Economic Freedom: Essential for Resilience and Recovery

Economic Freedom: Essential for Resilience and Recovery

Data consistently bear out that economic freedom yields prosperity for the greatest number of people, and with it, greater ability to cope with hardship. Societies with more economic freedom have greater health security, including an improved ability to detect and respond to health crises and to provide access to good health care. Economic freedom also strengthens the conditions and incentives for dynamic innovation across society to deal with a public health crisis, such as COVID-19, defeat it, and be prepared for the next health crisis. Data show the inverse for people in economically oppressed countries. 

National and global economic activity have been hit hard by COVID-19, and the economies of countries across the globe are projected to have contracted significantly by the close of 2020. Though there are many reasons for this, one major pressure point was the severe disruption of the free flow of goods and people between and within countries, forfeiting trillions of dollars in economic activity and an expected decline in international trade of 18 percent. By April 2020, for example, more than 80 countries had imposed new trade restrictions on essential medical supplies, which only served to worsen global shortages for these goods. Prior to COVID-19, American businesses and families faced higher costs when buying from abroad due to new tariffs imposed since 2018, as well as uncertainty regarding the future of bilateral relations with key trading partners, such as China. These tariffs were already counterproductive to expanding the economy, but pandemic-related shutdowns at home and abroad made participating in the economy even more difficult. 

A pandemic is not the time, if there ever was one, to exchange economic freedom for socialist or protectionist policies. Governments cannot spend their way back into prosperity after the toll that public health responses have taken on local economies. It will be essential to a full recovery that economic freedom is not curtailed by extended government emergency powers or aggressive public health policies that lack a targeted, data-driven rationale. Rather, now is the time to commit more vigorously to economic freedom at home and abroad by strengthening the rule of law, reducing the size of government, improving regulatory efficiency, and opening markets. Thousands of American jobs rely on people, information, and goods from beyond our borders—and vice versa—such that economic freedom is a recipe for mutual recovery. 

Key Heritage Research:

  1. Anthony B. Kim, “Why Economic Freedom Matters More Than Ever: In 3 Charts,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, April 10, 2020.
  2. Terry Miller, “COVID-19 Underscores Need to Preserve Economic Freedom in a Crisis,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, March 29, 2020.
  3. Anthony B. Kim, “Coronavirus Pandemic Highlights Importance of Economic Freedom,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, March 20, 2020.
  4. Riley Walters and Tori K. Smith, “Eliminating Tariffs Would Free Up to $6 Billion a Month for Americans,” Heritage Foundation Issue Brief No. 5071, May 12, 2020.
  5. Tori K. Smith, Rachael Wolpert, and Riley Walters, “Legislative Trade Agenda for 2020,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 3482, May 18, 2020.

Appendix of Heritage Research

Anthony Kim, “Free Markets Trump Globalists’ “Great Reset” for Post-COVID-19 Recovery,” Daily Signal, November 20, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/commentary/free-markets-trump-globalists-great-reset-post-covid-19-recovery

Anthony B. Kim, “Why Economic Freedom Is the Key Ingredient in Enhancing Food Security,” The Daily Signal, October 20, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/commentary/economic-freedom-the-key-ingredient-enhancing-food-security.

Anthony B. Kim, “Time to Rely on America’s Twin Strengths of Freedom and Free Enterprise,” Daily Signal, October 9, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/trade/commentary/time-rely-americas-twin-strengths-freedom-and-free-enterprise.

Tori K. Smith, “How the Free Market and Civil Society Solved the COVID-19 Face Mask Shortage,” The Daily Signal, September 4, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/civil-society/commentary/how-the-free-market-and-civil-society-solved-the-covid-19-face-mask

Anthony B. Kim, “Fighting Corruption Is Critical During Coronavirus Recovery,” The Daily Signal, August 27, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/commentary/fighting-corruption-critical-during-coronavirus-recovery.

Anthony B. Kim, “Restoring Public Health and Preserving Economic Livelihoods Must Go Together,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, August 7, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/commentary/restoring-public-health-and-preserving-economic-livelihoods-must

Anthony B. Kim, “Protectionism and the Pandemic Are Curtailing Global Trade. Policymakers Must Act Accordingly,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, August 5, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/trade/commentary/protectionism-and-the-pandemic-are-curtailing-global-trade-policymakers-must-act.

Patrick Tyrrell and Anthony B. Kim, “How Economic Freedom Provides the Foundation for Teleworking,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, July 24, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/commentary/how-economic-freedom-provides-the-foundation-teleworking.

Gabriella Beaumont-Smith, “Why Digital Trade Is a Key Component of Economic Freedom,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, July 15, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/commentary/why-digital-trade-key-component-economic-freedom.

Gabriella Beaumont-Smith and Anthony B. Kim, “The Coronavirus Pandemic Highlights the Critical Importance of Digital Trade,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 3505, July 6, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/trade/report/the-coronavirus-pandemic-highlights-the-critical-importance-digital-trade.

James M. Roberts and Marcin Chmielowski, “Greater Economic Freedom Will Aid Poland’s Post-Virus Recovery,” Heritage Foundation Issue Brief No. 5088, July 2, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/report/greater-economic-freedom-will-aid-polands-post-virus-recovery.

Tori K. Smith and HyunJoo Lee, “Congress and the Administration Should Advance Free Trade to Aid in COVID-19 Economic Recovery,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, July 1, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/trade/commentary/congress-and-the-administration-should-advance-free-trade-aid-covid-19-economic.     

Nicholas D. Loris, “Free Markets Will Cure the Economy,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, June 26, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/trade/commentary/free-markets-will-cure-the-economy.

Anthony B. Kim, “Iceland Reopening With Its Economic Freedom Largely Intact,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, June 25, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/commentary/iceland-reopening-its-economic-freedom-largely-intact.

James M. Roberts, “Chile’s Deep Reserves of Economic Freedom Will Aid COVID-19 Recovery,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, June 14, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/commentary/chiles-deep-reserves-economic-freedom-will-aid-covid-19-recovery

James M. Roberts, “Bulgaria’s Growth in Economic Freedom Will Speed Its Recovery,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, June 8, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/commentary/bulgarias-growth-economic-freedom-will-speed-its-recovery.

Riley Walters, “What’s the Value of Tariffs During a Recession?” Heritage Foundation Commentary, May 22, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/trade/commentary/whats-the-value-tariffs-during-recession

Tori K. Smith, Rachael Wolpert, and Riley Walters, “Legislative Trade Agenda for 2020,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 3482, May 18, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/trade/report/legislative-trade-agenda-2020.

James M. Roberts, “Reopening South Africa Through Greater Economic Freedom,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, May 15, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/commentary/reopening-south-africa-through-greater-economic-freedom

Riley Walters and Tori K. Smith, “Eliminating Tariffs Would Free Up to $6 Billion a Month for Americans,” Heritage Foundation Issue Brief No. 5071, May 12, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/trade/report/eliminating-tariffs-would-free-6-billion-month-americans.

Anthony B. Kim, “Why Trade Freedom Will Be Key to Post-COVID-19 Global Economic Rebound,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, May 11, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/trade/commentary/why-trade-freedom-will-be-key-post-covid-19-global-economic-rebound.

James Jay Carafano and Riley Walters, “Economic Freedom of ‘Quad’ Nations Can Accelerate COVID-19 Recovery,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, May 8, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/global-politics/commentary/economic-freedom-quad-nations-can-accelerate-covid-19-recovery

Patrick Tyrrell and Anthony B. Kim, “Australia and New Zealand Differ on COVID-19. The Economic Fallout Could, Too,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, May 6, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/commentary/australia-and-new-zealand-differ-covid-19-the-economic-fallout

James Jay Carafano, “Coronavirus Recovery—Trump’s Plan Missing These Key Pieces,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, April 29, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/public-health/commentary/coronavirus-recovery-trumps-plan-missing-these-key-pieces.

Riley Walters, “It’s Naive to Assume ‘Supply Chains’ Will Return to the U.S.,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, April 27, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/trade/commentary/its-naive-assume-supply-chains-will-return-the-us.

Anthony B. Kim and Terry Miller, “Sweden’s Unique Approach to Battling COVID-19 Is Preserving Economic Freedom,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, April 22, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/commentary/swedens-unique-approach-battling-covid-19-preserving-economic.

Patrick Tyrrell, “New Zealand’s Severe COVID-19 Lockdown Imperils Its Hard-Earned Free Economy,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, April 22, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/commentary/new-zealands-severe-covid-19-lockdown-imperils-its-hard-earned

Anthony B. Kim, “COVID-19 Pandemic Underscores Nexus of Economic Freedom, Freedom of Press,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, April 20, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/commentary/covid-19-pandemic-underscores-nexus-economic-freedom-freedom.

Patrick Tyrrell and Terry Miller, “Don’t Let COVID-19 Undermine Ireland’s Hard-Won Economic Freedom,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, April 14, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/commentary/dont-let-covid-19-undermine-irelands-hard-won-economic-freedom

Tori K. Smith, Edmund F. Haislmaier, and Maiya Clark, “The U.S. Should Focus on Targeted and Temporary Tools to Ensure Access to Medical Supply Chains,” Heritage Foundation Issue Brief No. 5057, April 14, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/homeland-security/report/the-us-should-focus-targeted-and-temporary-tools-ensure-access-medical.

Anthony B. Kim, “Why Economic Freedom Matters More Than Ever: In 3 Charts,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, April 10, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/commentary/why-economic-freedom-matters-more-ever-3-charts.

Riley Walters, “Decreasing U.S.–China Trade Is Worrisome,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, April 3, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/trade/commentary/decreasing-us-china-trade-worrisome.

Terry Miller, “COVID-19 Underscores Need to Preserve Economic Freedom in a Crisis,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, March 29, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/commentary/covid-19-underscores-need-preserve-economic-freedom-crisis

Kay C. James, “Why Economic Freedom Is Critical to Beating the Coronavirus Pandemic,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, March 25, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/commentary/why-economic-freedom-critical-beating-the-coronavirus-pandemic.

Anthony B. Kim, “Coronavirus Pandemic Highlights Importance of Economic Freedom,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, March 20, 2020, https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/commentary/coronavirus-pandemic-highlights-importance-economic-freedom.

 

COVID-19: Lessons Learned and Path Ahead