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Human Freedom

People have been seeking freedom for millennia, but not freedom for all. Slaves, serfs, women, outsiders, and the defeated were not included. That changed in the last few centuries as the circle of those considered deserving of freedom expanded. Evolution continues. Two centuries ago, slavery was alive in the world in many nations, not just the United States; a century ago, women everywhere lacked full citizenship and the freedoms that go with it; more recently, sexual orientation is being removed as a barrier to freedom.

Efforts to measure freedom have only emerged in the last quarter century or so. Unfortunately, these efforts have been flawed: blurring various definitions of freedoms, confusing "other good things" with freedom, using subjective rather than objective measures, and either failing to account for economic freedom or focusing exclusively on it.

The Human Freedom project focuses on creating a comprehensive index of human freedom, which includes economic freedom and is based on the "negative" definition of freedom – in other words, the absence of barriers or coercion that prevent individuals from acting as they might wish. This book, Towards a Worldwide Index of Human Freedom, published by Canada's Fraser Institute and Germany's Liberales Institute is the first step towards defining a true and accurate measurement of human freedom.

Report and Data

The following files require the latest version of Adobe Reader.

To Worldwide Index Towards a Worldwide Index of Human Freedom [5.43 MB]
Freedom Index Dataset
The report is also available as several smaller documents:
Overview [24 KB]
Chapter 1: [132 KB]
Chapter 1: Why Do We Measure Freedom?
Chapter 2: [283 KB]
Chapter 2: Human Freedom from Pericles to Measurement
Chapter 3: [539 KB]
Chapter 3: An Index of Freedom in the World
Chapter 4: [161 KB]
Chapter 4: Measuring Individual Freedom
Actions and Rights as Indicators of Individual Liberty
Chapter 5: [127 KB]
Chapter 5: A Compact Statement of a Cost-based Theory of Rights and Freedom
Implications for Classifying and Measuring Rights
Chapter 6: [650 KB]
Chapter 6: Conditions for Freedom
A Few Theses on the Theory of Freedom and on Creating an Index of Freedom
Chapter 7: [124 KB]
Chapter 7: Evolution and Freedom
Chapter 8: [323 KB]
Chapter 8: Liberty in Comparative Perspective
China, India, and the West
Chapter 9: [95 KB]
Chapter 9: The Evisceration of Liberty in Canadian Courts
Chapter 10: [200 KB]
Chapter 10: From Fighting the Drug War to Protecting the Right to Use Drugs
Recognizing a Forgotten Liberty


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