Underground Riches

Unleash the energy of black-market entrepreneurs, says a best-selling author

If you think the global economy is vast now, wait until Hernando de Soto is through with it. Where most see Egyptian shantytowns, De Soto sees tiny businesses and homes that together are worth 35 times more than the companies traded on the Cairo stock exchange. That grimy army of Mexico City street vendors, he claims, is part of an underground economy that helps create 85% of Latin America's new jobs. All it takes to jump-start economic growth in poor nations, he insists, is to legalize those clandestine markets, unleashing legions of new creditworthy entrepreneurs who can be trading partners for...

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