Bringing Dead Capital To Life Essay

1848 words - 7 pages

Bringing Dead Capital to Life Hernando De Soto: a Peruvian economist, who is viewed by many to be one of the most creative thinkers and solvers of economic problems of our time. Born in Peru, but growing up in Europe, De Soto got interested in economics and the poor's affairs when he compared the lifestyles of his rich European friends to his poor Peruvian ones. His study and interest of these two extremes made him, because of his interaction and self-involvement, one of today's true 'crusaders' in the field of helping the poor and giving them just as many chances as the 'rich'. De Soto is currently the president of the ILD (Institute for Liberty and Democracy), a non-profit organization that has goals of empowering the poor by implementing De Soto's ideas in developing countries ("The ILD In A Nutshell"). He has various theories and ideas but his main approach to solving the problem is simple, and too simplified for an issue of such magnitude. De Soto regards the poor not having legal property rights to the land they reside on or the businesses they gain a profit by, is what keeps them in poverty. His basic theory to improving their poverty condition is formalizing their property, so it can be turned into liquid capital, which they could use to help create a better living for themselves and the people surrounding them ("Property Wrongs"). De Soto claims that "the world's poor are sitting on $9.3 trillion worth of capital," but are subjected to very tedious steps to owning any of it ("Property Wrongs"). This is a lot of money that just sits there with people on top of it that have every right to own it. These people could be using this money, which is more than was sent by all foreign aids combined ("Why the World's Poor Stay that Way"), to enhance their status and/or living environment. Having it there with no legal ownership turns it into, what De Soto calls, 'dead capital'. Dead capital is a factor of production that cannot be implemented in any form of business, because it cannot be used as collateral for loans or as a liquid asset, like money. It is a fixed capital that is 'worthless' without a legal paper and "cannot be used in efficient and legally secured market transactions, because ownership cannot be readily traced and validated, and exchanges cannot be governed by a legally recognized set of rules" ("Dead Capital and the Poor of Egypt"). If the poor had these papers and legal work, they could, using one of the economic methods mentioned, improve their poverty circumstances and maybe even move up to the working class and upper working class classification of the world's society.Considering the steps it takes to own this land, it is very understandable that people cannot/cannot-be-bothered to get the legal rights to 'their' land. According to De Soto research he claimed "it took 728 steps for a squatter to obtain, from the city of Lima, legal title to a home" ("Why the Worlds Poor Stay That Way"). Furthermore, " in Peru...

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