Estonia cracks top 10 globalized nations list
Archived Articles 26 Oct 2007  EWR
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Estonia has been ranked as the world’s tenth most globalized nation in the latest A.T. Kearney/Foreign Policy Globalization Index, released on October 22 in Chicago.

The index tracks and assesses changes in global integration, incorporating measures such as trade and investment flows, movement of people across borders, volume of international telephone calls, Internet usage, and participation in international organizations.

The 72 countries ranked in the 2007 Globalization Index account for 97 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 88 percent of the world’s population.

Singapore ranked first for the third consecutive year. Hong Kong debuted very close behind, in second place. The Netherlands rose four places to third, followed by Switzerland and Ireland at fourth and fifth. Denmark was sixth. The United States dropped four spots to seventh overall, despite its continued strength in the index's technology score, followed by Canada at eight place and Jordan in ninth.

Estonia is featured in the report under the heading of Baltic Tiger, which notes as follows:

“Milton Friedman would be at home in Estonia. That’s because the small former Soviet republic has put many of the late Nobel Prize-winning economist’s ideas to the test. The result? Estonia, having shaken itself free from its communist-era shackles, may now qualify as the first Baltic Tiger; it debuts this year at number 10 in the index.

In keeping with Friedman’s free-market philosophy, the country’s government has moved aggressively to open itself up to the outside world. For all practical purposes, Estonia has no corporate income tax, and shareholder dividends are subject to a simple flat tax. Bureaucracy isn’t a problem, either; the government just steps aside to let investors do their thing. The World Bank ranks Estonia 17th among 175 economies in ease of doing business, and sixth in ease of trading across borders. Additionally, the government places no restrictions on foreign ownership of real estate, which has fueled a property investment boom among overseas buyers.

Although the index ranks Estonia 21st in technological connectivity, the country seems poised to pounce higher. The country, dubbed by some as “E-Stonia,” has launched a large online government initiative and even declared Internet access a fundamental human right. In March, it held the world’s first general election that allowed e-voting over the Web.

Former Prime Minister Mart Laar … is widely credited with introducing most of the policies that have helped his country roar ahead of the pack. But among his many awards and accolades, one seems particularly apt: the Cato Institute’s Milton Friedman Prize.”
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