Earlier this month, Stuart Lau of the South China Moaning Mouthpiece reported that Hong Kong beat the UK and US in a global ranking of ‘human freedom’. Hurrah! Who’d have thunk it?
The headline (probably due to its unexpected counter-intuitiveness) swept breathlessly through social media, yet the report failed to dissect the questionable maths involved or mention how the research body behind the figures is funded.
The article did, however, acknowledge that our city’s ranking was bolstered by its high ‘economic freedom’…
“The city was the star performer for economic freedom – scoring 9.02 out of 10. But in terms of personal freedom, or civil liberties, it measured 7.8, worse than at least 49 countries.”
What is not emphasised is how the report puts an artificially high value on economic freedom indicators. It is this which allowed HK to beat the competition. In fact, economic freedom data is awarded half of the ranking’s weight, whilst dozens of other categories (e.g. freedom of speech/movement, gay rights, religious freedom, risk of sexual violence/theft etc…) are given the other half of the weight combined.
Yet most readers would surely associate these latter categories with ‘human freedom’ as opposed to economic liberties like low taxes and the ease of flogging mangoes on the street which dominate the scoring system.
Read the full report (PDF) here.