… is from page 229 of Robert Higgs’s September 1986 Freeman essay, “To Deal With A Crisis: Government Program or Free Market?” as this essay is reprinted and slightly revised in the excellent 2004 collection of some of Bob’s essays, Against Leviathan:
An emergency governmental program is said to have the important attribute of speeding the process of adjustment. Undeniably, coercive programs often work more quickly, but is this aspect of their operation really an advantage?
Coercive programs “save time” only because they compel wastefully hasty adjustments. They do not save valuable resources. Rather, they redistribute the costs of adjustment in comparison with the distribution of the costs when responses are determined by voluntary arrangements in free markets.