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A.Relationship between economic freedom and wealth variations

2021-10-19 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Essay范文



The results of the 2009 Economic Freedom survey by The Heritage Foundation, in conjunction with the Wall Street Journal, showed in general economic freedom directly correlates with the level of economic prosperity. As shown in figures, higher “economic freedom scores” were recorded in countries having strong purchasing power, and higher gross domestic capital per capita. According to the study's executive summary, the results show that the reason why prosperity is correlated with greater freedom is that the positive output of these indicators encourage a “virtual cycle of prosperity” by which economic freedoms will be further enjoyed by these countries. (Heritage Foundation, 2009).


This student believes that the reason why countries enjoying “greater economic freedoms” such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and the United States were also among them most prosperous countries is that their liberalized economic policies have allowed business freer rein in operations and trading transactions. If we review back the parameters of “greater freedom,” these include “freedoms” in business, trade, investment and property rights, factors which are vital in creating a conducive business atmosphere in a country. In addition, freedoms by which a government is able to exercise in terms of fiscal and monetary policies also contribute to economic prosperity since a government which does not overly intervene in economic policies allows market forces to determine the course of the economy. This student is of the opinion that economies have more chances of prospering if market forces are allowed to determine its course, as much as possible.


B. Country Case study: 国家案例研究:


This student will choose the Philippines as the country in focus for this paper. The Philippines had placed 104th in the over-all world rankings in the 2009 Economic Freedom Index, 20th in the Asia-Pacific rankings, and had an average score of 56.8, higher by 0.8 points than last year's score of 56, but still belonging to the “mostly unfree” category. The country recorded declining scores in four economic freedom indicators (business, fiscal, trade, and labor.) compared to 2008 while it recorded no significant changes in its scores for the financial, property and corruption indicators. The Philippines' only got slight increase in scores, compared to 2008 for government size, monetary freedom and investment freedom. In general, the country had only above average scores in the indicators for trade, government size, monetary and financial freedom; it scored poorly in business freedom, investment freedom, property rights and freedom from corruption while the score for fiscal freedom was more or less on the average (Heritage Foundation, 2009).


This student had checked the rankings of the Philippines since 1999 and found out that it last passed the world average in 2003. It recorded below average scores from then on, with rankings varying in the middle and high 50s. From the period of 2003 up to the present, the country has ranked among the countries having “mostly unfree” economies. (Heritage Foundation, 2009). Political stability may play an important factor in the poor performance of the country even as it has accomplished some improvements in the economy. In economic terms, observers had touted that the Philippine economy had recovered, in seasonally adjusted terms, to 2.4% in June from the 1st quarter's slow growth, “thereby avoiding technical recession (Economist Intelligence Unit, 2009) Politically, the country has seen bouts of political instability during the current tenure of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who had been survived several impeachment attempts and even two military rebellions since 2003; coincidentally the country reported its lowest score for the decade in 2005. In that year, a wiretapping scandal sparked protests calling for the ouster of Arroyo as the Philippines' 14th elected leader. (Vitug, 2005).


The 2009 Heritage Survey had listed some of the problems faced by the country the previous year in terms of political, social and economic challenges. These include: having slow business processing systems, “inflexible” labor structure, numerous trade barrier mechanisms, “burdensome” tax rates (corporate tax rate had been 35% while business have to pay property, inheritance and real estate taxes); restricted foreign investment, and there is the” problematic enforcement of property rights.” (Heritage Foundation, 2009).


In sum, the Philippines falls short of the standards set by Index because businessmen have to deal with bureaucratic red tape in conducting transactions with the government, foreign trade is still inhibited by the presence of tariffs which adds costs to imports, over-all costs in doing business in the country is high because of the many taxes imposed by the government and that judicial adjudication is not reliable when it comes to seeking redress for damages in property rights infringement.


When one takes a look at previous reports on the Philippines, it seems that there have been little changes in the progress of the country's business and economic freedom. In 2004, after the election of Macapagal Arroyo as president, the country report had mentioned some of the same problems this student had mentioned above:


“The 2004 Index of Economic Freedom categorizes the Philippines as “mostly unfree,” due in

large part to restrictions on foreign investments and inadequate legal protections for business.

The constitution restricts foreign investment, and there are an insufficient number of police and

judges. The courts are underfunded, corrupt, inefficient, and slow.” (Dillon, 2004).


Based from the data mentioned from the present and previous Indexes and country profiles, this student thinks that the Philippines still it has much work to do when it comes to attaining the ten economic freedoms used as measures in the Index. In particular, its government should focus on improving business freedom, investment freedom, property rights and freedom from corruption. The government should work on improving the investment atmosphere for businessmen such as speeding up processes for setting up businesses and licenses. It should also work on loosening trade policies such as reducing tariffs on imported products. The Philippine government should also work on improving the judicial system since it is a key in resolving issues in property rights challenges. This is to build up the gains made by the country in the economy which observers noted have been recovering from the effects of the current recession (Economist Intelligence Unit, 2009)


In the end, all these solutions still lie in the political stability of the Philippines as a whole. While there have no open reports of attempts to unseat Arroyo, who is spending her last year as president until 2010, still the Philippines' political establishment continues to change with the dynamics of horsetrading and powerplay. In addition, the widely reported incidence of corruption and other forms of malfeasance may hamper efforts by the government, however sincere they may be, in making the business environment more conducive for investment which is one of the country's current weakest points (The Economist, 2009). The government has to work it out if it wants to improve the Philippines' track record in business, economic and political freedoms.


C.Alternative approaches to social security 社会保障的替代方法

As discussed in pp.86-87 (McConnell, et.al, 2009), the Social Security System is already facing projected lower revenue bases in the next eight years. If this trend is not mitigated adequately, then it will also lead to the decline of benefits being given to members. The main reason behind this decline is the fact that much of the American population is getting older. While many Americans are eligible for benefits, there are only fewer sources to replenish the money used for this purpose. And it seems that Americans are already seeing the warnings come true. This student had also recently read an Associated Press article, (Ohlemacher, 2009) which reported that payments for Social Security will decline for the first time since 1979. This was because premiums have increased even as older people, who are the primary beneficiaries of Social Security, have been spending much on health care.


If this student is given a chance to recommend improvements to the system then she will suggest that federal government increase the payroll tax and then channel 50% of it into accounts which would be maintained by individuals. The account owners would have to invest the funds, either into bank certificates of deposits/ approved stock/bond funds. They can draw into these funds only upon reaching retirement age; however a “flat monthly benefit” will complement fund accumulations in the accounts. The student believes that this approach is more efficient in that it gives an individual greater control over the investment of the funds allocated for social security benefits; hence the government will not have to invest funds for a general public, which have contributed to the increased costs for the system in the current set-up., regardless of the amount of contribution each individual has paid for.



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