Review and evaluate de Soto (2003), identifying the key arguments hedevelops, explaining their broader significance and offering a critiquebased upon your wider reading.
Hernando de Soto’s ideas have revived interest in using property
rights to engender economic development and poverty reduction (Daley and Hobley 2005: 4). Whilst work on
urban land tenure had ‘
received scant attention... until the 1980s’
, by the 1990s de Soto’s
concepts were making a major impact (Payne 2002:6).De Soto is a populist (Gilbert 2002: 3), extremely influential
(Clift 2003: 8, Englund et al.2005: 1, Gilbert 2002: 1, Rose 2010: 22) Peruvian entrepreneur and development economistwith experience in international trade and development
(Mitchell 2005: 305-6, Clift 2003: 8)whose experience has led him to a keen recognition of the importance of legal rights inrelation to economics.
He is a leading advocate for neoliberal philosophy
and the economics associated with thisburgeoning movement
and his foundation, the Institute for Liberty and Democracy (IDL)
,has had great success in persuading Peru to follow policies based on these ideas
Since 1997, he has been consulted by the governments of Haiti, Egypt, Mexico, and the Philippines andexpects to be working with 25 governments over the next two years (Clift 2003: 8).
De Soto headed the Committee of the Intergovernmental Council of Copper Exporting Countries (CIPEC) andhas worked on the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (Mitchell 2005: 306).
Encountering a mining enterprise who bought rights to gold deposits where locals were already panning for
gold, he developed a theory involving property rights as capital explained in his book, ‘
The Mystery of Capital’
(2000), as will be discussed below (Mitchell 2005: 306, De Soto 2000).
Central to their orthodoxy, neoliberals hold that ‘
privileging of property rights is a foundational condition of liberty
’. This fundamental tenet is essential to De Soto’s line of reasoning (Plehwe, Walpen and