The other two respondents both give good answers. Basically, the more government control a society has, especially over the economy, the less prosperous people there will tend to be in the long run. I say "in the long run" because obviously if people in a particular jurisdiction have a certain degree of prosperity, it may take a while for the negative effects of statism to be felt. Venezuela is a terrific example of a country that was relatively prosperous, being blessed with oil, which has just been wrecked by statist policies, first under Hugo Chavez and now his hand-picked successor Nicolas Maduro. These effects are predictable – I remember reading about Chavez's agenda when he first came to power and Venezuela was still doing relatively well and thinking, "that country does not have a bright future". But at the time, Chavez was a media darling; many people in the United States were saying laudatory things about him and the movement that brought him to power. Not so much any more.