Niall Ferguson in the Wall Street Journal ahead of his new book The Great Degeneration —
In only one category out of 22 (in World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report) is the U.S. ranked in the global top 20 (the strength of investor protection). In seven categories it does not even make the top 50. For example, the WEF ranks the U.S. 87th in terms of the costs imposed on business by “organized crime (mafia-oriented racketeering, extortion).” In every single category, Hong Kong does better.
The chart above is the actual responses from the WEF survey of US executives asked to rank the top 5 constraints on business (page 360). The weighted response is 1.1 percent for any kind of crime. That’s lower than the responses for “foreign currency regulations.” Apparently moving dollars around is somewhat difficult too. Somehow WEF is able to translate these country-specific responses into a global ranking that conveys American businessmen cowering in the executive suite as mobsters rampage on the factory floor. It’s a miracle the country has any growth at all!