“In general, if any branch of trade, or any division of labour, be advantageous to the public,” wrote economist Adam Smith in 1776, “the freer and more general the competition, it will always be the more so.”
As Smith noticed, the promotion of free enterprise unleashes productivity. When entrepreneurs, workers, and businesses are permitted to operate with minimal interference from regulators, high degrees of innovation tend to follow.
The nations that take this principle to heart maintain highly developed and rapidly growing economies. Indeed, many countries have been transformed from impoverishment to prosperity by embracing and protecting free enterprise.
Here are five examples.
According to the Heritage Foundation’s 2021 Index of Economic Freedom — which compares nations with respect to their encouragement of competitive markets — South Korea boasts 24th place, establishing it in the 7th slot among 39 other nations in Asia.
The Heritage Foundation attributed South Korea’s high position to “a well-educated labor force,” a “sound legal framework,” and “high capacity