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SPP 242

Author: Richard Rose, CSPP
Description: This paper addresses freedom as an empirical value measured by a consumer index of freedom - the extent to which citizens of a country see themselves as free to act without state interference in their everyday life. The six-item consumer index relies upon responses given by individuals in nationwide representative sample surveys; it thus differs from an index derived from a catalogue of oppressive actions produced by the state. The first section explores different meanings of freedom, and explains why the index is based on Sir Isaiah Berlin's concept of 'freedom from'. It also discusses how freedom differs from other desiderata of the good society. The second part reports results from nationwide surveys in 15 countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The article concludes by showing that freedom can be considered a fundamental value since, notwithstanding (or because of) the recent past, it is positively appreciated by the great majority of people in post-Communist countries.

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland