“After 10 years of criticism: what is left of De Soto’s ideas” by Paul van der Molen

De_soto_book_enI guess that this abstract will encourage those who read the “Mystery of Capital“, the best seller of Hernando de Soto published in 2000 should read this article by Paul van der Molen. “In this book De Soto  advocates that politicians take measures to provide the informal sector with access to the formal economy by the granting formal property rights and to break down bureaucratic barriers. The book has been influential. As if before 2000 nothing was published on property rights, titling and development, de Soto was invited by governments and international organizations to convey his new message. Bill Clinton called him ‘the greatest living economist’ (World Urban Forum, Davos). Since  the publication of the book, criticism poured in. Especially the academia sought publicity to render scientific evidence that de Soto’s solution will not work, such as de Soto’s solution not for South Africa’ (B. Cousins), ‘The De Soto Delusion’ (Gravois) or ‘The wrong prescription for the wrong malady’ (Bromley) to name a few”. It looks like that property rights whether formal or informal are not a silver bullet per se but without them development is impossible. Van der Molen’s  wisely concludes that “governments which demonstrate political will and which adopt the principles of good governance, are a prerequisite”. This is true for the conservation of most environmental resources.