Patchwork de liberté

A quoi pourrait ressembler un pays aussi complètement libéral que le permet un minimum de réalisme ? A quel pays existant ressemblerait un pays réalistement mais totalement antilibéral ? Prenons l’index de liberté économique 2008 et assemblons des morceaux de chaque pays pour voir ce que ça pourrait donner…

Business Freedom:
Maximum existant: 99,9% (Danemark et Nouvelle-Zélande)
The overall freedom to start, operate, and close a business is strongly protected by New Zealand’s regulatory environment. Starting a business takes an average of 12 days, compared to the world average of 43 days. Obtaining a business license requires much less than the world average of 19 procedures and 234 days. Closing a business is very easy and straightforward.

The overall freedom to start, operate, and close a business is strongly protected by Denmark’s regulatory environment. Starting a business takes an average of six days, compared to the world average of 43 days. Obtaining a business license requires much less than the world average of 19 procedures and 234 days. Transparent regulations are applied evenly and efficiently in most cases. Closing a business is easy and not costly.

Trade Freedom:
Maximum existant: 95% (Hong Kong)
Hong Kong’s weighted average tariff rate was zero percent in 2005. Except for liquor, tobacco, hydrocarbon oil, and methyl alcohol, trade is essentially duty-free. Restrictive pharmaceuticals regulation, market access restrictions for legal services, limited import licensing, and issues involving intellectual property rights add to the cost of trade. An additional 5 percentage points is deducted from Hong Kong’s trade freedom score to account for non-tariff barriers.

Fiscal Freedom:
Maximum existant: 99,9% (Koweït et Emirats Arabes Unis)
Kuwait does not tax individual income or domestic business income. Foreign-owned firms and joint ventures are the only businesses subject to corporate income tax, which can be as high as 55 percent. In the most recent year, overall tax revenue (mainly from duties on international trade and tractions) was 1 percent of GDP.

The UAE has no income tax and no federal-level corporate tax, but there are different corporate tax rates in some emirates (for example, corporate tax rates of 55 percent for foreign oil companies and 20 percent for foreign banks). There is no value-added tax or general sales tax. In the most recent year, overall tax revenue as a percentage of GDP was 2.1 percent.

Freedom from Government:
Maximum existant: 95,9% (Guatemala)
Total government expenditures, including consumption and transfer payments, are low. In the most recent year, government spending equaled 11.7 percent of GDP. Guatemala’s public debt to GDP ratio is one of the lowest in the region.

Monetary Freedom:
Maximum existant: 94,26% (Japon)
Inflation is low, averaging 0.01 percent between 2004 and 2006. Stable prices explain most of the monetary freedom score. Formal price controls apply to rice, but major producers, backed by regulators, are able to dictate retail and wholesale prices. An additional 5 percentage points is deducted from Japan’s monetary freedom score to account for policies that distort domestic prices.

Investment Freedom:
Maximum existant: 90% (plusieurs pays dont l’Irlande et Hong Kong)
Ireland welcomes foreign investment, especially high-technology ventures. Domestic and foreign firms incorporated in Ireland receive equal treatment. Restrictions apply to airlines owned by non-EU residents and the purchase of agricultural lands. Stock in certain state-owned companies (like the national airline) continues to be sold, and foreigners may participate. There is no approval process for foreign investment or capital inflows unless the company is applying for incentives. Investment dispute arbitration is available. The judicial system upholds commercial contracts involving foreign investment. There are no restrictions or barriers with respect to current transfers, repatriation of profits, or access to foreign exchange. Most land purchases are legal for residents and non-residents.

Foreign capital receives domestic treatment, and foreign investment is strongly encouraged. There are no limits on foreign ownership and no screening or special approval procedures to set up a foreign firm, except in broadcasting, where foreign entities may own no more than 49 percent of the local stations, and specific legal services. The government owns all land and treats foreign and domestic lessors equally. The Hong Kong dollar is freely convertible. There are no controls or requirements on current transfers, purchase of real estate, access to foreign exchange, or repatriation of profits.

Financial Freedom:
Maximum existant: 90% (plusieurs pays, dont Hong Kong et l’Australie)
Hong Kong is a global financial center. Its regulatory and legal environment is focused on prudent minimum standards and transparency. At the end of 2006, there were 137 licensed banks, 31 restricted license banks, and 33 « deposit-taking companies. » Banks are overseen by the independent Hong Kong Monetary Authority. Credit is allocated on market terms. There are no restrictions on foreign banks, which are treated the same as domestic institutions. The stock exchange ranks eighth in the world in terms of capitalization, but its regulation and transparency have been criticized in the past. The government intervened in the stock market in 1998 by purchasing $15.2 billion in private stocks but has since divested itself of all but $410 million of these holdings.

Australia’s highly developed, competitive financial system is the world’s ninth-largest and includes advanced banking, insurance, and equity industries. The central bank has not set lending policies and interest rates since its 1980s financial market deregulation. Today, markets set interest rates. Government regulation of banks is minimal, and foreign banks, licensed as branches or subsidiaries, may offer a full range of banking operations. Australia subscribes to OECD codes on international investment, capital transfer, and invisible transactions. As of September 2006, there were 55 licensed financial institutions, of which 41 were foreign, and numerous other non-bank financial institutions. There are no government-owned banks, and banks are highly competitive. Foreign insurance companies are permitted, and regulation of the sector is focused on capital adequacy, solvency, and prudential behavior. The stock and futures markets are well developed and open to foreign listings.

Property Rights:
Maximum existant: 90% (plusieurs pays, dont Hong Kong et la Suisse)
Contracts are strongly protected. Hong Kong’s legal system is transparent and based on common law, and its constitution strongly supports private property and freedom of exchange. Despite government public awareness campaigns to protect intellectual property rights, pirated and counterfeit products such as CDs, DVDs, software, and designer apparel are sold openly. The government controls all land and, through public auctions, grants renewable leases that are valid up to 2047 for all land in the SAR.

The judiciary is independent, and contracts are secure. Switzerland has one of the world’s best intellectual property–protection regimes for foreign and domestic rights holders. Most foreigners have the same rights as Swiss nationals when purchasing real property.

Freedom from corruption:
Maximum existant: 96% (Nouvelle-Zélande, Finlande et Islande)
Corruption is perceived as almost nonexistent. New Zealand is ranked 1st out of 163 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2006. New Zealand is renowned for its efforts to ensure transparent, competitive, and corruption-free government procurement. Stiff penalties against bribing government officials or accepting bribes are strictly enforced.

Corruption is perceived as almost nonexistent. Iceland ranks 1st out of 163 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2006. Its thousand-year history of parliamentary government has encouraged the institutionalization of such principles as accountability and transparency.

Corruption is perceived as almost nonexistent. Finland ranks 1st out of 163 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2006. Finland is a signatory to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, and it is a criminal act to give or accept a bribe.

Labour Freedom:
Maximum existant: 99,9% (Danemark et Géorgie)
Highly flexible employment regulations enhance employment opportunities and productivity growth. The non-salary cost of employing a worker is low, and dismissing a redundant employee is relatively costless.

Highly flexible employment regulations enhance employment opportunities and productivity growth. The non-salary cost of employing a worker can be moderate, and dismissing a redundant employee is costless. Rules on the number of work hours are very flexible. Georgia leads the world in labor market freedom.

Au final, notre patchwork de pays le plus ralistement libéral sur Terre serait un genre de Hong Kong nordique doté d’une common law à l’anglo-saxonne avec un système judiciaire à base de juges locaux élus gérant des juridictions indépendantes, sans douane ni réglementation de l’emploi, utilisant le Yen, et doté de banques australiennes et suisses, avec un gouvernement réduit aux dépenses minimales, percevant zéro taxe et zéro impôt, et sans dette publique (ses revenus viendraient de profits sur des investissements préalables et de dons, voire de vente de pétrole ou d’une autre ressource locale).

Et maintenant, juste pour voir, le patchwork le plus antilibéral…

Business Freedom:
Pire connu: 10% (Cuba)
The overall freedom to start, operate, and close a business is seriously limited by Cuba’s national regulatory environment. The government controls the economy, and only limited private entrepreneurship exists. Inconsistently and non-transparently applied regulations impede the creation of entrepreneurial activities.

Trade Freedom:
Pire existant: 0% (Corée du Nord)
The government controls all imports and exports, and formal trade is minimal. Data on North Korean trade are limited and compiled from trading partners’ statistics. Most trade is de facto aid, mainly from North Korea’s two main trading partners, China and South Korea. Non-tariff barriers are significant. Inter-Korean trade remains constrained by North Korea’s difficulties in implementing needed reform. Given the lack of necessary tariff data, a score of zero is assigned.

Fiscal Freedom:
Pire connu: 32,7% (Suède)
Sweden has a very burdensome income tax rate and a moderate corporate tax rate. The top income tax rate is 60 percent, and the top corporate tax rate is 28 percent. Other taxes include a value-added tax (VAT) and a capital gains tax. In the most recent year, overall tax revenue as a percentage of GDP was 51.1 percent.

Freedom from Government:
Pire existant: 0% (Cuba), Pire connu: 3,9% (Suède)
Total government expenditures, including consumption and transfer payments, are very high. In the most recent year, government spending equaled 71.6 percent of GDP. The state produces most economic output and accounts for about 75 percent of total employment. The industrial and services sectors are largely dominated by the state.

Total government expenditures, including consumption and transfer payments, are very high. In the most recent year, government spending equaled 56.6 percent of GDP. Spending has been reduced from over 60 percent of GDP in the 1990s but is still one of the highest among OECD member countries.

Monetary Freedom:
Pire existant: 0% (Zimbabwé), Pire connu: 54,3% (Guinée)
Inflation is high, averaging 766.1 percent between 2004 and 2006. Unstable prices explain most of the monetary freedom score. The government sets price ceilings for essential commodities such as agricultural seeds, bread, maize meal, sugar, beef, stock feeds, and fertilizer; controls the prices of basic goods and food staples; influences prices through subsidies and state-owned enterprises and utilities; and has begun to arrest traders for not complying with orders to cut prices on a range of products. An additional 15 percentage points is deducted from Zimbabwe’s monetary freedom score to account for policies that distort domestic prices.

Inflation is high, averaging 31.8 percent between 2004 and 2006. Unstable prices explain most of the monetary freedom score. The government influences prices through the regulation of state-owned enterprises and administrative price controls for cement, petroleum products, water, and electricity. It also subsidizes rice importers. An additional 10 percentage points is deducted from Guinea’s monetary freedom score to adjust for measures that distort domestic prices.

Investment Freedom:
Pire existant: 10% (plusieurs pays, dont la Corée du Nord et Cuba)
North Korea does not welcome foreign investment. Numerous countries employ sanctions against North Korea, and the ongoing concern over Pyongyang’s nuclear program and resulting political disruptions make investment extremely hazardous. Internal laws do not allow for international dispute arbitration. One attempt to open the economy to foreigners was North Korea’s first special economic zone, located at the remote Rajin-Sonbong site in the northeast. Wage rates in the special zone are unrealistically high because the state controls the labor supply and insists on taking its share. More recent special zones at Mt. Kumgang and Kaesong are more enticing. Aside from these few economic zones where investment is approved on a case-by-case basis, foreign investment is prohibited.

The government maintains exchange controls. All investments must be approved by the government, and all businesses must be licensed. The government has backtracked on limited liberalization of foreign investment, citing a revised policy of « selectivity. » New investment is expected to target certain sectors, such as energy, mining, and tourism. Other deterrents include delayed payments from Cuban enterprises and onerous regulations. By the end of 2005, 60 of 313 « international economic associations » had been shut down because of alleged failure to fulfill their objectives. Some restrictions have been loosened to permit investment commitments and credit lines from China and Venezuela.

Financial Freedom:
Pire existant: 0% (Corée du Nord), Pire connu: 10% (plusieurs pays dont la Biélorussie et le Turkménistan)
North Korea is a Communist command economy and has no private financial sector. The central bank also serves as a commercial bank and had 227 local branches in mid-2007. The government provides most funding for industries and takes a percentage from enterprises. Foreign aid agencies have set up microcredit schemes to lend to farmers and small businesses. A rumored overhaul of the financial system to permit firms to borrow from banks rather than receive state-directed capital has not materialized. There is a significant unofficial economy in dollars, which were technically banned in 2002 in favor of the euro. Because of debts dating back to the 1970s, most foreign banks will not enter North Korea. A South Korean bank has opened a branch in the Kaesong zone. The state holds a monopoly on insurance, and there are no equity markets.

Belarus’s financial system is influenced very heavily by the government. All but one of the 31 banks are owned or controlled by the state. The financial sector is dominated by a handful of commercial banks, four of which are Soviet-era specialized banks that account for three-quarters of commercial banking’s in-sector capital. Laws are applied inconsistently and often disregarded. The central bank is controlled by the state as a conduit for government economic policies. However, the banking system is more stable and developed than those in many other CIS countries. Foreign banks face major impediments, and barriers to credit are high. Businesses have access to various credit mechanisms, but long bureaucratic delays make the effort almost worthless for smaller companies. The non-bank financial sector is small and inhibited by state intervention and irregular regulatory enforcement. The stock market is small and largely dormant, and the insurance market has stagnated.

Turkmenistan’s financial system is subject to very heavy government influence. A financial crisis led the number of banks to fall from 67 to 12 in mid-2006. Many banks are insolvent by international standards, and the financial sector is dominated by state-owned or state-influenced institutions that are specialized by client; for example, Vneshekonombank handles foreign credit for the government, and Daikhan bank serves the agricultural sector. State-owned enterprises get an estimated 95 percent of all loans. The government directs credit allocation, often at subsidized rates. Most individuals hold their wealth in cash, preferably foreign currency. The central bank is not independent. Private enterprises have little access to credit. International accounting standards were adopted in 2002. There are no significant non-bank financial institutions, and the state-owned insurance company is the sole insurer. There is no private capital market.

Property Rights:
Pire existant: 10% (plusieurs pays, dont la Corée du Nord, Cuba et la Lybie)
Property rights are not guaranteed. Almost all property, including nearly all real property, belongs to the state, and the judiciary is not independent. The government even controls all chattel property (domestically produced goods as well as all imports and exports).

Cuban citizens may enjoy private ownership of land and productive capital for farming and self-employment. The constitution subordinates the courts to the National Assembly of People’s Power (NAPP) and the Council of State, headed by Fidel Castro. The NAPP and its lower-level counterparts choose all judges. The law and trial practices do not meet international standards for fair public trials. The Castro regime has retreated from earlier market reforms and is seeking tighter state control of the economy.

The judiciary is not independent, the private practice of law is illegal, and all lawyers must be members of the Secretariat of Justice. There is little land ownership, and the government may renationalize the little private property that is granted, especially to foreign companies. The government has a history of expropriation. Trademark violations are widespread.

Freedom from corruption:
Pire existant: 10% (Corée du Nord et Guinée-Bissau), Pire connu: 18% (Haïti)
After the mid-1990s economic collapse and subsequent famines, North Korea developed an immense informal market, especially in agricultural goods. Informal trading with China in currency and goods is active. There are many indicators of corruption in the government and security forces. Military and government officials reportedly divert food aid from international donors and demand bribes before distributing it.

Corruption is perceived as rampant. Haiti ranks 163rd out of 163 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2006. Haiti’s reputation as one of the world’s most corrupt countries is a major impediment to doing business. Customs officers often demand bribes to clear shipments. Smuggling is a major problem, and contraband accounts for a large percentage of the manufactured consumables market.

Labour Freedom:
Pire connu: 20% (Cuba, Lybie et Birmanie) — La Corée du Nord serait pire, mais son score pas connu
Rigid employment regulations hinder employment and productivity growth. The formal labor market is not fully developed, and the rigid government-controlled labor market has helped to create a large informal economy. A labor code drafted in 2006, which enhances the efficiency of entrepreneurial activities and contains strict penalties for the use of work time for personal benefit, took effect in April 2007.

Highly restrictive employment regulations hinder employment opportunities and productivity growth. The labor law specifies minimum wage, working hours, night shift, and dismissal regulations. Unemployment remains high, and the growing number of job seekers makes job creation a major challenge.

Burma’s formal labor market is not fully developed and remains distorted by state intervention. Regulations regarding wage rates and maximum work hours are not uniformly observed. The government sets public-sector wages and influences wage setting in the private sector. The state uses forced labor to construct military buildings and commercial enterprises.

Au final… le patchwork du pire existe déjà, il s’appelle le Royaume de Kim Jong-Il la Corée du Nord. Personne n’a le droit de travailler en dehors du poste assigné autoritairement, ni de désobéir aux ordres venus du Dear Leader et sa clique, les frontières sont étanches et même les déplacements d’un village à l’autre sont régulés, la police et l’armée sont omniprésentes, les contrats et la justice n’existent pas tandis que règne l’arbitraire total du pouvoir, l’argent est un concept interdit et ses manifestations pourchassées, et chaque jour semble plus dur que le précédent, mais moins que le lendemain… Les infirmes sont activement supprimés, la liberté de pensée bannie, c’est tout juste si on a le droit de parler pour répondre aux questions des chefs. Il n’y a pas moyen de rendre la Corée du Nord plus antilibérale qu’elle ne l’est déjà, sauf peut-être en ajoutant une guerre civile aux horreurs que subissent les Nord-Coréens et en retirant les devises étrangères qui y circulent clandestinement.

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À propos jesrad
Semi-esclave de la République Soviétique Socialiste Populaire de France.

4 Responses to Patchwork de liberté

  1. Domi says:

    Salut,

    A la place de la Heritage foundation, je ferai un classement un peu différent :
    – 1ère étape : quelle est la part du secteur privé dans le PIB,
    – 2nde étape : quelle est la part de liberté de ce secteur privé à l’égard des réglementations étatiques.

    Ensuite, je multiplierai les deux.

    Parce que dans le cas de la corée du nord, à partir du moment où tout est public, cela n’a pas vraiment de sens de chercher à mesurer la liberté des entrepreneurs, non ?

  2. jesrad says:

    Oh, ça c’est bien pris en compte (taille du gouvernement, liberté par rapport au gouvernement). Pour ce qui est de la Corée du Nord, il y a une zone réservée où l’investissement étranger est autorisé, sous réserves et contrôles.

  3. Domi says:

    Oui, mais mon mode de calcul conduirait à lui donner une importance plus grande. Toute chose égale par ailleurs, si tu augmente la taille de l’état par rapport au PIB de 30 %, cela ne te pénalisera pas tellement dans le classement de la Heritage Foundation ( cependant la liberté fiscale est également prise en compte et correspond assez bien à Freedom from Governement).

    Sinon Hong Kong n’est pas trés loin du Patchwork du meilleur.

    Enfin les scores de 99,9 % pour « business freedom » et « Labour freedom » me laisse dubitatifs sachant qu’il faut douze jours pour ouvrir une entreprise en NZ par exemple.

  4. jesrad says:

    Oui, ça me paraît aussi excessif, j’imagine que 100% de liberté d’entreprendre et de travailler, ce serait qu’il n’y ait vraiment aucune disposition réglementaire ni administrative dans ces domaines – comme c’est déjà le cas dans Second Life à peu de choses près, par exemple: on crée son entreprise simplement en trouvant et en utilisant un nom et peut-être un logo pour son activité ; on embauche ou est embauché sur contrat pur après une simple négociation.

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