Wednesday, December 08, 2010

John Stossel on property rights

An interesting article on why the poor remain poor and how giving people property rights can let them lift themselves from poverty. If we rrally cared about the world's poor, we would also unilaterally drop all trade barriers against them and get rid of our marketing boards and agricultural subsidies.

Of the 6 billion people on Earth, 2 billion try to survive on a few dollars a day. They don't build businesses, or if they do, they don't expand them. Unlike people in the United States, Europe and Asian countries like Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, etc., they don't lift themselves out of poverty. Why not? What's the difference between them and us? Hernando de Soto taught me that the biggest difference may be property rights.

I first met de Soto maybe 15 years ago. It was at one of those lunches where people sit around wondering how to end poverty. I go to these things because it bugs me that much of the world hasn't yet figured out what gave us Americans the power to prosper.

I go, but I'm skeptical. There sits de Soto, president of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy in Peru, and he starts pulling pictures out showing slum dwellings built on top of each other. I wondered what they meant.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The corrupt UN can’t stand Hernando’s solutions because they would actually work and then their Kumbayah third world welfare industry would collapse and the skimming by despots would stop.

Closer to home, Hernando de Soto should be invited by First Nations to give a speech on property rights so that they can stop behaving like a third world country propped up by a first world. Hippie communes don’t work; you don’t need a PhD in economics to figure that out.


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