You can read the entire report 2012 Economic Freedom of the World online. The big upward movers: Uganda, Zambia, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Nicaragua in particular is singled out as a strong mover in the direction of freedom. It is now ahead of Portugal Hungary, Latvia, and the Czech Republic.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is sinking, now down to the 18th freest in the world, below Finland and Canada.
US ratings have declined in four of the five Areas of the EFW index. The rating in Legal System and Protection of Property Rights (Area 2) dropped by more than 2 points between 2000 and 2010. While it is difficult to pinpoint the precise reason for this decline, the increased use of eminent domain to transfer property to powerful political interests, the ramifications of the wars on terrorism and drugs, and the violation of the property rights of bondholders in the bailout of automobile companies have all weakened the United States’ tradition of the rule of law and, we believe, contributed to the sharp decline of the Area 2 rating. The rating for Freedom to Trade Internationally (Area 4) fell by over one point, and the ratings for Size of Government (Area 1) and Regulation (Area 5) by more than a half point. The only Area where the United States’ rating was basically unchanged was Access to Sound Money (Area 3).
Economics professor Robert Lawson is the main number cruncher and editor of the Economic Freedom Index, and a famed specialist in the area of development economics.