Hernando de Soto Knows How To Make the Third World Richer than the First

In the spring of 1989, Chinese students occupied Tiananmen Square, erected a replica of the Statue of Liberty, and called for democracy and individual rights. By the fall, people living in East Germany took hammers and chisels to the Berlin Wall, unleashing a wave of revolutions that ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was an auspicious year for human freedom. Nineteen eighty-nine was also the year that Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto published The Other Path: The Invisible Revolution in The Third World, which radically challenged conventional wisdom about the underlying cause of persistent poverty in the post-colonial landscape. Drawing on his extensive field work with the Peruvian-based think tank the Institute for Liberty and Democracy, de Soto argued that people were pushed into the black market and wider informal economy because governments refused to recognize, document, and promote legal ownership of land and other assets. Reason's Nick Gillespie caught up with de Soto in Washington, D.C. in June, where he received the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Julian L. Simon Memorial Award, named for the late free-market economist who believed that "mankind is the ultimate resource." 'Subdivision of the Masses' by Philipp Weigl is licensed under CC BY 4.0 'By Grace' by Podington Bear is licensed under CC BY NC 3.0 'Garden of Untamed Roses (Act II)' by Lloyd Rogers is licensed under PD

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