Here are some of the leaders:
1. Hong Kong, for the tenth consecutive year.
3. New Zealand
Moving down in the list, France was #44, North Korea comes in last, and Venezuela, Iran, and Libya were among the ten worst. No polling was possible for Angola, Burundi, and Iraq, among other disaster areas.
The United States was downgraded for poor fiscal policy. Note that the Freedom Index is done by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal, hardly left-wing critics of Republican economic policy.
Addendum: The Economic Freedom of the World index offers slightly different rankings. For 2003 America remains in third place. The EFW is considered to rely more heavily on quantitative measurement, the Index of Economic Freedom relies more on observer assessments of economic freedom.