Cuba, North Korea, and Venezuela at the bottom

The latest Economic Freedom Index confirms who is prosperous and who is not. There are 180 countries ranked in the index, and the last three are:

#178 Cuba

#179 Venezuela

#180 North Korea 

The three dictatorships have a few things in common:

1) North Korea remains an unreformed and closed state as Kim Jong-un maintains a despotic regime that resists economic reform. 

The government has experimented with a few market reforms but mainly administers a system of centralized planning and state control of the economy. 

The impoverished population is heavily dependent on food rations and government housing subsidies.

2) Venezuela’s economy has been stifled by blatant disregard for both the rule of law and the principle of limited government. 

The private sector has been severely marginalized by institutional impediments related to government encroachment into the marketplace. The judicial system has become more vulnerable to political interference, and corruption is prevalent.

3) Cuba’s potential entrepreneurs have long been shackled by tight government control and institutional shortcomings. 

No courts are free of political interference, and private property is strictly regulated. 

Excessive bureaucracy and lack of regulatory transparency continue to limit trade and investment.

Do you get the impression that the rule of law is important?

Cuba's ranking is remarkable, given that the Obama administration tried very hard to encourage business transactions with the island.  It made it easier for companies to start operations in Cuba and encourage tourism as well.

Nevertheless, Cuba's still a lousy place to do business.  Why?  Because it is still the same communist dictatorship that it was on the day the Obama administration started talking to Castro's regime.

How is Cuba going to change if the corrupt regime doesn't change?  I hope President Trump understands that.

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