Saturday, February 09, 2019
Where Does American Stand On The World's Freedom Index? The State of American Freedom: Pt 1
The first topic we'll look at is freedom. After all, the notion of "freedom" has been this country's mantra practically since its founding. It's why people from around the world want to come here. But just how "free" are we actually? We already know that the US has become essentially a surveillance state since 9/11, be it government agencies or corporations (as an Oligarchy, the two work in tandem anyway). As I wrote in my last article, the US has adopted a "enhanced" driver's license, which acts as a defacto national ID card, complete with a tracking chip and facial ID capability.
Our cell phones and social media monitors and records us, builds profiles of sites we visit, where we shop and purchased, not to mention even tracks us, and even anticipates our likes. Some people like that. Personally, I find it a little scary. It's too much private information in the hands of other people and computers. Our credit cards are chipped and so are our cars and trucks. Some people have watches which double not just as a time piece but also as cell phone, internet access point, and, of course, a monitoring devise. But these are more incidentals; reflections on the state of our personal freedom amid ever growing technology. What I want to know is how we ranked in terms of our basic freedoms.
One of the most important freedoms that American has been a free press, as covered under the First Amendment along with free speech and freedom of association. According to Reporters Without Borders, they researched the openness, independence, accurately, and self-censorship of the media. Out of 180 countries, the US is now ranked in the 45th spot, dropping two spots since Trump was elected President. This partly the result of a not so subtle propaganda war again the Trump White House and the proliferation of what's often called "fax news".
The top spots went to Switzerland, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Ireland, and Australia. As an aside, Hong Kong was ranked number one in terms of economic freedom and second in personal freedom. In addition, Hong Kong was the top ranked place for innovation, be it technology, business, or government. At the bottom of the list was, starting at 155th place, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Venezuela, and Syria. Venezuela, prior to Hugo Chavez, was ranked as the wealthiest country in Latin America and one of the most economic and personally freest countries. However, since the adoption of a Marxist version of Socialism, it's economic, social, and political systems has been in a free fall, making it one of the worse countries in the world to live in.
According to the website, Traveller, which is a travel site that rates the best countries and places to visit, the United States ranks 25th in personal freedom. The information came from The "Legatum Prosperity Index for 2018", which looks at a variety of factors such as crime, business environment, health, personal freedom, environment, among other factors. The report listed the US as first in terms of business environment and sixth in social capital. However, we ranked poorly in terms of governance (19th), economic quality (13th), personal freedom and natural environment (23rd each), health (35th), safety and security (43rd). In terms of education, we only made it to the 9th spot.
In terms of healthcare, according to the World Health organization, the US ranks 37th in the world, behind countries most all European countries, as well as Canada, Oman, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Chile, Australia, and Morocco. In fact, the US ranked in between Costa Rica and Slovenia. That's actually pretty embarrassing if you think about it; a country like the US being ranked behind and in the midst of second tier countries.
The top spots went to Italy, France, San Marino, Andorra, Malta, and Singapore. Other nations in the top tier included Japan, all the Scandinavian countries, Spain, the UK, Ireland, Columbia, Saudi Arabia, Canada, and most of Europe. It goes to show that while "Obamacare" did improve overall healthcare in the US, it fell far short when compared to the rest of the world. In terms of healthcare performance, America actually ranks dead last.
However, the US did come in first place in one key, albeit dubious category. American was ranked number one in terms of incarceration. We imprison more of people than any industrialized nation in the world at a rate of 655 per 100,000. That's more than China, Russia, Cuba, or even North Korea. The closest country to us is El Salvador, which jails 609 per 100,000 and Turkmenistan with prison rate of 552 per 100,000. Cuba jails 510 individuals per 100,000 while for Russia it's 409 per 100,000. The top reason for the imprisonment in the US was due to drugs, possession or sell, followed by felonies of one sort or another.
US drops to 45 in countries in ranking of countries based on freedom of the press
US freedom ranking lower than you would think
Freedom around the world: The most (and least) free and tolerant countries
Countries with the most prisoners per 100,000 of the national population, as of July 2018
The Patient Factor: World Health Organization Ranking of World Health Systems
The US Ranks Last in Health Care Systems Performance