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Iceland heads this 2006 ranking whilst Turkmenistan is assigned the last spot. Chile makes an impressive appearance at post number 17, best ranked amongst all Latin American Countries.
DEMOCRACY, MARKET AND TRANSPARENCY: THE DIVERSE FACETS OF DEVELOPMENT
The idea of development withholds no other initiative other than that of the successive broadening of rights, liberties and the possibilities to all human kind. Such objective goes beyond the mere targets of economic growth (even though this characteristic does tend to pertain the very core of what we consider as development), due to the fact that sustained growth depends on the correct implementation of rights, liberties and possibilities.
From the historical point of view, there has been a very dissimilar evolution between the elements that we consider these days consubstantial of the idea of development. In this manner, one may observe that in many centuries, civil and economic liberties has often preceded political liberty, frequently adopting the particular form of democracy. Even so, the Rule of Law –fundamental element of all economy based on property and economic liberty- has been a clear antecedent of the Democratic Rule of Law.
Having stated this, this same historical evolution has fathomed deep changes, presenting alterations in our living conditions and also, our perception concerning these very liberties and rights without which life would be impoverished. It is because of this that we are unable to refrain ourselves from considering, perhaps, Democratic liberties as a fundamental part of a country’s development. Their absence is not only a deficiency, something missing, but also a great loss that decisively diminishes the value of other possible achievements, due to the fact that it impoverishes human living conditions.
Because of this, it is improper to consider countries that do not respect democratic liberties as more developed, as is the case of Singapore, that would head any chart of Economic Liberty and Transparency. It is also impertinent to speak of “countries that are headed towards development” as is the case of those Latin American countries that have performed some market reforms so blemished by corruption that they have ended up detonating the same the same Rule of Law and Democracy.
Countries such as these have figured with a good score in Ratings of Economic Liberty and Transparency, an emblematic case would be Argentina (when lead by Carlos Menem). The ranking that CADAL presents here has the grand virtue of approaching this holistic and totalizing vision of development, in which the objective is not to leave aside any component of our actual concept of development. It is because of this that the question addressing which countries would be more or less developed is responded by a cross-comparison of results that offer a series of rates that measure up variables that range from economic liberty to the existence of democratic liberties as well as the absence of corruption.
Let us not omit that every ranking of this nature has its defects and limitations, but that which CADAL has elaborated has less defects and limitations than many other acclaimed rankings. In the meantime, this shows us with sheer clarity how the diverse facets of development tend to coincide and mutually reinforce themselves.
Mauricio RojasRepresentative Member of Swedish ParliamentProfessor in Economic History at Lund University