The Turmoil and Suffering from the Transition to Freedom

When people consider a genuine transition to a free society, many always speculate that the turmoil and suffering of such a transition would be so horrible that no humane person would wish to bring it about.

Which is to say, people cannot give their assent to throwing off a system of corruption, plunder, violence, and injustice because the transaction costs are, in their minds, unbearable.

In this way people allow themselves to be trapped, snared in a vast net and afraid that if they tried to chop their way out of it too many innocent parties would be injured.

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Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute and Editor at Large of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University, and he has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle University, the University of Economics, Prague, and George Mason University. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford University, and a fellow at the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation.