Hernando de Soto

Unlocking the Riches of the Poor

Development schemes for Third World countries rarely benefit the poor, largely because aid is too often squandered by corrupt bureaucracies. That makes fresher, commonsense visions like those of Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto all the more welcome. De Soto has spent years looking deep inside the underground economies where poor people--who make up two-thirds of the world's population--eke out a living. He figures the value of their extralegal property, from cinder-block squatter homes to black-market street-vendor sales, at almost $10 billion. De Soto insists that bringing the poor and their assets into the formal economy, which is usually closed to them...

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