(‘76 Contributor) The impermanence of political systems and political glory has never been better portrayed than in Percy Bysshe Shelley’s sonnet, “Ozymandias.” It depicts a toppled, broken statue in the desert, on whose base some long-forgotten tyrant had inscribed his title as “king of kings” and boasted: “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair.” What the poet dramatized in 14 ironic lines, the writer of Ecclesiastes had earlier captured in a single word: vanity.
For producing both material goods and personal fulfillment, economic freedom makes all the difference in the world. One country that proved that convincingly is New Zealand. Situated in the South Pacific midway between the equator and the South Pole, New Zealand is just two-thirds the size of California and 86 percent as big as Poland. Its 4.3 million inhabitants live on two main islands and a scattering of tiny ones. New Zealanders—known as “Kiwis”—are proud of a long heritage as a British outpost that ended with full autonomy in 1931.