Argentina and Venezuela are in the unenviable position of rounding out the bottom of this year’s Index of Economic Freedom, produced by The Heritage Foundation.
Out of 179 nations ranked on a variety of criteria defining economic freedoms, Argentina and Venezuela find themselves in a category labeled “repressed.”
Argentina sits at 158 on the list, and Venezuela finds itself at an abysmal 174.
That the two countries are ranked so poorly should come as no surprise.
Over the past decade, experts have expressed concern for Argentina’s industry as restrictions, regulations, and taxes (which were implemented under the guise of redistributing wealth) have subsequently stifled any motivation to develop the country’s energy sources. Ironically, those selfsame regulations, taxes, and restrictions have largely been the cause of higher prices, and poor efficiencies cited as justification for recent massive government seizure of property.
Argentina went from #44 in the world before current President Cristina Fernández and her late husband, Néstor Kirchner, took power in 2003, to only 21 spots from the bottom after nearly a decade of their combined leadership.
At the end of the 19th century, Argentina had been one of the richest nations in the world due to a prospering free market.
After 13 years of rule under Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, and despite promises to the poor of Venezuela, the country currently suffers from blackouts, and grocery shortages because of government control and restrictions on commerce. The country is also suffering under an outbreak of violent crime.
By contrast, Chile bests all Latin American nations in the ranking, and sits at number 7 worldwide.
(See details of ranking criteria here for Venezuela, and Argentina).