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NEWS + ANALYSIS

HONG KONG, SWITZERLAND, NEW ZEALAND RANK HIGHEST IN 2016 HUMAN FREEDOM INDEX

December 2, 2016

In a free society, personal autonomy, civil liberties, and economic freedom are inextricably intertwined. “The Human Freedom Index” is an annual publication from the Cato Institute, the Fraser Institute, and the Liberales Institut of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom that aims to provide a careful measurement of the inherently valuable role that freedom plays in human progress. In the 2016 rankings, the top five freest countries in the world across all categories are Hong Kong, Switzerland, New Zealand, Ireland, and Denmark, while the least free are Libya, Yemen, Iran, Syria, and the Central African Republic.

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EMPOWERING CHILDREN IN GUATEMALA THROUGH EDUCATIONAL FREEDOM AND MICROENTERPRISE

November 29, 2016

Many of the world’s poorest areas are plagued by the socialist mindset that it’s necessary to redistribute wealth in order to cure poverty — in the process leaving less for everybody. In Guatemala, though, a former socialist named Antonio Calí began a new journey five years ago when he heard a radio broadcast from Atlas Network partner Universidad Francisco Marroquín (UFM), reports a profile in the Acton Institute’s PovertyCure magazine. Calí’s worldview was transformed by the explanation of how economic freedom and entrepreneurship generate new wealth, and he has since founded a think tank, a for-profit school for children, and a firm to fund new micro businesses in the municipality of San Juan Comolapa.

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PORTLAND’S LAND-USE REGULATIONS MAKE HOUSING UNAFFORDABLE FOR LOW-INCOME FAMILIES

November 28, 2016

Although Portland, Ore., once stood decisively in the shadow of larger cities in California and Washington, its trendy bohemian reputation has grown significantly over the years, thanks in part to widespread publicity from television shows like Portlandia. An increasing population size has also led to skyrocketing housing prices in the Portland metro area. Demand isn’t the only culprit, however. A recent study from the Cascade Policy Institute, an Atlas Network partner based in Oregon, demonstrates how urban growth boundaries, land-use regulations, and other government restrictions on the supply of housing keep prices unaffordable for new renters, low-income families, and ethnic minorities.

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COMPETITION FOR STANDARDIZED TESTING PROVISION IN U.K. SCHOOLS

November 28, 2016

Schools in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland have the freedom to select standardized tests for their students from a selection offered by several competitors. This introduces an element of competition amongst exam boards, something entirely unique to the qualifications and assessment system there. This arrangement has faced increasing scrutiny in recent years, however, with critics claiming that competition between exam boards misaligns incentives in a way that makes tests easier and inflates grades, leading to a “race to the bottom.” The Centre for Market Reform of Education (CMRE), an Atlas Network partner based in London, recently published a study titled “Who’s to produce and who’s to choose? Assessing the future of the qualifications and assessment market,” which examines the issues surrounding standardized testing in these countries.

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DISRUPTIVE ENTERPRISE INITIATIVE IN UTAH HIGHLIGHTS IMPORTANCE OF INNOVATIVE NEW COMPETITION

November 25, 2016

It is written in the Utah Constitution that “a free market system shall govern trade and commerce” in the state. That principle has been routinely violated in recent years, however, as innovative companies like Tesla, Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, and others have been targeted by Utah laws that, in some cases, rule that their business models are illegal. Libertas Institute, an Atlas Network partner organization based in Utah, recently launched its Disruptive Enterprise Initiative to combat the protectionist policies of the state of Utah.

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HEALTH INNOVATION COMMUNITIES IN AUSTRALIA WOULD CREATE COMPETITIVE DYNAMIC IN UNIVERSAL SYSTEM

November 25, 2016

Competition fosters innovation, but government restrictions, regulations, and other barriers to entry within the health care and medical insurance industries cripple that competitive dynamic. Although the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS), an Atlas Network partner based in Australia, operates in a country with a universal health care system, it has proposed a way to foster innovation within this de facto monopoly. Its recent study, titled “MEDI-VATION: ‘Health Innovation Communities’ for Medicare Payment and Service Reform,” explains that Health Innovation Communities (HICs) within Australia’s universal system could serve as centers for research and development. Each HIC would encourage innovation by hosting a number of separate health care providers that would have freedom to develop new health care products and solutions, each functioning as a sort of “Silicon Valley” for the health sector.

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RULE OF LAW COLLAPSING IN SOUTH AFRICA, FINDS GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION REPORT

November 25, 2016

A recent government probe rocked South Africa after assertions that the country’s highest elected official, President Jacob Zuma, has engaged in several corrupt activities. Those allegations only scratch the surface, however, according to a recent report from the South African Institute of Race Relations. Titled “Going off the Rails: The Slide Toward the Lawless South African State,” the report details more than 200 infractions committed by the government that violate the South Africa Constitution or its citizens’ constitutional rights.

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RENOWNED ECONOMIST AND HISTORIAN DEIRDRE MCCLOSKEY AWARDED BRUNO LEONI PRIZE IN ITALY

November 15, 2016

For millennia, most people throughout the world lived in grinding poverty, but global wealth began to accelerate rapidly around 200 years ago. What changed to allow this “Great Enrichment”? For her rigorous work examining the cultural and economic underpinnings of modern wealth, Italian Atlas Network partner Instituto Bruno Leoni (IBL) awarded its Bruno Leoni Prize to renowned economist and historian Deirdre McCloskey during the organization’s annual dinner, held at the Alcatraz in Milan.

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