Reinventing Georgia: The story of a Libertarian Revolution

Reinventing Georgia: The story of a Libertarian Revolution

This report is about a remarkable man, a south east European country in a time of transition, and the power and influence of a seductive ideology. The man is Kakha Bendukize, a philosopher-entrepreneur and one of the most interesting thinkers in today's post-Soviet world; the country is Georgia, a small republic of 4 million people in the South Caucasus, eager to become a global model; and the ideology is libertarianism, the belief that people will be freer and more prosperous if government intervention in people's economic choices is minimised.

After a grim, post-Soviet decade, Georgia had captured the imagination of the world in November 2003 when a display of people power swept away the old political establishment. In its place came a new generation of leaders – young, articulate and determined to propel their small republic out of poverty and isolation and into the European mainstream. It is a leadership that has displayed enormous confidence in its ability to transform their country.

This report looks at the promises of the Rose revolution, the way Georgia presented itself as a model for other countries, and the implications of its elites embracing libertarianism as a national ideology. The shaping of Georgia's current reform agenda risks deepening the divide between Georgia and the rest of Europe, leaving the country more isolated and vulnerable. It is time to take a closer look at the origins, the impact and the likely consequences of Georgia's ongoing libertarian revolution.