In the last two decades there has been a burst of financial and other liberalization in the world economy. There have also been a number of crises - mostly misleadingly called financial crises. Some association has been made between the crises and the increasing freedom. An examination of these issues in the historical record of the last 150 years suggests caution before any such conclusion is drawn. This paper brings historical perspective to the issues and argues that there have been successful periods of freedom without serious problems.