Protecting Personal Freedoms Fuels Prosperity

December 2017

Personal and press freedom are under threat because of increased concern over insecurity and migration, according to the latest global Prosperity Index published by The Legatum Institute.

This annual Index measures 9 'pillars', which combine to deliver a rounded picture of global social and economic progress each year. The index is trying to define prosperity as 'prosperity for all not just for the rich'.

A wide range of sectors is measured including economic, business, governance, personal freedom, social capital, safety, security, education, health, and natural resources. Previous indices have measured a fairly steady growth in global economic output over a ten year period. However, economic growth on its own does not equate to stable and progressive societies, as the Index highlights. Making consistent progress across all indices is what delivers a high ranking. 

In a majority of nations the scores for the Personal Freedom pillar rose in 2016-17, contributing to global economic growth. However, there were significant falls in some important regions, notably North America, North Africa and the Middle East.  MENA in particular saw a sharp decline in press freedom. Overall, the Index suggests that press freedom (a subset of Personal Freedom) is the lowest it has been for 13 years.

Individual liberty, with freedom of thought and freedom of expression, are "preconditions of sustained prosperity", according to the Index. Without these fundamental freedoms, where will the creativity come from to drive forward the businesses and innovation which are essential for future economic prosperity?

It is a striking feature of the 2017 Prosperity Index, that the countries which make up the bottom quartile of the Index, all score very badly on the Freedom pillar.



Jerry Timmins

Managing Director GMT Media Ltd