The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else
A renowned economist's classic book on capitalism in the developing world, showing how property rights are the key to overcoming poverty
"The hour of capitalism's greatest triumph," writes Hernando de Soto, "is, in the eyes of four-fifths of humanity, its hour of crisis." In The Mystery of Capital, the world-famous Peruvian economist takes up one of the most pressing questions the world faces today: Why do some countries succeed at capitalism while others fail?
In strong opposition to the popular view that success is determined by cultural differences, de Soto finds that it actually has everything to do with the legal structure of property and property rights. Every developed nation in the world at one time went through the transformation from predominantly extralegal property arrangements, such as squatting on large estates, to a formal, unified legal property system. In the West we've forgotten that creating this system is what allowed people everywhere to leverage property into wealth. This persuasive book revolutionized our understanding of capital and points the way to a major transformation of the world economy.
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They no longer need to travel around the country to visit each and every owner and their neighbors ; the formal property system lets them ... owners from the politicized context of local communities to the impersonal context of law .
Once assets are in a formal property system , they endow their owners with an enormous advantage in that they can be split up and combined in more ways than an Erector set . Westerners can adapt their assets to any economic circumstance ...
It also enhanced the status of their owners , who became economic agents able to transform assets within a broader network . This explains how legal property encourages the suppliers of such utilities as electricity and water to invest ...
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - Indrit - LibraryThing
I have had the privilege of meeting the Hernando de Soto back in 2006 while attending training at his Institute for Liberty and Democracy in Lima. I can count among those who have also implemented in ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - ShadowBarbara - LibraryThing
Excellent overview of how we use property to create capital and how most of the world does not have a system for documenting ownership. Most people live in an extralegal system. Has recommendations for changing the systems so that real capitalism can work. Read full review