Human Freedom: From Pericles to Measurement

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Appeared in The Independent Review, Summer 2014

Without an objective measure of freedom, it is impossible to determine whether an action leads to increases or decreases in freedom, whether it lends stability to freedom or causes instability, or whether freedom leads to superior outcomes. Unfortunately, efforts to measure freedom have been imperfect, blurring various definitions of freedom, 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 Index (HFI) project aims to remedy this problem by providing a durable, comprehensive, and objective measure of freedom. This essay provides a literature review and details the philosophical underpinnings of the HFI. It is reprinted with permission from the Summer 2014 issue (Volume 19, Number 1) of The Independent Review, by Fred McMahon with Alan Dowd. © Copyright 2014, The Independent Institute.

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