of the Institute. “What happened in the wake of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, and how both public and private property was plundered is sufficient to prove the state’s criminal negligence in protecting its own property and the property of its citizens,” he added.

That is why for Pakistan not only protection of property rights but protection of property itself continues to be a great challenge. The 2008 IPRI Report shows that Pakistan lags behind 92 countries with weakest property rights and is ranked at 93rd position (score: 3.9 out of 10) along with Nepal and Ecuador. It is far behind India’s position at 36.

This year the top country is Finland with 8.6 score whereas the bottom country is Bangladesh with 2.9. It is important to note that Pakistan falls in the bottom quintile that includes countries like Bangladesh and Ethiopia. It is no better than its last year’s performance when it was ranked at 59th position out of 70 countries with a score of 3.3. As regards Intellectual Property Rights, Pakistan is ranked at 103rd with 2.8 score whereas Bangladesh fares better at 101st with 2.9. In Gender Equality regarding property rights, Pakistan is ranked at 86th out of 90 countries with a score of 2.4. In other components of the Index, Pakistan’s performance is as follows:

Legal and Political Environment: score 3.0; rank 106th; Last year’s score 1.9
Physical Property Rights: score 5.8; rank 56th; Last year’s score 5.1
Intellectual Property Rights: score 2.8; rank 103rd; Last year’s score 2.8
Gender Equality: score 2.4; rank: 86th out of 90 countries; Last year’s score 2.0 and rank 63rd out of 65 countries

Hernando De Soto, whose seminal work on property rights led to the conception of the IPRI, said this year’s results “provide further proof of the relationship between the robustness of a country’s property rights system and its economic development, revealing that much still needs to be done to extend property rights to more people, especially the poor.”

In order to incorporate and grasp the important aspects related to property rights protection, the 2008 IPRI focuses on three areas: Legal and Political Environment (LP), Physical Property Rights (PPR), and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). The 115 countries represent 96% of world GDP: the study demonstrates that countries in the top quartile of the Index have an average GDP per capita more than nine times higher than those in the bottom quartile.

The International Property Rights Index provides the public, researchers and policymakers, from across the globe, with a tool for comparative analysis and research on global property rights. The Index seeks to assist underperforming countries to develop robust economies through an emphasis on sound property law.

Download the Report (PDF)

For more information, such as a country-by-country analysis, list of global partner organizations, visit www.InternationalPropertyRightsIndex.org

Media Release: New Website Offers Path to Prosperity for Pakistanis

Lahore February 20, 2009: A new professional website featuring research, online books, regular informed commentary, and much more has been launched by the Alternate Solutions Institute, Pakistan’s first free market think tank. The site is http://asinstitute.org and offers articles, books, newsletters, press releases and briefings, and numerous studies. Research topics include Agriculture and Food, Economics, Energy and Environment, Government and Politics, Healthcare, Law and Legal Issues, and Trade.


Lahore: A new professional website featuring research, online books, regular informed commentary, and much more has been launched by the Alternate Solutions Institute, Pakistan’s first free market think tank. The site is http://asinstitute.org and offers articles, books, newsletters, press releases and briefings, and numerous studies. Research topics include Agriculture and Food, Economics, Energy and Environment, Government and Politics, Healthcare, Law and Legal Issues, and Trade. Dr. Khalil Ahmad, Executive Director of the Alternate Solutions Institute, said on announcing the site, “We designed something that is easy to navigate and takes care of the slow internet connections. It is visitor-friendly and offers many research opportunities to journalists, policy makers, academics, businesspeople, and students who want the latest research on top issues in Pakistan.”

Dr. Ahmad also disclosed plans for a new project in Urdu. “With the successful launch of our new English website, we are taking up another ambitious project, Hum-Azad.org. This will work as the Alternate Solutions Institute’s Urdu project and will serve as the biggest Urdu portal on the internet where in addition to the content from the English website, literature relating to the philosophy, values, ideas, and themes of Classical Liberalism will be made available in Urdu.”

He also thanked the Atlas Economic Research Foundation and the Cato Institute, in Washington D.C., their financial and technical collaboration without which the English website project could not be completed in such a short time. The Atlas Economic Research Foundation has agreed to collaborate in the designing and launching of the Urdu project, Hum-Azad.org also.

Hum-Azad.org

For more information, contact the Alternate Solutions Institute at info@asinstitute.org

Khalil Ahmad
Executive Director

Media Release: 3rd International Property Rights Index 2009

Lahore February 24, 2009: In a study released today in Pakistan by Alternate Solutions Institute, Pakistan’s first free market think tank, data shows that countries that protect physical and intellectual property rights enjoy nearly nine times higher GDP per capita than countries ranking lowest in property rights protections. The study, the 2009 International Property Rights Index (IPRI), compared the protections of physical and intellectual property to economic stability in 115 countries representing 96 per cent of the world’s GDP.


Well being of the poor linked to the protection of property rights – 3rd International Property Rights Index 2009

Pakistan ranks at 90 out of 115 countries; India at 46th; Bangladesh at the bottom

In Legal and Physical Environment, Bangladesh is ahead of Pakistan

In Gender Equality for property rights, Pakistan ranks 81 out of 90 countries

Lahore February 24, 2009: In a study released today in Pakistan by Alternate Solutions Institute, Pakistan’s first free market think tank, data shows that countries that protect physical and intellectual property rights enjoy nearly nine times higher GDP per capita than countries ranking lowest in property rights protections. The study, the 2009 International Property Rights Index (IPRI), compared the protections of physical and intellectual property to economic stability in 115 countries representing 96 per cent of the world’s GDP. Alternate Solutions Institute and 54 organizations from six continents as members of the Property Rights Alliance based in Washington, D.C. which through its Hernando de Soto Fellowship program prepares the Index, are releasing the IPRI 2009 today.

“It is protection of one’ property that incentives the creation of wealth, whereas in Pakistan in the absence of an efficient system of justice, not only the protection of property rights but protection of property itself continues to be a CHALLENGE for the government,” said Dr. Khalil Ahmad, Executive Director of the Institute.

This year Pakistan’s score on the scale of IPRI rose to 4.0 from last year’s 3.9 (out of 10), and its rank improved to 90 from 93 (out of 115 countries). But in “Legal and Political Environment” component that studies Judicial Independence, Rule of Law, Political Stability, and Control of Corruption, Pakistan performed badly. In this component, Pakistan’s score declined from 3.0 to 2.7. Though in other two components, Physical Property Rights and Intellectual Property Rights Pakistan has improved its position from 5.8 to 6.0 and 2.8 to 3.3 respectively, but as the authors of the Index too admit, “Pakistan has slightly improved the overall IPRI score and climbed up the ranking, however, for the greater improvement of the protection of the property rights, the legal and the political environment is a main contributory factor.”

In Gender Equality for property rights, Pakistan and Bangladesh are in close affinity: Pakistan is ranked at 81 out of 90 countries with a score of 4.9, and Bangladesh at 89 with a score of 5.0. In the same area, India is far ahead of Pakistan with a score of 6.6 and ranking at 49. In Intellectual Property Rights, India ranks at 49, Pakistan and Bangladesh lagging behind at 97 and 111 respectively. In Physical Property Rights, India is at 36, whereas Pakistan at 48 and Bangladesh at 115. Surprisingly, in Legal and Political Environment, Bangladesh is ahead of Pakistan with its ranking at 108, while Pakistan stands at 107th position. In the same area India is at 53.

This year too the top country is Finland with 8.6 score whereas the bottom country is Bangladesh with 2.5.

Hernando De Soto, whose seminal work on property rights led to the conception of the IPRI, said this year’s results “continue to point out the relationship between a strong property rights system and a country’s economic well-being, revealing that much still needs to be done to extend property rights to more people, especially the poor.”

The International Property Rights Index provides the public, researchers and policymakers, from across the globe, with a tool for comparative analysis and future research on global property rights. The Index seeks to assist underperforming countries to develop robust economies through an emphasis on sound property law.

Download the full report (PDF)

For more information, such as a country-by-country analysis, list of global partner organizations, or the report in its entirety, visit www.InternationalPropertyRightsIndex.org.

Khalil Ahmad
Executive Director

Property Rights Index 2007: Pakistan ranks at 59th position with weakest property rights

A new international index reveals how laws on physical and intellectual property stimulate growth while the weakest economies have the weakest laws. Today’s first annual International Property Rights Index (IPRI) measures seventy countries’ performance in the protection of land titles and copyrights, assets and patents showing the direct effect on economic well-being.


Lahore March 06, 2007: A new international index reveals how laws on physical and intellectual property stimulate growth while the weakest economies have the weakest laws. Today’s first annual International Property Rights Index (IPRI) measures seventy countries’ performance in the protection of land titles and copyrights, assets and patents showing the direct effect on economic well-being.

In the developing world these “essential legal mechanisms easily available to the elite entrepreneurs in their country and all business people in advanced nations” are what the poor need to “allow them to do business in markets outside the limited confines of family and acquaintances,” says world-leading economist Hernando de Soto in his introduction.

The 2007 IPRI analyses Legal and Political Environment (LP), Physical Property Rights (PPR), and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in 70 countries accounting for 95% of world GDP: the countries in the top quartile of the Index have an average GDP per capita more than seven times those in the bottom quartile. The final results show an 89 percent correlation between GDP per capita and the IPRI score for each country: the stronger the rights of ownership, the better off the people.

The report by Property Rights Alliance in Washington, DC and its Hernando de Soto Fellowship program is distributed by 38 organizations from six continents, including Alternate Solutions Institute Pakistan.

With regard to Pakistan, the protection of property rights continues to be a challenge. The IPR Index 2007 ranks Pakistan (along with Kenya, Guatemala and Ecuador) at 59th position out of 70 countries with a score of 3.3. The top country is Norway with a score of 8.3 out of 10, whereas the bottom country is Bangladesh with a score of 2.2. As to Gender Equality regarding the property rights, Pakistan has been assigned a score of 2.2 with ranking at 63. Here it is no better than Ethiopia and Kenya. In the area of Legal and Political Environment, Pakistan’s score is 1.9; in Physical Property Rights, it is 5.1; and, in Intellectual Property Rights, it is 2.8.

Secure property rights are the most effective incentive towards both domestic and foreign investment, and stimulate growth, says Dr. Khalil Ahmad of Alternate Solutions Institute.

The International Property Rights Index seeks to assist underperforming countries to develop robust economies through an emphasis on sound property law, creating social and economic stability and the freedom to trade in goods and ideas. The Index gives researchers, policymakers and the public around the globe a tool for comparative analysis and future research.

Download the Report (PDF)

For more information, such as a country-by-country analysis, list of global partner organizations, visit www.InternationalPropertyRightsIndex.org

The 2007 IPRI partner organizations include:

Alternate Solutions Institute (Pakistan)
Asociación de Consumidores Libres (Costa Rica)
Centre for Free Enterprise (Korea)
Centro de Investigaciones Económicas Nacionales (Guatemala)
CEPOS (Denmark)
Competere (Italy)
Circulo Liberal (Uruguay)
CIVITA (Norway)
ESEADE University (Argentina)
Eudoxa (Sweden)
European Center for Economic Growth (Belgium/Austria)
FREE (Poland)
Friedrich A. v. Hayek Institut (Austria)
Friedrich Naumann Foundation (East and Southeast Asia Regional Office)
Fundación Atlas 1853 (Argentina)
Fundación IDEA (Mexico)
Fundación Libertad (Panama)
Fundación Libertad y Democracia (Bolivia)
IMANI: The Centre for Humane Education (Ghana)
Initiative for Public Policy Analysis (Nigeria)
Instituto de Libre Empresa (Peru)
Instituto Ecuatoriano de Economía Política (Ecuador)
Instituto Liberdade (Brazil)
Instituto Libertad y Progreso (Colombia)
Instituto Para La Libertad y el Analisis de Politicas (Costa Rica)
Institut Constant de Rebecque (Switzerland)
Institute for Free Enterprise (Germany)
Institute for Public Affairs (Australia)
Inter Region Economic Network (Kenya)
International Policy Network (United Kingdom)
Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (Israel)
Libertad y Desarrollo (Chile)
Liberty Institute (India)
Property Rights Alliance (United States)
RSE – Centre for Social and Economic Research (Iceland)
The Center for Institutional Analysis and Development (Romania)
The Free Market Foundation (South Africa)
The Lion Rock Institute (Hong Kong)

Templeton Freedom Awards 2007: A. S. Institute honored with Honorable Mention

Think tanks from the United States and 13 other countries have been named winners of 2007 Templeton Freedom Awards, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, which manages the competition, announced today. Winning institutions come from a widely diverse geographical area, ranging from Montana to Montenegro, Brazil to Belarus, Sweden to Japan.


16 THINK TANKS FROM 14 COUNTRIES TO RECEIVE
THE ATLAS ECONOMIC RESEARCH FOUNDATION’S
2007 TEMPLETON FREEDOM AWARDS

Arlington, VA, March 12, 2007 – Think tanks from the United States and 13 other countries have been named winners of 2007 Templeton Freedom Awards, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, which manages the competition, announced today. Winning institutions come from a widely diverse geographical area, ranging from Montana to Montenegro, Brazil to Belarus, Sweden to Japan.

The multi-faceted awards program, which attracted this year more than 200 entries from 53 countries, recognizes innovative civil society programs sponsored by independent research institutes around the world. The program is named in honor of famed investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton. “Economic and political freedom are advancing globally, and men and women focused on ideas, rather than violence, are leading the way,” said Atlas President Alejandro Chafuen. “The winners of this year’s Templeton Awards demonstrate the breadth of this movement.”

Templeton Freedom Prizes for Excellence in Promoting Liberty are awarded in four categories: Free Market Solutions to Poverty, Social Entrepreneurship, Ethics & Values, and Student Outreach. Winning institutes in each category receive $10,000, while the runners up receive $5,000 each. Atlas singled out the following:

FREE MARKET SOLUTIONS TO POVERTY

The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty in Michigan won first place for its Connecting Good Intentions to Sound Economics Advertising Campaign, which used the power of the popular media to challenge common beliefs about how to alleviate poverty. Using the tagline, “Don’t Just Care, Think!,” the project used documentaries, short films, public service announcements, print ads, and other educational materials to make the case that good intentions alone will not help the world’s poor. The second place winner was the Montenegro Business Alliance for its Flat Tax project, which helped move a proposal for a flat tax from theory to implementation. Montenegro now has a flat 9% corporate tax rate – the lowest level in Europe – and a flat 15% personal tax rate, which is scheduled to be reduced to 9% by 2010.

SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP

The Property and Environment Research Center, Montana won the top prize for its two-week Enviropreneur Camp for environmental entrepreneurs, or “enviropreneurs.” The Camp encourages participants to discover how individual initiative, property rights, and the free market can be used to solve environmental problems. The second-place prize was awarded to Civitas: The Institute for the Study of Civil Society of the United Kingdom for its Supplementary Schools Project. Rather than just documenting problems in the educational system, Civitas launched its own schools to provide an alternative. The no-frills schools focus on high-quality teaching of a traditional curriculum, including phonics-based reading and math without calculators, as well as small class sizes and regular contact with parents. The schools target children from the London’s poorest neighborhoods – including recent immigrants from Bengal and Bangladesh.

ETHICS & VALUES

In response to the deteriorating image of the Argentine government after the 2001 social and economic crisis, the Foro de Estudios Sobre la Adminstración de Justicia in Buenos Aires (Forum for the Study of Judicial Administration) created the Prize for Judicial Excellence (PJE) to reward and encourage ethical, unbiased judges, and the efficient administration of justice. Sweden’s Ratio Institute received second place for its research on Markets, Morality, Trust and Growth. This project analyzed how a free economy provides incentives for moral behavior, largely because economic activity depends upon creating trust among unfamiliar parties.

STUDENT OUTREACH

The top prize in this category was given to the Scientific Research Mises Center of Belarus for various educational programs, which are conducted despite threats of reprisal from Belarus’ totalitarian government. The weekend schools, seminars, and camps help students understand the concepts of individual, economic and political freedom, which are relatively unknown in the country. The runner-up was the Liberalni Institut of the Czech Republic, whose Summer Education Programs about the importance of a free society targeted not only high school and university age students, but high school teachers as well. In addition, the Institute founded a High School Teachers Education Association in 2006, and provides member teachers with excerpts of classical literature on economics and philosophy, teaching manuals, and tests on key economic concepts and principles.

TEMPLETON FREEDOM AWARD GRANTS

In addition to these prizes honoring specific projects, Atlas announced winners of 10 Templeton Freedom Award Grants, which are given to promising institutes, especially in parts of the world where there are few independent voices advocating the ideas of freedom. Each winner receives a grant of $10,000 to help them continue their efforts. The 2007 winners are:

Center for Political Studies (Denmark)
Centro de Investigaciones Economicas Nacionales (Guatemala)
Foro de Estudios Sobre la Adminstración de Justicia (Argentina)
Fundación Libertad y Democracia (Bolivia)
Instituto de Estudos Empresariais (Brazil)
Instituto de Libre Empresa (Peru)
Japanese for Tax Reform (Japan)
Prague Security Studies Institute (Czech Republic)
Scientific Research Mises Center (Belarus)
Think Tank Romania (Romania)

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Seven additional institutes received Honorable Mentions Awards. These are:

Alternate Solutions Institute (Pakistan)
Conservative Institute of M.R. Stefanik (Slovakia)
Fundación IDEA (Mexico)
Independent Center for Studies in Economics and Law (Romania)
Institute for Transitional Democracy and International Security (Hungary)
Invertir Institute: An Initiative of Procapitales and UPC (Peru)
Lion Rock Institute (Hong Kong)

The Atlas Economic Research Foundation (www.atlasUSA.org) has been supporting independent think tanks that support the free society for more than 25 years. Atlas currently works with more than 270 think tanks in 80 countries. More than half of these organizations were assisted in their formative years by Atlas through financial support or advisory services. The Templeton Freedom Awards program was launched in 2003 with funding from the John Templeton Foundation, with more than $1,250,000 in prizes and grants distributed. The program utilizes a prestigious panel of independent judges to identify outstanding work by independent research institutes.

Research: Let the Poor Have Water, not Ideology

This year’s World Water Week will see activists gather in Stockholm to discuss ways of getting clean water to the 1 billion people around the world who are currently without it. The new research by Alex Nash argues that if water activists remain blinkered by ideology and continue to oppose private water provision, this goal will not be met.


This year’s World Water Week will see activists gather in Stockholm to discuss ways of getting clean water to the 1 billion people around the world who are currently without it. The new research by Alex Nash argues that if water activists remain blinkered by ideology and continue to oppose private water provision, this goal will not be met. This research paper has been released in Pakistan by the Alternate Solutions Institute, a partner organization of the Sustainable Development Network UK, publisher of the Nash’s research report.

Even though private water provision sees clean and safe water delivered to millions around the world, many politicians and NGOs remain irrationally opposed to the idea that profit should be made from “essential resources” like water. According to the paper’s author, Alex Nash, a water engineer with experience of public and private sector water projects in less-developed countries, this mindset is actively hindering universal access to water and with it the achievement of several Millennium Development Goals.

The truth is that many public utilities in less-developed countries suffer from endemic corruption and rarely deliver services equitably – even refusing to recognize and connect slum-dwellers: “The reality of many state run utilities is not pretty. Bribes, extortion, kickbacks, nepotism, patronage, shoddy technical standards; it’s all in a day’s work.”

Meanwhile, it is the private sector – from individual water porters to larger companies – that fill in the gaps left by dysfunctional state utilities.

The World Bank estimates that in most cities in less developed countries, more than half the population get their water from suppliers other than the public utility. But political opposition to private water could spell the end of such vital services. “The net result of these ideologues’ well-meaning efforts is a staunch defense of the corrupt, lazy or incompetent utility managers and mayors. It is a defense of the comfortable middle classes in developing countries who have cheap water while their poorer compatriots queue and walk all day.”

“Water Provision for the Poor- How ideology muddies the debate”
by Alex Nash

Download the paper (PDF)

The 26 sponsoring organizations of “Water Provision for the Poor- How ideology muddies the debate” by Alex Nash are as follows:

Ag Bio World Foundation, USA
Africa Fighting Malaria, South Africa
Alternate Solutions Institute, Pakistan
Asociación de Consumidores Libres, Costa Rica
Association for Liberal Thinking
CEDICE, Venezuela
CEPPRO, Paraguay
Centro de Innovación y Desarrollo Humano, Uruguay
ESEADE University, Argentina
Fundación Atlas 1853, Argentina
Fundación Libertad, Panamá
Free Market Foundation, South Africa
Forum on China’s Economic Growth and Business Cycle, China
Instituto Ecuatoriano de Economía Política, Ecuador
International Policy Network, UK
IMANI Center for Policy and Education, Ghana
INLAP, Costa Rica
Instituto de Libre Empresa, Peru
Instituto Liberdade, Brazil
Instituto Libertad y Progreso
Institute of Public Affairs, Australia
Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, Israel
Liberty Institute, India
Lion Rock Institute, Hong Kong
RSE – Centre for Social and Economic Research, Iceland
Zambia Institute for Public Policy Analysis, Zambia

Economic Freedom Report 2007: Pakistan Climbs the Ladder of Economic Freedom

Pakistan climbs the ladder of Economic Freedom scoring 6 points ranking 101 out of 141 countries; leaps big in Legal Structure and Security of Property Rights area by improving from 2.5 to 4.4; loses big in Access in Sound Money by sliding down from 6.4 to 6.0.


Pakistan climbs the ladder of Economic Freedom scoring 6 points ranking 101 out of 141 countries; leaps big in Legal Structure and Security of Property Rights area by improving from 2.5 to 4.4; loses big in Access in Sound Money by sliding down from 6.4 to 6.0.

Pakistan climbs the ladder of Economic Freedom scoring 6 points ranking 101 out of 141 countries; leaps big in Legal Structure and Security of Property Rights area by improving from 2.5 to 4.4; loses big in Access in Sound Money by sliding down from 6.4 to 6.0.

India inches up from 6.5 to 6.6; Hong Kong and Singapore rated best for economic freedom, Zimbabwe and Myanmar rank worst.

Lahore September 07, 2007: Hong Kong once again tops international rankings for economic freedom, with Singapore a close second and New Zealand in third spot, according to the Economic Freedom of the World: 2007 Annual Report, released today by Pakistan’s first free market think tank, Alternate Solutions Institute.

Pakistan ranked 101 out of 141 countries this year, after ranking 91 (out of 130 countries) in the last year’s report. In 2006 Report Pakistan scored 5.7 points out of 10; while this year its scored leapt to 6.0. The areas that improved Pakistan’s overall performance are: size of government; legal structure and security of property rights; and, freedom to trade internationally. The areas in which Pakistan lost a lot are: access to sound money; and, regulation of credit, labor, and business.

The annual peer-reviewed report uses 42 different measures to create an index ranking countries around the world based on policies that encourage economic freedom. The cornerstones of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete, and security of private property.

Research shows that individuals living in countries with high levels of economic freedom enjoy higher levels of prosperity, greater individual freedoms, and longer life spans. These measures are part of a fundamental base needed to build a free and prosperous nation. A quick glance at the names of countries scoring lowest on the index quickly shows that without protection of property rights and judicial independence, there is little individual freedom and little in the way of prosperity.

Pakistan scores in key components of economic freedom (from 1 to 10 where a higher value indicates a higher level of economic freedom):

• Size of government: changed to 7.3 from 7.2 in the last year’s report

• Legal structures and security of property rights: changed to 4.4 from 2.5

• Access to sound money: changed to 6.0 from 6.4

• Freedom to trade internationally: changed to 5.8 from 5.7

• Regulation of credit, labour and business: changed to 6.3 from 6.5

International Rankings

In this year’s main index, Hong Kong retains the highest rating for economic freedom, 8.9 out of 10. The other top scorers are: Singapore (8.8), New Zealand (8.5), Switzerland (8.3), Canada (8.1), United Kingdom (8.1), United States (8.1), Estonia (8.0), Australia (7.9), and Ireland (7.9).

The rankings and scores of other large economies are Germany, 18 (7.6); Japan, 22 (7.5); Mexico, 44 (7.1); France, 52 (7.0); Italy, 52 (7.0); India, 69 (6.6); China, 86 (6.3); Brazil, 101 (6.0); and Russia, 112 (5.8).

The majority of nations ranked near the bottom are African and all the nations in the bottom 10 are African, with the exceptions of Venezuela and Myanmar. They are: Zimbabwe (2.9), Myanmar (3.8), the Democratic Republic of the Congo, (4.0), Angola (4.2), the Republic of the Congo, (4.3), Central Africa Republic, (4.6), Venezuela (4.9), Burundi (5.0), Chad (5.1), Togo (5.1) and Niger (5.1). Botswana’s ranking, tied for 38th with a score of 7.2, is the best among sub-Saharan African nations.

Five nations increased their score by more than three points since 1980: Hungary (3.0), Peru (3.0), Uganda (3.2), Ghana (3.6), and Israel (3.7). Only three nations decreased their score by more than one point: Zimbabwe (−1.7), Venezuela (−1.7) and Myanmar (−1.3). Other nations that saw reductions are: Nepal (−0.7), Bahrain (−0.3), Hong Kong (−0.2), Malaysia (−0.2), the Republic of Congo (−0.2), and Haiti (−0.1).

“Weakness in the rule of law and property rights is particularly pronounced in sub-Saharan Africa, in many parts of the Middle East, and for several nations that were part of the former Soviet bloc although some of these nations have shown improvement,” said James Gwartney, lead author of the report and a Professor of Economics at Florida State University. “Many Latin American and Southeast Asian nations also score poorly for rule of law and property rights. The nations that rank poorly in this category also tend to score poorly in the trade and regulation categories, even though several have reasonably sized governments and sound money.”

This year 11 additional countries have been added to the index. These countries are Angola (4.2, 138th), Bosnia and Herzegovina (6.1, 97th), Burkina Faso (5.5, 122nd), Ethiopia (6.0, 101st), Kazakhstan (7.3, 32nd), Kyrgyz Republic (6.8, 60th), Lesotho (6.8, 60th), Mauritania (6.5, 76th), Moldova (6.5, 76th), Montenegro (6.8, 60th), and Serbia (5.6, 119th).

Global Spread of Economic Freedom

The 2007 edition of the Economic Freedom of the World report also includes new research from Russell Sobel, economics professor at West Virginia University, and Peter Leeson, professor in the study of capitalism at George Mason University, showing how economic freedom spreads between countries. Sobel and Leeson note that historically, many foreign policy decisions have been based on the notion that economic reforms in a few key nations would substantially improve the economies of other countries throughout the region – the so-called “domino effect.”

The authors conclude that while economic freedom changes in one country have only a modest impact on neighbouring countries, when multiple neighbours experience simultaneous changes in economic freedom, the impact is much greater. Broad regional changes in freedom can and do have significant impacts on surrounding countries. By liberalizing trade with foreign nations, economically free countries can exert a positive, if modest, impact on economic freedom in less free nations.

This research indicates that free-trade agreements allowing a number of nations to simultaneously coordinate trade liberalization could have a sizeable influence on spreading economic freedom to economically repressed regions of the world, Sobel and Leeson said.

About the Economic Freedom Index

Economic Freedom of the World measures the degree to which the policies and institutions of countries are supportive of economic freedom. This year’s publication ranks 141 nations for 2005, the most recent year for which data are available. The annual report is published in conjunction with the Economic Freedom Network, a group of independent research and educational institutes in over 70 nations.

For downloading the Report, data sets, and previous Economic Freedom of the World reports, visit www.freetheworld.com

For more information, please visit http://asinstitute.org or contact at info@asinstitute.org

Civil Society Report on Climate Change

Governments should reject calls for a post-Kyoto treaty “Kyoto 2”

Civil Society Report says climate policy should focus on removing barriers to adaptation


Governments should reject calls for a post-Kyoto treaty “Kyoto 2”

Civil Society Report says climate policy should focus on removing barriers to adaptation

Lahore November 27, 2007: A new Report produced by a coalition of over 40 prominent civil society organisations from 33 countries says that governments should reject calls for a post-Kyoto treaty (“Kyoto 2”) with binding limits on carbon emissions. The report says a better strategy would be to focus on removing barriers to adaptation, such as subsidies, taxes and regulations that hinder technological innovation and economic growth.

From 3-16 December, government officials will be in Bali, Indonesia, for climate talks. They are set to discuss the establishment of a new treaty, dubbed “Kyoto 2,” which would require all countries to limit emissions of greenhouse gases.

The Civil Society Report on Climate Change concludes that such emissions caps would be counterproductive: they would undermine economic development, harm the poor, and would be unlikely to address the problem of climate change in a meaningful way.

“Kyoto 2 is the wrong solution. Such a treaty would harm billions of poor people, making energy and energy-dependent technologies, such as clean water, more expensive, and would perpetuate poverty by retarding growth,” said Dr. Khalil Ahmad of Alternate Solutions Institute, one of the 41 organisations who published the report.

“Given that nations are having trouble complying with the relatively small emissions cuts required under Kyoto, the economic and social consequences of a Kyoto 2 Treaty could be devastating,” added Dr. Khalil.

The Civil Society Report argues that adaptation is the best way to enable people to deal with a changing climate. That means:

  • enabling people to utilise technologies capable of reducing the incidence of disease, such as clean water, sanitation, and medicines;
  • deploying technologies – e.g. flood defences, roads, sturdier houses, and early warning systems – that reduce the risk of death from weather-related disasters;
  • removing barriers to the use of modern agricultural technologies, which would better enable people to adapt to changing conditions;
  • eliminating subsidies, taxes, and regulations that undermine economic growth – thereby enabling people better to address current and future problems.

Other conclusions in the Civil Society Report on Climate Change include:

  • Over the course of the past century, deaths and death rates from weather-related natural disasters have declined substantially. It appears that the main drivers of this reduction have been improvements in wealth and technology.
  • Mortality from extreme weather events is far more strongly affected by the technologies deployed by humans – such as the construction of houses, roads, and dams – than by climate.
  • Human ecology and human behaviour are the key determinants of the transmission of infectious disease. Obsessive emphasis on climate is unwarranted because, given suitable economic circumstances, straightforward strategies are available to ensure the public health.
  • If adaptation is not unduly restricted, production of food and other agricultural products, as well as forestry products, will keep pace with growing human demands.
  • Foreign aid is being used as a ‘carrot’ to induce poor countries to restrict their emissions. But aid has mostly been wasted or even counterproductive. While there is a case for refocusing aid on projects that have a stronger chance of providing net benefits, increasing aid would do more harm than good.
  • Finally, the stick of trade sanctions have been threatened as a means of enforcing the global cap – yet such sanctions harm both parties; a clear lose – lose scenario.

Download the Report (PDF)

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change meet in Bali, Indonesia, from 3-16 December 2007. They will discuss a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

About the Report
Civil Society Report on Climate Change
Multi-author
Produced by the Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change
Published Tuesday 27 November 2007
ISBN 1-905041-15-2
100 pp.

About the Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change www.csccc.info

The Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change seeks to educate the public about the science and economics of climate change in an impartial manner. It was established as a response to the many biased and alarmist claims about human-induced climate change, which are being used to justify calls for intervention and regulation. The Coalition comprises 41 independent civil society organizations from 33 countries, who share a commitment to improving public understanding about a range of public policy issues. All are non-profit organizations that are independent of political parties and government.

For more information, contact info@asinstitute.org

New Book: Fighting the Diseases of Poverty

UN, governments’ policies cause avoidable disease and suffering Many health policies promoted by intergovernmental bodies and governments in less-developed countries are counterproductive and lead to unnecessary suffering, according to a new book, Fighting the Diseases of Poverty launched here by Alternate Solutions Institute, a partner organization of Campaign for Fighting Diseases.


UN, governments’ policies cause avoidable disease and suffering

Many health policies promoted by intergovernmental bodies and governments in less-developed countries are counterproductive and lead to unnecessary suffering, according to a new book, Fighting the Diseases of Poverty launched here by Alternate Solutions Institute, a partner organization of Campaign for Fighting Diseases. In it, global experts challenge conventional wisdom about the diseases of poverty and set out pragmatic approaches to fighting disease.

The book’s editor, Philip Stevens, says:

“Too often governments and international health bureaucracies promote grandiose and politically-motivated schemes that prove unworkable and lead to increased suffering and death. This is what happened with malaria and HIV/AIDS. Meanwhile, millions of children die every year from simple things like diarrhoea or chest infections. Governments need to prioritize their work better and get back to basics if there is any hope of meeting the Millennium Development Goals.”

The contributors to the book show how:

  • The explosion of counterfeit medicines in less developed countries gravely damages the health of the poor and is encouraged by a lack of enforceable property rights and weak rule of law.
  • Endemic corruption in the health systems of less developed countries imperils the health-related Millennium Development Goals.
  • Government attempts to plan and control universal healthcare systems result in rationing, inequitable access and entrenched corruption.
  • The structure and funding of the World Health Organization leads it to focus resources on the modish health issues of wealthy countries instead of its core business of fighting the diseases of poverty.

Order Fighting the Diseases of Poverty from Amazon.com.

Click here for the full text pdf (1.6 mb)

Free Trade Brings Prosperity

This Press Briefing has been arranged in connection with the launching of Global Freedom to Trade Campaign. As we know that WTO’s 5th ministerial conference is going to be held in Cancun, Mexico, from September 10 to 14, this is to remind that the driving force behind the WTO was ‘free trade’ but the politics of big powers and its vested interests have divided this platform into warring forces. We at Alternate Solutions Institute want to stress the importance of trying to achieve global free trade through WTO, and taking advantage of this Campaign wants to highlight the fact that free trade is the way of prosperity for the people of the world.


by Khalil Ahmad

The text of the Press Briefing given at a meeting with journalists in connection with the launching of the Global Freedom to Trade Campaign arranged by the Alternate Solutions Institute, Lahore, Pakistan.

Welcome. I, Khalil Ahmad, on behalf of Alternate Solutions Institute, welcome you to this Press Briefing. Alternate Solutions Institute is a registered, non-political, non-profit educational think tank. Its mission includes promotion of the concept of a limited government under the rule of law protecting life, property and individual liberty of its citizens. Its motto is: Welfare of the People by the People.

This Press Briefing has been arranged in connection with the launching of Global Freedom to Trade Campaign. As we know that WTO’s 5th ministerial conference is going to be held in Cancun, Mexico, from September 10 to 14, this is to remind that the driving force behind the WTO was ‘free trade’ but the politics of big powers and its vested interests have divided this platform into warring forces. We at Alternate Solutions Institute want to stress the importance of trying to achieve global free trade through WTO, and taking advantage of this Campaign wants to highlight the fact that free trade is the way of prosperity for the people of the world.

From the platform of Freedom to Trade Campaign we call on world leaders to permit the people of the world the real freedom to trade. That means removing all barriers to trade imposed by governments, including quotas, tariffs, subsidies and protectionist regulations.

We demand that all nations:

Eliminate import tariffs and quotas.
Eliminate production and export subsidies.
Eliminate protectionist, trade-linked environment regulations.
Remove other bureaucratic restrictions on trade.
Allow entrepreneurs, traders and innovators the freedom to protect
and exchange their property.

Free trade frees people: it is
fundamental to eliminating poverty, promoting development and
achieving political and economic freedom.

Now a few words about free trade:

In Pakistan, it has become intellectually fashionable to outrightly dismiss free market, free trade, globalization, capitalism, privatization, etc. Most of the mainstream politics and NGO activities thrive on the slogan of fighting for the poor. But, nobody ever gives a thought to the fact that these economic phenomena actually benefit the poor.

Let’s have a look at free trade: is it good for the poor or not? The opponents of free trade believe and propagandize that it is bad for the poor. How? They won’t explain it in detail.

Here are some real samples:

A news item reads as: Call to stop Chinese chicken import
Pakistan Veterinary Medical Association has demanded of the government to stop imports of frozen chicken from China besides imposing duty on such imports. The President of PVMA said the imported frozen chicken meat was much cheaper than the locally produced chicken.

Another news item reads as: Heavy duty on chicken meat import sought
Karachi: Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) has demanded of the government to impose heavy duty on the import of chicken in order to protect the local chicken industry from plunging into crisis. The office bearers of PPA said that two consignments of 25 tonnes of chicken had already been imported from China which would have drastic consequences for the local industry and the country will suffer a loss of Rs.14 million in GDP and thousands of people attached with the industry would be rendered jobless. The Convener Press and Public Relations of PPA said that imported chicken is much cheaper in comparison to local chicken but the public gets no relief from it as its full consignment goes to hotels and catering houses.

Whose interests the stopping of cheaper chicken import from China or duty imposed on it will serve? No doubt, not the interest of consumers.

Yet another news item reads as: PTC urges govt to check duty evasion, smuggling
The Managing Director Pakistan Tobacco Company (PTC) urged the government to check duty evasion and smuggling which is seriously hurting the tobacco industry. The Managing Director further stated that the loss to the government annually is around Rs.6 billion at the current rate in which evasion amounts to Rs.4.2 billion and smuggling Rs.1.8 billion.

Isn’t it another case of avoiding open competition to fleece the consumers? Of course, the smugglers provide cheaper and better things; that is why people buy them, and, in turn, the smugglers earn profit from this ‘illegal’ trade. And, why the producers and importers try to evade the duty? Because this duty raises the cost of a product and makes it less competitive in the market, so the people had to evade such duties to be successful in their businesses. Why don’t these Poverty Politicos ask the government to eliminate or reduce such duties, instead?

And yet another news item reads as: Duty on used monitors fails to boost TV sales
The imposition of 25 per cent import duty on used computer monitors in the budget FY 2003-2004 has failed to hold back the declining sales of both the imported as well as the locally manufactured television sets. The price of used monitors is so low that even with the addition of 25 % import duty, the monitors are still considered cheaper by the lower and middle income group buyers who are the biggest seekers of this item. Used monitors are not only used with unbranded or second hand computers but used as television sets too by adding a device known as ‘TV Card’ which has a remote facility to view at least 256 channels; and this type of a modified television plus computer monitor with better picture quality (is far cheaper) than any new brand television set.

Whose interests this 25 % import duty on used monitors did serve? Hasn’t the advancement in technology (made by some ‘greedy’ capitalist to earn profit) brought things in the reach of low income groups? And, even the import duty purported to serve the interest of the TV set importers failed to stop this benefit to the poor.

You know about the present shortage of cars. In a world where innumerable cars exist, can you imagine a country where people have been forced to buy cars from black market? Reason is that if you do not create a free market, a black market will emerge.

On the whole, what do these news items amount to? Clearly, they amount to Protectionism. The poultry association, the tobacco manufacturers, all of them and many others in the same situation clamor for Protectionism because it serves their interest, and it is understandable. But, why do the people fighting for the cause of poor favor import duties, restrictions on free trade, and advocate protectionism? It is quite unintelligible.

They plead, as has been argued in the above news items, that local industry will be destroyed. Do they mean that the local industry should flourish at the cost of poor consumers? I hope they won’t concede to this anti-poor measure. Then, they try to frighten us that so many people working with this industry will be rendered jobless. Again, do they mean that so many people should have job and live at the cost of other people? I hope they would like to give a serious thought to this exploitative situation. Their final argument is like this: free trade results in a loss to the government. This loss may be in the form of foreign exchange (as the volume of imports increases in the case of an under-developed economy), revenue (as the uncompetitive businesses vanish), and reduction in GDP (as the Pakistan Poultry Association argued ‘the drastic consequences for the local industry will incur a loss of Rs.14 million in GDP’).

Will the opponents of free trade answer these two questions: Is the loss to the government is the loss of people? Or, is the loss to the people is the loss of government? It is these answers that determine who is in favor of the poor and who is not. As a principle, the good of the people should be considered the good of the government since government is instituted for the sake of people and not vice verse. The poor benefit from free trade and a government that seeks the good of people should follow what is in the interest of people. It should not seek protectionist policies that serve only a limited section of society.

Moreover, economic decisions are judged against a background of long term consequences. If an uncompetitive industry or a business closes down, the causes which played this ‘havoc’ start working toward the birth of other businesses. New vistas open and investors and producers find new ways to do business to fulfill their own and others’ needs. This is what economic history tells. This argument against free trade is a contradiction in terms. Had history followed this course, no economic and social progress would have been possible. For instance, if to save the jobs of the typists or say calligraphists or in like cases government had imposed duties on the new products and restrictions on their use were we able to go ahead with computers and information technology? Akbar, the great moghul emperor, was shown by a foreigner the type of an earliest printer. He rejected its use on the same pretext that our calligraphers would be rendered jobless.

Also, economic decisions are judged by their consequences for all the people and not this or that section of society. Surely, the number of people attached with an industry doomed to failure is quite limited and no policy should be formulated to provide them at the cost of other people.

Another blessing of free trade is that it minimizes the possibilities of war which is one of the greatest enemies of people. Free trade brings people of various countries closer not only economically and politically but culturally and intellectually also. In addition, this mitigates or diminishes the aversions, differences, and hostilities between the peoples of those countries or creates tolerance for them; and, as a result may evaporate the causes giving rise to wars between those countries. The French Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850) aptly described this argument in a few words thus: ‘If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will.’

Finally, we must admit an economic fact of utmost significance that we are all (except those who live as parasite and consume only) producers and consumers, at the same time, of this or that product or service. Another economic and psychological fact of equal significance is that producers and consumers everywhere behave like the citizens of the same country: they seek maximum value for their money. The producer no matter a billionaire or a ‘have-not’ tries to find the highest possible price for his/her product or service, i.e. maximum value for his/her money. The consumer no matter a billionaire or a ‘have-not’ also tries to find cheaper and quality product or service, i.e. maximum value for his/her money. The determination of the point at which demands of both producer and consumer happen to balance rests with a free market and not with any other authority acting in the name of people or something else. Only a free market where voluntary exchanges take place among producers and consumers allows an open competition to exist among various producers-cum-consumers. Protectionism or restrictions on free trade between various districts or provinces or countries ultimately make poor poorer since in that case they are forced to ‘purchase’ a product or service not worth their money.