Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Mystery of Capital by Hernando De Soto

This book's full title is The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else. Hernando De Soto has an interesting and unique world view. I am a capitalist, but I do not believe that clear property rights are the complete answer to capitalism.

That said he is probably right that the US took off because millions of people got land. In South America only the rich had title to land. This must have made a great difference. It would also certainly change the lives of people in shanty towns if they were given the rights to the land they occupy. I think one big thing is the rule of law. I think that you need to rule of law for capitalism to function properly.

If you go here you can read the book as a PDF. If you do not wish to read the book, you can read a shorter version by Hernando De Soto at the International Monetary fund site. Or you can read a shorter article by Hernando De Soto and William Conerly at Foundation for Economic Education.

There are also good reviews at Good Reads. Some are critical but lots praise his book. I agree that an enforceable property right is not the total answer to getting capitalism to work. There is a long and thoughtful review of this book at Mises Organization. To get the review by Gabriel Calzada Alvarez, you have to click on the PDF below "Get This Book/Digital Text" message. Matthew J. Rosenberg writes a short and interesting review at Council of Foreign Affairs.

Hernando De Soto speaks as the president of Institute for Liberty and Democracy. Hernando De Soto speaks at the The Cato Institute. He starts to speak at 4:20 minutes into the video.

An index of the books I have reviewed are on my website at Books. I have three blogs. The first talks only about specific stocks and is called Investment Talk . The second one contains information on mostly investing and is called Investing Economics Mostly. My last blog is for my book reviews and it is called Non-Fiction Mostly. Follow me on Twitter.

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