Freedom in the World 2001 | Freedom House

Freedom in the World

Freedom in the World 2001

As a new president assumes office,  the United States has an opportunity to shape its foreign policy in an environment of democratic states that share America’s commitment to democracy, the rule of law, and economic freedom rooted in property rights. This emerging environment should enhance the prospects of broad international cooperation on behalf of the expansion of freedom, prosperity, and stability.

In particular, the new administration will inherit a world in which there is forward momentum toward greater freedom. As the year 2000 draws to a close, Freedom House’s year-end Survey of Freedom in the World shows no letup in the world’s two-decade long march toward increased political rights and civil liberties.

The State of Freedom: 2000

As the year draws to close, there are 86 Free countries (2,465.2  billion people; 40.69 percent of the world population) in which a broad range of political rights are respected; 58 Partly Free countries (1,435.8 billion people; 23.70 percent of the world’s population) in which there is a mixed record with more limited political rights and civil liberties often accompanied by corruption, weak rule of law, and the inordinate political dominance of a ruling party, in some cases characterized by ethnic or religious strife. There are 48 countries rated Not Free (2,157.5 billion people; representing 35.61 percent of the globe’s population), in which basic political rights and civil liberties are denied.

In all, the Survey shows that in the year 2000, there has been significant progress toward freedom in 25 countries and significant setbacks for freedom in 18 countries. Moreover, 40.69 percent of people living under freedom is the highest in the history of the Survey.

The Decade’s Trend

Today, there are ten more Free countries than five years ago. In the same period, there has been a decline in the number of Not Free countries by five, and there are four fewer Partly Free countries. The trend is even more dramatic when compared to the state of affairs a decade ago. Since 1990, there has been an overall increase of 21 in the number of Free countries, an increase of 8 in the number of Partly Free states, and a drop of 2 in the number of Not Free states. These figures reflect an increase of 27 sovereign countries during the decade, largely due to the disintegration and separation of multinational states.

These gains have been registered during a period when many believed that the world was spinning out of control because of a series of bloody and widely reported civil wars and inter-ethnic conflicts. In fact, the Survey evidence shows clear gains for freedom in each of the last seven years. Moreover, Survey evidence indicates that the impression of a growing number of ethnic conflicts is considerably exaggerated. In fact, the last few years have seen an overall decline in the number of major civil wars and interstate conflicts that claim more than 1,000 lives per annum.

Country Trends

Four countries entered the ranks of the Free: Mexico, Croatia, Ghana, and Suriname. Mexico held a successful free and fair presidential election that marked the end of the uninterrupted reign of the country’s former dominant party—the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)—and the election of Vicente Fox, candidate of the opposition National Action Party (PAN). The successful election of a president from outside the PRI, which had governed Mexico since 1929, was accompanied by continuing diversification in the media and an increasingly vibrant civil society.

Croatia, which saw the election of a reform-oriented government, registered significant progress in the deepening of the rule of law, the emergence of greater press freedom and more independent media, and an increasing vibrancy within civil society. In addition, the coming to power of a new political coalition resulted in significant improvements in the areas of governance,  accountability, and transparency.

Suriname advanced from Partly Free to the ranks of Free countries as a result of a free and fair election process that signaled an end to the military’s significant influence on the country’s political life. As importantly, civil liberties made gains because of diligent efforts by the government to hold former officials accountable for past human rights violations.

Ghana held free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections in December 2000, and saw an opposition party emerge as the country’s  new  leading political force.

One country, Congo (Brazzaville) moved forward from Not Free to Partly Free as a result of the resolution of the country’s civil war through the consolidation of a peace process and an easing of repression stemming from the peace agreement that was signed in late 1999.

Three countries—Fiji, the Solomon Islands, and Ecuador—were dropped from Free to Partly Free designations.

Fiji experienced a coup organized by rebels from the indigenous island population. Although the military eventually stepped in and restored order, the legitimately elected leadership was not reinstalled. Instead, the military imposed an interim civilian government in contravention of the country’s constitution.

The Solomon Islands saw its rating decline because of an 18-month reign of ethnic violence that brought about a practical collapse of all government institutions. While a peace agreement was signed in October between the two warring factions, peace remains tenuous.

Ecuador also exited the ranks of the Free as a result of a partially successful military coup in January that brought about the overthrow of the elected president, who was subsequently replaced by the country’s vice president.

Two countries—the Kyrgyz Republic and Haiti— moved from the ranks of the Partly Free to the Not Free.  The Kyrgyz Republic experienced the further consolidation of power by the country’s president and a presidential and parliamentary election process that was neither free nor fair.  Haiti underwent a series of elections deemed to be neither free nor fair by international observers.

Twenty countries registered significant progress in political rights and civil liberties—though not enough to warrant a category shift. They are Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Indonesia, Mali, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Senegal, Somalia, Taiwan, Uruguay, Vietnam, and Yugoslavia.

Among the most significant of the countries registering gains in freedom was Peru, where the broadcast of a videotape showing the country’s security chief bribing a parliamentarian precipitated a political crisis that eventually ended in the resignation of the authoritarian president, Alberto Fujimori. Fujimori’s resignation led to the installation of a respected caretaker president and a government headed by former United Nations Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar. New elections are scheduled for April 2001. In addition, post-Fujimori Peru has seen the expansion of media freedoms.

Free and fair presidential elections and the orderly transfer of power in Taiwan further improved the country’s level of political freedom. Progress was also observable in the prosecution of government officials linked to allegations involving defense contracts.

Despite worrying signs of ethnic strife, significant steps toward political freedom and human rights also were taken in Indonesia, where, despite inter-ethnic tensions, the young democratic government began to make efforts to examine and punish former high-ranking leaders from the Suharto era for corruption. Political rights advanced as a more dynamic and pluralistic system saw the strengthened role of political parties.

In Oman, gains in civil liberties resulted from the expansion of opportunity for women, particularly in the economic and business spheres.

There were 13 countries that declined in freedom without changing categories: Azerbaijan, Côte d’Ivoire, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Israel, Liberia, Macedonia, Nigeria, Russia, Sierra Leone, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, and Ukraine.

Among the countries that saw  significant erosion of freedom was Azerbaijan, where a rigged election in November was not only marred by electoral violations and voter fraud, but was accompanied by severe pressure on independent civic groups, worker organizations, and media that are not sympathetic to the ruling regime. Freedom of association was also circumscribed through police pressures against protesters.

In Russia, political rights eroded as a result of serious irregularities in the country’s March presidential election, particularly heavy government pressures on the press, and the absence of equal access by presidential candidates to the broadcast media.

In Ukraine, an end-of-year scandal involving the disappearance of an eminent journalist refocused attention on extensive government harassment of independent media through tax inspections, confiscation of print runs, and extensive use of libel law.

Most Repressive

Today, there are 48 states that systematically deny a broad range of freedoms and violate basic political rights and civil liberties. Among these, 11 countries have been given the Survey’s lowest rating of 7 for political rights and 7 for civil liberties. The 11 worst-rated countries represent a narrow range of systems and cultures. Two—Cuba and North Korea—are one-party Marxist-Leninist regimes and 7 are majority-Islamic countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, and Turkmenistan). Of these, Turkmenistan is a post-Communist society; Iraq, Libya, and Syria are led by secular Baathist, or socialist, parties. Afghanistan is a fundamentalist Islamic theocracy; Sudan is led by a government that also embraces fundamentalist Islamic rhetoric; and Saudi Arabia has made important concessions to its conservative Islamic clerical leadership. The remaining worst-rated countries are Burma, a tightly controlled military dictatorship, and Equatorial Guinea. There are also two worst-rated territories: Tibet (under Chinese jurisdiction) and Chechnya, a region where a large segment of the indigenous population has been engaged in a protracted struggle for independence from Russia.

Electoral Democracy

For the seventh consecutive year, freedom has registered incremental gains, both in terms of enhanced political rights and in increased civil rights and liberties. Progress towards freer civic institutions, a vibrant and diverse press, and a strengthened rule of law has coincided with the growth of electoral democracy.

Electoral democracy, while a crucial element of freedom, is not by itself the equivalent of freedom. Electoral democracies are characterized by a range of competing political parties with alternative programs, the ability of these parties to raise and use resources in open political campaigns, and a free and fair election process. Electoral democracies require a diffusion of power among different branches of government and a regular cycle of elections in an environment in which an orderly change of the political elite among competing groups is possible.

Electoral democracies may differ from Free  countries in that they may still suffer serious defects in inter-ethnic relations, discrimination against minorities and social groups, and a weak rule of law.

Today, there are 120 electoral democracies. That number has remained relatively steady in the last four years. These democracies represent 63 percent of the world’s states. Three significant entrants into the ranks of electoral democracies were Mexico, which held its first fully free and fair presidential elections after what were widely regarded as free and fair parliamentary and state elections in 1997 and 1998; Senegal, where free and fair presidential elections led to a peaceful transfer of power to an opposition leader; and Yugoslavia, where a democratic election for president took place despite attempted fraud in the initial vote count, and the results of a parliamentary election  were unchallenged by the competing political parties.

Fiji, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Haiti have exited the ranks of electoral democracies. Fiji lost its status as a democracy after a coup that, though largely unsuccessful, led to the overthrow of a democratically constituted government and its replacement by a government imposed by the military. The Kyrgyz Republic saw tainted elections that were neither free nor fair at the parliamentary and presidential levels. Haiti’s elections for both president and parliament were deemed seriously flawed by the international community.

There are reasons to believe that next year will offer further momentum for new transitions toward democracy. One major candidate for movement towards freedom is Peru, where the authoritarian president, Alberto Fujimori, resigned and presidential elections were scheduled for April 2001. East Timor, too, is in the middle of a democratic transition that may lead to democratic elections.


This year’s Survey findings on political and civic freedoms have been compared with levels of economic prosperity in all countries. The Survey finds that higher levels of political freedom tend to correlate with higher levels of economic prosperity. Thus, the median per capita gross domestic product (GDP) for the most Free countries (those with a combined average of 1) is $20,847. The median GDP per capita for Free countries rated 1.5 is $9,094. Free countries with a combined average of 2 have a median GDP of $5,123, while Free countries with an average rating of 2.5 have a median GDP of $3,796. Countries on the cusp between Free and Partly Free (combined average rating of 3) have a median GDP of $2,718.

At the same time, Partly Free countries with a combined average rating of 3.5 have a median GDP of $2,006. Partly Free states with a rating of 4 have a median GDP of $1,940, while Partly Free states with a freedom rating of 4.5 have a median GDP of $3,194. States with a 5 rating–-countries in which there are severe problems with rights abuses–-have a median GDP of $1,398. More repressive states, with a 5.5 rating, have a median GDP of $2,317. Not Free states with a rating of 6 have a median GDP of $1,637. Highly repressive Not Free states with a combined score of 6.5 have a median GDP of $1,689, while the most repressive states have a median GDP of $2,892.

Significantly, while the freest countries are also the most prosperous and have the highest median and average per capita GDP, there is no similar absolute correlation between the most repressive states and the least prosperity. Indeed, the findings suggest that many impoverished countries preserve a higher degree of political rights and civil liberties than some prosperous states.

Among countries with a per capita GDP of more than $15,000, there were 24 rated Free; 2, Partly Free; and 3, Not  Free. Of the countries with per capita GDP between $5,000 and $15,000, there were 32 rated Free; 9, Partly Free; and 7, Not Free. Among countries with a per capita  GDP of between $2,500 and $5,000, there were 11 rated Free; 14, Partly Free; and 11, Not Free. Of countries with per capita GDP of $1,000 to $2,500, there were 6 rated Free; 16, Partly Free; and 17, Not Free. Among the poorest countries, those with a per capita GDP below $1,000, there were 2 rated Free; 12, Partly Free; and 7, Not Free. (Updated comparative figures were unavailable for 11 Free countries, 5 Partly Free countries, and 3 Not Free countries).

In the countries with the highest level of freedom (that is, those with a combined average rating from 1 to 2), we find a significant number of poorer countries such as Belize (per capita GDP: $4,566); Benin (per capita GDP: $867); Bolivia (per capita GDP: $2,269); Cape Verde (per capita GDP: $3,233); Jamaica (per capita GDP: $3,389), and São Tomé and Príncipe (per capita GDP: $1,469).

At the same time, among the countries with the greatest number  of political and civil rights violations and a high degree of repression (combined average rating of 6-7), we find a handful of more prosperous states: Bahrain (per capita GDP: $13,111); Brunei (per capita GDP: $16,765); and Libya (per capita GDP: $6,697).

Thus, it is possible to conclude that significant national wealth does not automatically lead to increased levels of political, civic, and personal freedom. Nevertheless, the correlations between prosperity at the upper reaches of freedom and poverty at the lowest reaches of freedom are striking. Indeed, at the highest level of freedom, the median per capita GDP is nearly seven times greater than that recorded by the world’s most repressive states.

Freedom and Economic Growth

While the Survey findings already suggest that high levels of respect for political rights and civil liberties are attainable by poorer countries, it is nevertheless important to examine whether the large number of prosperous countries in the Free category suggest that freedom is a consequence of prosperity and development or whether prosperity is a consequence of basic political and civic freedoms.

To attempt to answer the question, we looked at all countries with a population of one million or more and examined their records of average annual economic growth over a ten-year period. The data revealed that among all such Free countries, the average annual GDP growth rate was 2.56 percent, compared with 1.81 percent for Partly Free countries and 1.36 percent for Not Free countries. However, such data might reflect the dynamism of the advanced industrial countries, which are almost universally free and democratic.

The differences in the growth indicators of poorer countries were even more dramatic. Our survey found that for all Free countries with a per capita GDP of less than $5,000, the average ten- year annual growth rate was 3.23 percent. This was more than double the 1.47 average ten-year annual growth rates of Partly Free poorer countries (with a per capita GDP of less than $5,000). Finally, among the less-developed Not Free countries, average per capita GDP growth over a ten- year period stood at 1.41 percent, again less than half that of Free poorer countries. Less-developed Free countries that achieved average annual growth rates above four percent over a ten-year period included Benin, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, India, and Papua New Guinea.

From these data, it appears that repressive countries with high sustained economic growth rates, such as China, are the exception rather than the rule. Indeed, it is possible to conclude that as a general principle, economic growth is accelerated in an environment of political freedom. Thus, the Survey findings support the position of such economists as Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, who views “development as freedom.”

From these findings, it is possible to consider some of the reasons why economic development is promoted by greater levels of political freedom. A primary factor is the evidence that political freedom tends to reinforce economic freedom and a vibrant private sector based on property rights. Indeed, there is a high and statistically significant correlation between the level of political freedom as measured by Freedom House and economic freedom as measured by the Wall Street Journal/Heritage Foundation survey.

A second important reason is that open and free societies benefit from an active and engaged citizenry and lively, investigative news media that expose and help combat corruption. Moreover, the natural rotation of alternative political elites reduces the opportunities for cronyism and for incestuous  relations between politicians and the business community. Additionally, free societies are characterized by a neutral and independent judiciary, which is essential in the enforcement of contracts and the honest adjudication of differences among parties. It also can be argued—as the Harvard scholar Dani Rodrik has shown—that free societies that protect the right to association and collective action create an environment conducive to a more balanced distribution of wealth and income. This, in turn, improves social stability and serves as an internal economic engine for prosperity by creating a vibrant, working middle class.

Regional Variations

At the dawn of the new millennium, democracy and freedom are the dominant trends in Western and East-Central Europe, in the Americas, and increasingly in the Asian-Pacific region. In the former Soviet Union the picture remains mixed, with progress toward freedom stalled and a number of countries consolidating into dictatorships. In Africa, too, Free  societies and electoral democracies remain a distinct minority. While there are no true democracies or Free countries within the Arab world, and a low proportion of Free and democratic Muslim states, 1999 was a year of democratic ferment in the Islamic world. However, 2000 was marked by political stagnation, with a few modest gains offset by setbacks in Iran and Egypt, and an upsurge of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

Of the 53 countries in Africa, 9 are Free (17 percent), 25 are Partly Free (47 percent), and 19 are Not Free (36 percent). Only 21 African countries (40 percent) are electoral democracies. Generally, the region continued to be the most dynamic part of the world, but there was little evidence of forward momentum toward greater openness. One small sign of hope this year was that eight African states registered gains for freedom while only six suffered significant setbacks.

In Asia, 18 of the region’s 39 countries are Free (46 percent), 10 are Partly Free (26 percent), and 11 are Not Free (28 percent). Despite the looming presence of Communist China and the rhetoric of “Asian values,” 23 (59 percent) of the region’s polities are electoral democracies.

In East-Central Europe and the former U.S.S.R., there is now evidence of a deepening chasm. In Central Europe and parts of Eastern Europe, including the Baltic states, democracy and freedom prevail; in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), however, progress toward the emergence of open societies has stalled or failed. Overall, 19 of the 27 post-Communist countries of East-Central Europe and the CIS are electoral democracies (70 percent). In addition, 11 of the region’s states are Free (41 percent), 10 are Partly Free (37 percent), and 6 are Not Free (22 percent). Of the 12 non-Baltic former Soviet republics, 6 countries are Partly Free, 6 are Not Free, and none are Free. Stagnation and reversals for freedom characterized virtually all the non-Baltic Soviet states.

Western Europe remains the preserve of Free countries and democracies, with all 24 states both free and democratic.

Among the 35 countries in the Americas, 31 are electoral democracies (89 percent). In addition, 23 states are rated as Free (66 percent), 10 are Partly Free (28 percent), and 2—Cuba and Haiti—are Not Free (6 percent).

In the 14 Middle Eastern countries (excluding those in North Africa), the roots of democracy and freedom are weakest. In this region there is only one Free country, Israel (7 percent); there are three Partly Free states—Jordan, Kuwait, and Turkey (21 percent)—and ten countries that are Not Free (71 percent). Israel and Turkey are the region’s only electoral democracies (14 percent).


Just as there are important regional variations in basic freedoms and political systems, there are also noteworthy distinctions between mono-ethnic and multiethnic countries with regard to freedom and democracy. Indeed, democracy is, as a rule, significantly more successful in mono-ethnic societies (that is, societies in which there is a single dominant majority ethnic group representing more than two-thirds of the population) than in ethnically divided and multiethnic societies.

When this year’s Survey data are examined through the prism of ethnic composition, they offer some revealing findings. For example, of Free countries, 64 (74 percent) have a dominant ethnic majority representing more than two-thirds of the population, while 22 (26 percent) do not. Among Partly Free countries, 24 (41 percent) are mono-ethnic, while 34 (59 percent) are multiethnic or ethnically divided. And among the Not Free states, there are 26 (54 percent) that are mono-ethnic, while 22 (46 percent) are not. In short, a state with a dominant ethnic group is some three times more likely to be Free than a multiethnic state.

Similar patterns can be found among the democracies. Of the world’s 120 electoral democracies, 79 (66 percent) have a dominant ethnic group and 41 (34 percent) do not. Of the 72 countries that do not have a democratic government, 35 (49 percent) are mono-ethnic and 37 (51 percent) are not.

One reason for this outcome is that in ethnically divided and multiethnic societies, political parties tend to form around ethnic allegiances. This is particularly the case in multiethnic states where ethnic groups are not heterogeneously dispersed throughout the country, but live in specific geographic regions. Many African states fall into this pattern. At the same time, as a rule, in societies where there is a single dominant ethnic group, political mobilization along primarily ethnic lines is less likely and politics tend to divide along the lines of economic and class-based interests. This is the record of the nation-states in much of Western and Central Europe and in most countries in the Americas.

At the same time, it must be said that there are numerous examples of successful multiethnic societies, many of which have a strong tradition of decentralized power, federalism, and protection of ethnic and minority rights, and a strong and vibrant market system open to the participation of a broad range of religious and ethnic communities.


Each year, Freedom House points to five key events that have advanced freedom around the world and five key events that have constituted setbacks for liberty.

Five Major Gains for Freedom Five Major Gains for Freedom

1. Mexico: The election of President Vicente Fox brought democracy to Mexico after more than 70 years of  virtual one-party  government by  the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Early signs suggest that Fox intends to reform and democratize Mexico’s political and judicial structures.

2. Yugoslavia: With the election of President Vojislav Kostunica, the bloody rule of Slobodan Milosevic has come to an end, a development that gives rise to hope for genuine peace in the Balkans and the emergence of the rule of law in Belgrade. 

3. New Asian Values: In the Philippines, impeachment procedures were brought against an allegedly corrupt president; in Indonesia, charges of corruption and abuse of power were advanced against military officers and the son of the former dictator; and in Taiwan, the justice minister launched a crackdown on corruption.  All represent crucial gains for the rule of law in formerly authoritarian states and set a new model for democratic “Asian values.”

4. Peru: The resignation of President Alberto Fujimori has been followed by important gains for political freedom, human rights, the rule of law, and the prospect of free and fair elections in April 2001. 

5. The Community of Democracies: The convening in June 2000 of a conference of the world’s democratic states creates the possibility of a new era of cooperation and concerted policy towards the spread of freedom.

Five Major Setbacks for Freedom

1. Israel and Palestine: The upsurge of violence represents a serious setback for peace and stability in the Middle East. 

2. Erosion of political liberties in Russia and Ukraine:  Both countries have suffered from growing authoritarianism and continuing rampant corruption.  

3. Venezuela: Despite the holding of free and fair elections, President Hugo Chavez has expanded his attempt to centralize control from the state sector to civil society, including a naked power grab aimed at the country’s independent trade unions.

4. Iran: Prospects for reform waned as conservative clerics led a backlash against the press, students, and moderate political figures.

5. War in Africa: Civil war, ethnic conflict, and war between states engulfed much of Africa, with little relief in sight. Most disturbing is the prospect of a widening of Sierra Leone’s civil strife to  Guinea and neighboring states.


For the new team that will shape U.S. foreign policy and for the new U.S. Congress, the Survey’s findings offer some important signposts. First, they show that the U.S. commitment to the promotion of democracy initiated in the Reagan administration, continued under President Bush, and expanded under President Clinton, has borne fruit. U.S. moral and material support for civic movements, independent media, property rights, and the rule of law in transitional and closed societies, coupled with diplomatic pressures, has helped advance democracy’s tide.

The advance of fundamental freedoms around the world creates new opportunities for international cooperation on behalf of security, freedom, and economic growth.

Both major U.S. political parties appear to understand the importance of this trend. In its 2000 platform, the Republican Party called for the creation of a Global Fellowship of Freedom. The Democratic Clinton administration, through U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, played a key role in promoting cooperation through the Community of Democracies.

As this bipartisan consensus has taken shape, a sharp debate has unfolded over how to promote global respect for human rights. On one side are strong proponents of U.S. sovereignty, who are skeptical of the efficacy, reliability, and jurisdiction of a growing body of “international law” that is not subject to the regulation and modification of democratically constituted legislative authority. On the other are those who argue for permanent institutions to enforce international law, including the emerging International Criminal Court.

A middle ground on which both sides could agree rests in the fostering of systematic cooperation among the countries that adhere to the rule of law and democratic practice, and increased cooperation among the democracies in exerting pressure against regimes that violate basic rights and support terrorism.

In this regard, the limited progress made in the last year toward the creation of the Community of Democracies creates important new possibilities. The Community of Democracies—a ministerial-level meeting of 107 countries—adopted a wide-ranging declaration in Warsaw in June 2000. The declaration pledged states to work together in coordinated fashion in assisting transitional societies. It also pledged the Community to create democracy caucuses in global and regional organizations. However, the credibility of the Community was undermined by the participation of several states in which democratic practices are routinely violated. The evolution of the Community of Democracies should, therefore, proceed on the basis of rigorous conditions of membership and should unite only established democratic states and transitional societies in which free and fair multiparty elections have occurred.

Significantly, the Community of Democracies initiative has been followed up at the United Nations, where for the first time a caucus of the democracies has been established and has begun to meet. This precedent deserves to be replicated at other international bodies and can become an important force for the reform of ineffective international organizations.

No one expects cooperation among free and open societies to produce unanimity of views. Still, on issues such as coordinated responses to threats against emerging democracies, cooperation against rogue and genocidal regimes, and commitments to strengthening civil society and the private sector, consensus can be shaped with proper U.S. leadership.

As the Survey’s findings indicate, the promotion of political freedom is not exclusively a matter of values or morality. The Survey’s findings make clear that political rights and civil liberties can also reinforce economic development. This in turn suggests that efforts to help strengthen property rights, market systems, and the rule of law should be part of the effort to assist less developed countries.

If the leaders of the new administration and the Congress reaffirm and deepen their commitment to the promotion of democracy around the world, they can play a key role in shaping a more prosperous, more open, and—over time—more secure world.

Adrian Karatnycky is president of Freedom House.

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