Capitalist Countries 2021

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Capitalism is an economic ideology in which the means of production is controlled by private business. This means that individual citizens run the economy without the government interfering in production or pricing. Instead, pricing is set by the free market. This means that value is based on supply and demand and the relationship between producers and consumers.

Capitalism is very different from socialism and communism, in which the government maintains tight control of the economy. The United States is arguably the most well-known country with a capitalist economy, which many citizens see as an essential part of democracy and building the "American Dream." Capitalism also taps into the American spirit, being a more "free" market when compared to the more government-controlled alternatives.

Despite this distinction, the United States falls short of the top 10 in terms of the most capitalistic countries in a 2021 report from The Heritage Foundation and Global Finance Magazine. According to the Heritage Organization's Economic Freedom of the World Index, the top 10 countries with the most capitalist economies (ranked from highest score to lowest) are:

Top 10 Countries with the Most Capitalist Economies - 2021 Heritage Index of Economic Freedom:

  1. Singapore (Freedom score: 89.7)
  2. New Zealand (83.9)
  3. Australia (82.4)
  4. Switzerland (81.9)
  5. Ireland (81.4)
  6. Taiwan (78.6)
  7. United Kingdom (78.4)
  8. Estonia (78.2)
  9. Canada (77.9)
  10. Denmark (77.8)

This list stands as a bit of a contrast from a 2018 list compiled by the Fraser Institute:

Top 10 Countries with the Most Capitalist Economies - 2018 Fraser Institute:

  1. Hong Kong (China)
  2. Singapore
  3. New Zealand
  4. Switzerland
  5. Australia
  6. United States
  7. Mauritius
  8. Georgia
  9. Canada
  10. Ireland

There are benefits and drawbacks to a capitalist economy. For example, capitalism cultivates competition, which often drives both innovation and affordability, with the best products selling at the best possible prices. Economic growth is another benefit. On the other hand, one of the most significant disadvantages of capitalism is that it does not promote equality of opportunity. In short, some people may not get the opportunities that others receive. Moreover, the unrestrained "supply and demand" nature of the free market can result in prices too high for lower income individuals to afford.

Does absolute capitalism exist?

In theory, yes. In practice, no country in the world has ever achieved a 100% capitalist, "laissez-faire," or free-market economy. All capitalist economies are mixed to one degree or another. The following are some high-profile examples.

Is America capitalist?

Yes, but not completely. The United States is actually referred to as a mixed market economy, meaning that it blends characteristics of both capitalism and socialism.

In the United States, the means of production (such as manufacturers or importers) are privately owned and operated for profit. This is a clearly capitalist approach. However, because the economy has regulations, taxation, and some subsidization, the United States is not a purely capitalist society. The government has at least partial control over education, roads, health care, and postal deliveries. It also provides subsidies to sectors including oil companies, financial companies, and agricultural producers. Additionally, private businesses must register with government agencies, and certain types of companies need government-approved licenses.

Is Russia capitalist?

It's arguably borderline. While many people equate Russia with socialism, the economic truth is a bit more complex. Some experts suggest that Russia is a "state capitalist" economy, but others maintain that Russia is a "mixed market" economy. State capitalism is an economic system in which the government, or state, undertakes for-profit economic activity, and the means of production are state-owned enterprises. The state controls approximately 55% of Russia's economy, and directly employs 20 million workers (28% of the workforce). Additionally, the existence of oligarchs in Russia makes the country non-capitalist.

Is Japan capitalist?

Yes, but in an altered form. Japan is a capitalist country in the form of "collective capitalism". In Japan's collective capitalist system, workers are usually compensated with job security, pensions, and social protection by their employers in return for loyalty and hard work. Collective capitalism focuses on long-term relationships, such as companies owning shares in other companies, resulting in cooperation between companies because they are invested in one other's prosperity.

For a full list of countries and their level of capitalist freedom, see the table below. Note that scores of 70 or higher would generally be considered capitalist countries, while those from 60.0-69.9 would be borderline.

Capitalist Countries 2021

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Capitalist Countries 2021

Rank Country Index of Economic Freedom - Heritage 2021 Economic Freedom Score - Fraser 2020 (2018 data) 2021 Population
1Singapore89.78.655,896,686
2New Zealand83.98.534,860,643
3Australia82.48.2325,788,215
4Switzerland81.98.438,715,494
5Ireland81.48.134,982,907
6Taiwan78.67.9423,855,010
7United Kingdom78.48.0868,207,116
8Estonia78.27.961,325,185
9Canada77.98.1738,067,903
10Denmark77.88.15,813,298
11Iceland77.47.71343,353
12Georgia77.28.183,979,765
13Mauritius778.211,273,433
15Lithuania76.98.12,689,862
14United Arab Emirates76.97.059,991,089
16Netherlands76.87.8217,173,099
17Finland76.17.765,548,360
18Luxembourg767.75634,814
19Chile75.27.9619,212,361
20United States74.88.22332,915,073
21Sweden74.77.5810,160,169
22Malaysia74.47.5832,776,194
23Japan74.17.88126,050,804
24South Korea747.6951,305,186
25Austria73.97.89,043,070
27Israel73.87.628,789,774
26Czech Republic73.87.8110,724,555
28Norway73.47.65,465,630
29Germany72.57.8583,900,473
30Latvia72.37.891,866,942
31Qatar726.882,930,528
32Armenia71.97.922,968,127
33Cyprus71.47.841,215,584
34Kazakhstan71.17.1218,994,962
35Bulgaria70.47.746,896,663
36Malta70.27.94442,784
38Azerbaijan70.16.3710,223,342
37Belgium70.17.5611,632,326
40Bahrain69.97.161,748,296
39Spain69.97.7346,745,216
42Poland69.77.0437,797,005
41Thailand69.76.7569,950,850
43Romania69.57.8319,127,774
44Uruguay69.37.253,485,151
45Jamaica697.692,973,463
46North Macedonia68.67.152,082,658
48Slovenia68.37.332,078,724
47Rwanda68.37.3913,276,513
49Colombia68.16.7151,265,844
50Peru67.77.7633,359,418
51Botswana67.67.62,397,241
52Portugal67.57.610,167,925
54Serbia67.27.058,697,550
53Hungary67.27.449,634,164
55Indonesia66.97.39276,361,783
57Seychelles66.37.4998,908
56Slovakia66.37.635,460,721
58Panama66.27.84,381,579
59Saudi Arabia666.3135,340,683
60France65.77.465,426,179
61Mexico65.57.21130,262,216
62Albania65.27.82,872,933
63Barbados656.22287,711
64Italy64.97.5160,367,477
67Bahamas64.67.62396,913
66Oman64.66.795,223,375
65Jordan64.67.6210,269,021
68Costa Rica64.27.625,139,052
70Kuwait64.16.64,328,550
69Philippines64.17.43111,046,913
72Guatemala647.718,249,860
71Turkey646.6285,042,738
73Kyrgyzstan63.76.996,628,356
74Croatia63.67.364,081,651
75Montenegro63.46.94628,053
76Morocco63.36.737,344,795
77Bosnia And Herzegovina62.96.93,263,466
79Namibia62.66.522,587,344
78Paraguay62.67.237,219,638
80Moldova62.56.994,024,019
81Mongolia62.47.433,329,289
82Fiji62.26.5902,906
83Dominican Republic62.17.5810,953,703
85Ivory Coast61.76.0927,053,629
84Vietnam61.76.298,168,833
86Russia61.56.74145,912,025
87Tanzania61.36.7361,498,437
89El Salvador617.416,518,499
88Belarus616.359,442,862
90Greece60.96.7110,370,744
91Honduras59.87.2810,062,991
92South Africa59.76.7360,041,994
93Benin59.66.212,451,040
94Ghana59.26.6531,732,129
95Trinidad And Tobago597.261,403,375
96Papua New Guinea58.96.399,119,010
97Nigeria58.76.93211,400,708
98Uganda58.67.5547,123,531
99China58.46.211,444,216,107
100Bhutan58.36.63779,898
101Gabon58.15.862,278,825
102Senegal586.2717,196,301
103Madagascar57.76.228,427,328
105Belize57.56.6404,914
104Togo57.56.258,478,250
106Guyana57.46.68790,326
107Cambodia57.37.2816,946,438
108Tunisia56.66.0711,935,766
111Guinea56.55.5713,497,244
110Burkina Faso56.55.8521,497,096
109India56.56.561,393,409,038
112Nicaragua56.37.056,702,385
113Ukraine56.26.0643,466,819
114Mauritania56.16.224,775,119
116Sri Lanka55.76.8821,497,310
115Egypt55.75.38104,258,327
117Mali55.65.9320,855,735
118Tajikistan55.26.059,749,627
119Eswatini55.16.271,172,362
121Guinea Bissau54.95.462,015,494
120Kenya54.96.8454,985,698
122Angola54.24.7533,933,610
123Laos53.96.627,379,358
124Lesotho53.56.652,159,079
126Cameroon53.45.8527,224,265
125Brazil53.46.56213,993,437
127Malawi535.7919,647,684
128Argentina52.75.7845,605,826
129Ecuador52.46.4617,888,475
132Sierra Leone51.75.878,141,343
131Ethiopia51.75.61117,876,227
130Pakistan51.76.07225,199,937
133Mozambique51.65.9432,163,047
134Lebanon51.46.886,769,146
135Haiti50.86.5811,541,685
136Nepal50.76.4829,674,920
138Chad50.45.7116,914,985
137Zambia50.47.1918,920,651
139Burundi49.95.9412,255,433
140Algeria49.74.9744,616,624
141Liberia49.26.285,180,203
142DR Congo495.1592,377,993
143Central African Republic48.85.274,919,981
144Iran47.24.885,028,759
145Suriname46.46.37591,800
146Timor Leste44.76.291,343,873
147Bolivia42.76.311,832,940
148Zimbabwe39.55.1215,092,171
149Sudan39.14.2144,909,353
150Venezuela24.73.3428,704,954
157Brunei6.6441,532
156Libya4.726,958,532
155Hong Kong8.947,552,810
154Syria5.4518,275,702
153Yemen5.5130,490,640
152Iraq5.6141,179,350
151Myanmar5.8154,806,012

Capitalist Countries 2021